Two men are in jail after a two-day investigation into wire theft and stolen vehicles in Morrow and Gilliam counties. In apprehending the two men, investigators had to chase each one before they were arrested. One chase lasted more than two hours.
It began at 11 a.m. on Thursday when the Morrow County Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 Center received a call from an employee at RDO Farms, west of Boardman. The caller said someone in a white SUV stole wire and was last seen heading down Three Mile Road toward Interstate 84.
Investigators later learned the wire was stolen out of Gilliam County.
Morrow County deputies, Gilliam County deputies and Oregon State Police troopers responded to the call.
They found the SUV on Highway 74 and pursued the suspect in their vehicles and then on foot before apprehending Michael J. Stiles, 43, of Stanfield.
Gilliam County deputies arrested Stiles and lodged him at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility in The Dalles under suspicion of first-degree theft, first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree burglary, second-degree criminal trespassing, possession of methamphetamine and a parole violation.
Investigators learned there was another suspect involved in the theft but were unable to locate him Thursday.
Law enforcement notified everyone who lived within a five-mile radius of Milepost 12 on Highway 74 to be on the lookout for a male in camouflaged clothing traveling on foot.
On Friday, around 1 p.m., Morrow County Undersheriff Steve Myren saw a man wearing camouflaged clothing driving a green four-wheeler on Wilson Road and Main Street in Boardman.
Authorities later learned the four-wheeler was stolen from a house near Milepost 10 on Highway 74.
The driver of the four-wheeler didn't yield when Myren tried to pull him over. Morrow County deputies, Boardman Police and OSP troopers pursued the ATV through fields south of Boardman and the Boardman Bombing Range - where pursuers lost sight of the man.
Investigators called the bombing range and personnel responded from Hermiston.
Law enforcement searched but were still unable to locate the four-wheeler until another call came in to Morrow County's 9-1-1 dispatch. A caller said a suspicious vehicle was driving slowly down Bombing Range Road.
Myren responded to the call and found tracks made by a four-wheeler crossing the road and leading onto Potlatch Tree Farm.
Law enforcement followed the tracks through the farm and several fields. They found the ATV on County Line Road near the Umatilla Army Depot. They received permission from the land owner to search for the suspect.
Morrow County Sergeant Mark Pratt found the man hiding in a bathtub inside the house.
Pratt arrested Weston Tyler Kestner, 37, of Hermiston at 3:23 in the afternoon.
His pursuit lasted nearly 21/2 hours.
Deputies lodged Kestner at the Umatilla County Jail under suspicion of attempting to elude police in a vehicle, first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, stealing a vehicle and three counts of second-degree criminal trespass.