Thousands of respirator masks that were stolen from the nonprofit Rebuilding Center in north Portland, items in short supply and urgently needed by medical responders for the coronavirus response, are now on their way to hospital supplies after a multi-agency theft investigation.
On Friday, March 6, a North Precinct officer responded to The Rebuilding Center at 3625 N. Mississippi Ave., on a theft report involving 20-25 cases of N95 respirator masks. Each case had 400 masks in it and the total loss was close to $2,500. At the time, there was no suspect information.
The next day, a Rebuilding Center employee found someone selling what she believed to be the stolen masks on online classified listings platform CraigsList. She set up a meeting in Beaverton and contacted the Beaverton Police Department, who arrived and arrested the suspect, Vladislav V. Drozdek, 22, of Beaverton. He was booked into the Washington County Jail on a charge of Theft in the First Degree (by receiving).
About 6 cases of the masks were recovered, but the rest were still outstanding. Then a follow-up investigation was done by both police agencies and on Saturday, Portland Police were able to locate at least 7 more boxes that were stored inside a house in the 13900 block of Northeast Sacramento Street. The officer recovered the boxes and returned them to the Rebuilding Center. The center immediately donated the masks to local hospitals to help them while they're dealing with the Coronavirus.
Further arrests and charges are possible.
"This was a good example of interagency teamwork and cooperation, along with some helpful detective work by the victim," said Assistant Chief of Operations Mike Frome. "This is even more significant during a time when these medical supplies are in such short supply."