Yard worker accused of stealing from neighbors' homes - KPTV - FOX 12

Yard worker accused of stealing from neighbors' homes

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GLADSTONE, OR (KPTV) -

Several people in a Gladstone neighborhood are complaining a man working on their yard is responsible for burglarizing their homes.

It has been happening in the Las Verdes neighborhood of Gladstone.

Neighbors said the man has been going around the neighborhood doing yard work for the last few months. Those neighbors said they know who the man is and where he lives, but they said police haven't arrested him yet and many are concerned he could strike again.

Don and Diane Maes said the culprit is someone they know for years.

"He worked for me in the yard here for about a year and half, just mowing, trimming bushes and so forth," said Don Maes.

The couple said they've known the man since he was a little boy and they said he still lives in the neighborhood.

For several weeks, they said they offered him odd jobs, but he took advantage of their trust.

"I gave him work to do that I didn't really need done, just to help him out," added Maes.

The couple believes that while the man was working at the home, he would leave windows or doors unlocked and return when no one was around.

The couple said they soon started to notice money, jewelry and prescription medication missing.

"We didn't realize it was theft. We thought we misplaced things. We've even torn the whole house apart to try and find things that went missing," said Maes.

A nearby neighbor reported some stolen items after the same man did yard work for her.

"I think it's terrible. I couldn't believe it," said Diane Maes.

The family said police eventually found some of Diane Maes' rings at a pawn shop in Gladstone.

Just this last week, Don Maes said he got into a scuffle with the same man after he caught him inside his home.

"When I caught him down here, I grabbed him and he was hitting me and pushed me and broke this clothes hanger. Then I went flying this way and he went out the door this way," said Maes.

He said while he was trying to get a hold of the police, the man came back and replaced the screen on the window he came through.

So far, police haven't made an arrest, leaving families frustrated and leaving Don Maes to sleep in his living room with a bat by his side.

Gladstone police said one of the cases has been forwarded to the district attorney's office and the other is an ongoing investigation.

The police chief wouldn't comment on camera about an ongoing investigation but said the department is doing the best it can to resolve these cases.

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