A Gearhart man has been arrested in connection with the theft of the bronze Sacagawea statue from Fort Clatsop last weekend.
On Sunday, Marcus D. Bologna, 42, joined three Bend residents who were arrested after the statue turned up at a Central Oregon scrap metal dealer.
"We always had a good idea there was going to be somebody local," Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin said Sunday afternoon.
The 5 1/2-foot bronze statue of Sacagawea and her baby, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, was cut from its mounting bolts at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park site sometime between late Jan. 19 and early Jan. 20.
Created by a Battle Ground, Wash., artist, the sculpture was donated to the park by the Reino and Marilyn Tarkiainen family and dedicated during a 2004 ceremony commemorating the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
It's unclear how much the sculpture would have netted thieves dismantling it to sell for scrap - an increasingly common practice among drug users seeking cash to feed their habits, according to the Clatsop County Sheriff's Office. The artwork was valued at $20,000, but likely would have landed only about $200 from a scrap dealer, the sheriff's office said.
According to the sheriff's office, here's how authorities cracked the case:
On Tuesday, a Bend scrap metal dealer notified authorities about suspicious metal his business had received. Bend police identified the metal as the missing statue and opened a joint investigation with the Clatsop sheriff's office.
On Wednesday, the sheriff's office found someone had also tried to sell the statue at a Portland scrap metal yard and identified possible suspects.
Three people were arrested for the theft Thursday in Bend: James P. Storms, 44, and Shawna D. Roberson, 42, were charged with first-degree aggravated theft by receiving. John A. Kristiansen, 45, faces first-degree theft by receiving and an additional charge for meth possession.
With the cooperation of both scrap metal yards, authorities identified a suspect "believed to be the one involved with the original theft of the statue." At about 1 p.m. Sunday, Clatsop County Detective Mike Shockey spotted the suspect's vehicle parked at a Warrenton store and called in backup from the sheriff's office and Warrenton police.
Bologna, described as a longtime county resident, was arrested when he returned to his car. According to the sheriff's office, he was transported to the county jail on for failing to report to his parole officer on a previous burglary conviction. His vehicle was towed as possible evidence, and he will be arraigned pending local charges. He may also face federal charges because the crime occurred in a national park, the sheriff's office said.
Sheriff Bergin said he'd like to remind Clatsop County residents that metal theft is "rampant not only here locally but throughout the U.S. due to the high number of drug-addicted people who are looking for some quick cash to maintain their drug addictions."
"This type of theft was also responsible for our most recent 9-1-1 outage, last week, where thieves who thought they were stealing metal cable cut the lines to find they were made of glass," Bergin said. "These thefts cost us all immensely, but with great cooperation from the scrap yards and you, the local citizens, we can help stop these thefts and destruction. Please be observant and vigilant wherever you might be and report all suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately."