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Clackamas County armed robber caught in Inner Southeast yard-to-yard search

DAVID F. ASHTON - Near Kern Park, a PPB K9 team prepares to search for the armed robbery suspect. Although the Portland Bureau of Emergency Communication sent out a "shelter-in-place message" to residents in the Foster-Powell neighborhood in the early morning of Thursday, July 20, many residents said they didn't get the word.

One of them, looking at the intense police activity along S.E. 67th Avenue at Center Street, was Mildred Goings – who mused, "And to think I slept with the windows open last night. What's going on?"

What ended up in this East Portland neighborhood had begun at 4:37 a.m., when Clackamas County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) deputies responded to investigate an armed robbery outside of an apartment near S.E. Courtney Road, on Linden Drive, in Oak Grove.

"Deputies learned that the victim was familiar with the suspect from previous social contacts," said CCSO spokesman Sgt. Dan Kraus. "After a brief encounter, the suspect drew a firearm and stole property from the victim, then left the scene in a dark-green sport utility vehicle."

An investigation led CCSO deputies to locate the suspect vehicle in the area of S.E. 68th Avenue and Rhone Street in Inner Southeast Portland; Portland Police resources were called in at 6:40 a.m. to conduct a search of the area.

Nearly sixty responding Portland Police Officers cordoned off the blocks of S.E. 67th and 68th avenues, from Center to Rhone Streets.

Members of the PPB Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and Crisis Negotiation Team staged on the north side of Powell Boulevard in the parking lot of Kellogg Middle School.

At 7:50 a.m., both the large and small SERT armored vehicles drove out of the staging area, traveled south on S.E. 70th Avenue and west on Center Street to 68th Avenue, and one proceeded to 67th Avenue at Kern Park.

From there, SERT personnel – given cover by officers in the armored vehicles on each street – proceeded north, and methodically searched yards, house-by-house.

Shortly before 9 a.m., SERT officers captured the suspect, and took him into custody in mid-block on S.E. 67th Avenue.

"The firearm believed to have been used by the suspect in the robbery was located by an alert citizen, and has been recovered by the police," Kraus later reported.

Because of the suspect's age, Kraus said that name will not be released, but did say the suspect has been lodged with juvenile authorities. "CCSO violent-crimes detectives continue to work on this investigation, gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses; additional arrests are possible."

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