HERMISTON - The Hermiston police are looking for the culprits who broke into a building used to store evidence.

A Stanfield farmer found a bulk storage container on his property a week ago that apparently had been stolen from a storage building in the north end of town.

Hermiston Police Chief Dan Coulombe said the evidence storage facility was forcibly entered through a side wall either late at night on April 12 or early the morning of April 13. The building is in an area that's fenced, gated and posted as restricted, Coulombe said, but the department will be "enhancing security measures" in light of the break-in.

The farmer, Mike Taylor, alerted Umatilla County Sheriff's Office Senior Deputy Jack Stewart to the container, which Stewart said held "articles you'd normally find in an evidence locker."

Coulombe would not comment on what kind of evidence was stolen, but he said the storage facility is used to store items related to criminal cases such as drugs, money or jewelry. Some of the evidence has been recovered, but he was not sure how much.

"But we know what was taken because we took an inventory," he said.

Coulombe said the department was able to verify the property Taylor found on his Stanfield Meadows Road farm came from the Hermiston evidence facility "because it was packaged up like our evidence is."

Stewart said it looked as if the container had been rummaged through, but only one of the items had actually been opened.

Hermiston Police do not yet have any suspects, although they have lifted fingerprints from the storage facility, Coulombe said.

"We'd welcome any information the public might have" on this incident, Coulombe added. The suspect or suspects could face both theft and burglary charges if caught.

This is the first time to Coulombe's knowledge this sort of incident has happened in Hermiston.

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