Engagement ring stolen from veteran, nurse while vacationing in Portland

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 4:40 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - An unfortunate event for a couple visiting Portland for the first time; their cars were broken into while visiting Multnomah Falls.

Zachary Smith, his girlfriend Cora Buechner, and her sister were taking in Portland’s beauty. They arrived at the falls on Saturday around 4:45 pm and only stayed for 25 minutes. That was enough time for thieves to break into both of their cars, jamming the door locks.

“I look, and the glove box is open and a couple belongings from under the seat were pushed forward,” says Buechner.

“I tried to put my key in and the lock was completely bent out of shape,” says Smith. “Stuff was pulled out and my glove box was just laying there.”

Zach is a veteran and Cora is a traveling nurse who live out of their car in between jobs to travel the country. The thieves stole kitchen appliances, camping gear, power supplies, and a drone -- everything they need to survive.

But, the thieves stole more than just supplies. They stole a special moment they would remember forever -- an engagement ring. Zach was supposed to propose the next day at Crater Lake.

“It was just completely shocking once that came out of his mouth. He told my sister and [when] I heard it I was just devastated,” says Buechner.

“That’s what hit me the hardest is instead of proposing to her the next day, now I have to tell her right now, ‘Yes I had an engagement ring for you and it’s no longer in my possession anymore,’” says Smith.

For now, their trips are on hold and it will cost over $7,000 to replace their items and fix their cars. But Zach and Cora are looking toward the future.

“We’re not going to let one bad incident ruin our happiness,” says Smith.

“There’s just so many what ifs that it’s just overpowering so we just try to turn it around and be the most positive about it,” says Buechner.

Multnomah County Sheriff says if you’re heading to the Gorge, don’t leave valuables in your car, lock your car, and park in a well-lit, highly trafficked location.

The couple has set up a GoFundMe page to help recoup the losses.

To report a crime to Multnomah County Sheriff visit their website.