REDMOND, Ore. - (Update: More on college burglaries, comments from spokesman)
A Prineville man in an SUV was stopped by police and arrested in Redmond early Friday morning, accused of burglarizing the COCC Redmond campus twice in the past week, police said.
Around 4:40 a.m., Redmond officers responded to the campus on Southeast College Loop on a report of a burglary in progress, after an employee came to work and found someone inside a building, said Lt. Curtis Chambers. The suspect ran when he was seen, Chambers added.
Police officers responding to the scene noticed an SUV leaving the area and pulled it over near South First Street and Southwest Veterans Way.
The driver, identified as Tracy Downing, 36, of Prineville, was arrested at the scene, and evidence of the break-in was recovered from the SUV, as well as tools believed to have been taken at the same location last week, Chambers said.
There have been other recent burglaries at the Bend and Prineville COCC campuses, including break-ins at vending machines, Chambers said. The investigation is ongoing to determine if Downing is responsible for the other burglaries as well.
Chambers said Redmond police detectives and Prineville police officers served a search warrant at Downing’s Prineville home Friday afternoon.
Central Oregon Community College Executive Director of College Relations Ron Paradis told NewsChannel 21 on Friday, the Redmond campus break-in is one of four recent burglaries where thieves are targeting vending machines.
Paradis said the campuses located in Bend, Prineville and Redmond have been targeted these last few weeks.
"In the last couple of weeks, there have been four break-ins in three different buildings on three different campuses. And in all four cases, the perpetrators destroyed the vending machines and took the money that was in them," Paradis said.
He said these break-ins are unusual for the community college campuses.
Downing was taken to the Deschutes County Jail, where he was booked on charges of second-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree theft, methamphetamine possession and possession of burglary tools. He was held without bail on three probation violation charges, online records showed.
Chambers said more crimes could be charged by the district attorney’s office as the investigation continues.
Downing has been arrested numerous times on theft and car break-in charges, dating back to 2001, according to online court records.