Car prowler steals from man, takes sentimental items - KPTV - FOX 12

Car prowler steals from man, takes sentimental items

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

A night out to dinner ended with a car prowler taking an Albany man's personal belongings.

It happened in the parking lot of the Olive Garden in Salem about a week and a half ago. After it happened, the victim did his own detective work to try and help police catch the suspects.

Just as it was getting dark, Greg Butler and his wife were getting ready to have dinner with some friends.

However, the night out turned into a nightmare for Butler.

"It really stinks, to lose the stuff that I don't know I'll ever get back," said Butler.

He said while he was having dinner inside, someone broke into his car and made off with his computer bag.

Inside the bag was all of his of his personal belongings, including his wallet, a sentimental watch, some cash, a 45 caliber handgun and even his wedding ring.

"I've carried that stuff around with me for 30 years. A long time and a lot of the stuff means a lot to me," added Butler.

He said he's always left his bag in the car and always thought he kept it out of sight.

"The only way they've would have been able to see it is if they physically saw me put in," said Butler.

It was after dinner when he got back to his car that he noticed something was wrong.

"What they did was put a screwdriver in here and pry down on it, so it actually acts like they unlock the car," described Butler.

He decided to get the ball rolling and started to do his own detective work and found that within 20 minutes of parking at the restaurant, someone was using his credit card at a nearby fast food restaurant.

Butler soon tracked down each of the spots his credit card had been used and went looking for surveillance video to give to police.

"There's video of the person going into the 76 gas station and using my card to buy cigarettes and energy drinks and lighters and just stupid stuff," added Butler.

The prowler also made off with all of Butler's keys, which unlocked his home, business and even his tow truck.

"The first couple of nights I stayed in my office on a cot because I was upset about the whole thing. I was sick, sick to my stomach," said Butler.

He's now changed the locks to all his doors and has put the club on to his tow truck in case someone tries to take it.

Butler said the person responsible took $2,800 worth of stuff from the vehicle while doing $1,400 worth of damage to the car.

Police have made no arrests in the case but are expected to review some of the surveillance video that Butler was able to track down.

In the meantime, Butler said he doesn't plan to leave anything in his car again.

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