Pendleton police Thursday morning arrested a burglary suspect on Happy Canyon property. Police Chief Stuart Roberts said the case also touches on the common problem of absent landlords.
Officers at 10:41 a.m. responded to Happy Canyon, 1601 Westgate, behind the Pendleton Convention Center, when a Happy Canyon board member spotted a man he did not recognize. Officers arrived and arrested Levi Daniel Reed, 34, a Pendleton transient.
Robert said the officers also saw items near Reed that did not belong to Happy Canyon. They investigated and found Reed was holing up in the empty Eastern Oregon Fast Freight building at 1825 Westgate, just a couple of blocks west near the Club 24 fitness spot.
“He had literally thousands of dollars worth of tools, sound boards and other things inside the building,” Roberts said.
Roberts said it was fortunate the Happy Canyon board member happened to be there at that moment and the department has been able to return most of the goods to their owners.
According to court documents, the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office on Friday brought initial charges against Reed of first-degree burglary, first-degree trespass, second-degree theft and second-degree criminal mischief for breaking into the property stealing food and other products and damaging property. Roberts said he anticipates Reed will face more charges. For now, Reed remains in the Umatilla County Jail, Pendleton.
While police are wrapping up the burglary case, the former home to the freight company brings up the absent landlord issue, a common situation in Pendleton.
Crown Enterprises Inc. of Warren, Michigan owns the Fast Freight building, and Roberts said the company does not have a manager for the property. The company this summer was responsive to cleaning up code violations at the site, he said, but the burglary investigation reveled people have been using the building for some time, leaving behind trash, graffiti and human waste.
“It’s a problem building,” he said. “We need to get it secured and locked down.”