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Arrests made in Columbia County burglary case

Three arrested following rash of burglaries of large household items


The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office arrested three burglary suspects Thursday, Sept. 5, believed to be involved in a string of burglaries that occurred in north Columbia County.

Currently, the Sheriff’s Office has solved five burglaries and retrieved thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen goods, said Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

Jenifer Vasey, 31, of Clatskanie, was arrested on charges of theft and first-degree burglary. Brook Waits, 29, and Tiffany Kelly-Ellis, 31, both of Clatskanie, were also arrested on charges of first-degree burglary. by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Vasey

There are also several suspects involved in the burglary crime ring who have not yet been arrested, Dickerson said.

Dickerson said the suspects aren’t currently being held at the Columbia County jail due to a lack of funding that has recently forced the jail to cut employees, resulting in a decrease in the amount of available jail beds from 65 to 25.

“North Columbia County has been getting hit really hard in homes that have been either recently vacated or abandoned by elderly people who are either in nursing homes or deceased,” said Dickerson. “Those are mostly the homes that have been getting hit.”by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Waits

Dickerson said the stolen goods mostly consisted of large items, like refrigerators and furniture.

Initially, Dickerson said, officers arrested Gary Gressett, 35, of Clatskanie, as a suspect in a different set of unrelated burglaries. Upon further investigation, officers found that Gresset was allegedly attempting to fence stolen goods through the three Clatskanie women who were later arrested.

“The burglary cases were connected through associations with a separate burglary case wherein Gary Gressett is a suspect,” Dickerson said.by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Kelly-Ellis Once officers arrested Vasey, Waits and Kelly-Ellis, they reported they had found a horde of stolen goods related to other burglaries, Dickerson added.

Dickerson said his agency is also interested in a Clatskanie man named Marvin Elder, who is suspected to be involved in fencing stolen items.

“He’s got others attached to him we have probable cause to arrest,” Dickerson said.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has been working with the Clatskanie Police Department to solve the case. “Their police garage is filled with stolen stuff right now,” Dickerson said.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Gressett

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Clatskanie Police Department began releasing the stolen goods back to owners Tuesday, Sept. 10, Dickerson added.