2-Month Investigation Leads to Arrest of Hermiston Man on Theft Charges

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A Hermiston man is in jail on multiple charges including theft following a nearly two-month investigation.

On Aug. 6, the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a theft that occurred near Pole Line Road and Homestead Lane outside of Boardman.

The reporting business, Barton Laser Leveling, Inc., reported that an RTK radio with a receiver and a John Deere 2630 display was stolen from a John Deere tractor. Deputy Taylor Wasserman responded to the location, took the report and started an investigation. The reporting party said the cost of the stolen items was approximately $20,000.

On Aug. 28, Wasserman’s investigation led him to contact an individual in Fairview, Ill. Wasserman found the stolen item had been sold on eBay by Chalen James Ottmar, 24, of Hermiston. Morrow County Sheriff Kenneth Matlack said that by working with individuals in Illinois and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Wasserman was able to get the stolen property returned to Oregon. The property was later returned to the owner.

After following leads, Wasserman was able to secure a search warrant for the residence of Ottmar at 19 Westview Drive in Hermiston.

On Tuesday, members of the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office and Hermiston Police Department served search warrants at the Westview Drive residence and recovered many stolen items. The recovered property involve crimes committed in both Morrow and Umatilla counties. The search warrant resulted in HPD, MCSO, the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, the Oregon State Police, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife closing about nine cases.

Ottmar was charged with two counts of aggravated theft, two counts of unauthorized use of motor vehicle, two counts of second-degree criminal trespass. His bail was set at $54,000.

Matlack said additional charges are pending.

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