Curry County Sheriff’s deputies started the new year responding to three more burglaries in unincorporated parts of the county.
The three incidents follow an uptick in theft reports from citizens in the Harbor area, including six vehicles, two trailers, home burglaries and car break-ins.
Sheriff Lt. John Ward said that in light of the county’s financial woes, crime is likely to get worse.
According to Ward, someone used a large boulder to break the glass in a door to Dr. Marie Witt’s medical office along Shopping Center Avenue; the incident was reported at 9 a.m. New Year’s Day. Files and cabinets were rifled through, but little of value was taken.
Ward said it’s possible the burglar was looking for prescription medications, which are not kept at the office.
Shortly thereafter, a man along North Bank Chetco Road reported that he went outside that morning only to watch someone drive away in his truck, taking one of his trailers and an ATV along with them.
“They had to have worked on it,” Ward said, of the difficulty in stealing all three items. Additionally, bicycles were also taken out of the man’s shed.
The vehicle owner called 911, but there were no sheriff’s deputies on duty, so the call was transferred to the Brookings Police.
“By the time it was reported and we got Brookings involved, they were already out of the area,” Ward said. “We put an alert for it, but they didn’t find it.”
The victim said a second trailer filled with welding equipment was also stolen, presumably taken by hauling it with the vehicle the thieves brought with them.
Authorities alerted Oregon State Patrol and law enforcement in Del Norte County, as many stolen items from Curry County have been found in Smith River.
A third report involved the theft of a vehicle along Oceanview Drive in Harbor. A truck was stolen from a residence near Flora Pacifica nursery, but was abandoned across the street due to a flat tire, Ward said.
Ward said officials are unsure if the three crimes are related, but believe David “DJ” Rhodes, 27, of Smith River, could be involved.
Rhodes was released last spring after serving a two-year sentence in San Quentin Prison near San Rafael, Calif., according to authorities.
Rhodes has a long criminal history and has been convicted of auto thefts and residential burglaries in Curry and Del Norte counties. He has numerous warrants for his arrest, including a $50,000 warrant for a parole violation, according to the Del Norte Sheriff’s Office.
“Everyone’s looking for him,” Ward said. “We have come close.”
Anyone with information about Rhodes’ whereabouts — or information regarding the most recent burglaries and thefts — is encouraged to call the CHP at 707-464-3117, the Del Norte Sheriff’s Office at (707) 464-4192, or the Curry County Sheriff’s Department at 541-247-3242.