Washington state

Thieves use stolen truck for heist

WOODLAND - A reward is offered in the case of a thief who hauled off a box trailer containing paintball sports gear, using a truck that had been stolen from a job site in Clark County.

The trailer, filled with paintball equipment worth $10,000, was stolen Sunday morning from the Cedars Inn in Woodland. It hadn't been found Wednesday evening.

Also missing Wednesday was the truck, which had been stolen a day or two earlier from Fox Erosion Control & Landscape Inc. The thief cut through the fence of a lot near the Clark County fairgrounds where the Oregon-based company stores its equipment.

During the theft of the gray Wells Cargo-brand trailer, the thief didn't hook it to the stolen truck's ball hitch, possibly because it was the wrong size, said Woodland police Detective Brent Murray.

Instead, the thief attached the trailer's safety chain to the truck, so that the trailer's hitching tongue was scraping on the pavement.

The inn manager heard a grinding sound at the time of the theft, which was captured on the inn's surveillance system, Murray said.

And a tipster reported seeing a truck dragging such a trailer north on Green Mountain Road from Woodland, with sparks flying because of the poor hitch hookup, Murray said.

The paintball gear belonged to a group from Elma that visited Battle Ground Paintball, based on Green Mountain Road, to play last weekend.

Murray said he thinks it's coincidental that the stolen trailer was reported as seen on the same road where the paintball sport company is based.

He also suspects the thief or thieves didn't know what the trailer contained and that they live in this area.

"If they were people from outside the area, going up Interstate 5 looking for things to steal, it would be unlikely they would end up on Green Mountain Road," Murray said.

A $1,000 reward is being offered for the return of the 20-foot-long trailer and the paintball gear, Murray said.