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El Camino Real neighborhood suffers with crime spree

Series of break-ins shake residents.

Residents of the El Camino Real neighborhood on Strawberry Mountain have had their tranquility shaken recently by a series of break-ins.

According to neighborhood residents, there have been at least four incidents in the area, all of which took place in the second week of May. Included were burglaries from garages, a stolen car, and a home confrontation with an intruder.

In the latter case, a woman in the 400 block of El Camino Real woke up and discovered someone in her room. The person fled upon being discovered, but the stress of the incident remains.

"I get goose pimples thinking about looking up and seeing him," said the woman, who did not want to be identified. "It was just a scary proposition, and the neighbors across the street are shook up. They lost items from their garage."

One of the theft victims, who also declined to be identified, said he lost about $1,000 in tools from his garage.

"I grew up in Montana and never had to worry about this type of thing, and brought that attitude here. But we've changed our ways," he said. "I've lived here for 10 years and never locked our doors, and never had any problems."

He added that he is frustrated with the fact there have been no arrests in the case as of yet.

"It's particularly frustrating that nothing has happened on the case. The fact that nothing has happened tells me it is going to happen more," he explained. "In fact, a friend of mine saw someone prowling around in Underwood last night."

Bingen-White Salmon Police Chief Ned Kindler said a car was stolen from the neighborhood during the same time period as the other incidents. A 1991 Ford Escort station wagon was stolen from outside a residence on Alta Vista, a side street off El Camino Real.

The undamaged car was recovered along Husum's Oak Ridge Road on May 10, along with another car that had recently been stolen from Hood River.

Kindler said the investigation is continuing.

One of the victims praised the response from law enforcement, but said she realizes there is not necessarily a lot they can do.

"The response to our 9-1-1 call was excellent," she said. "But they don't have much to go on."

The Klickitat County Sheriff's Office and the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department are working together on the cases. Anyone with information can call KCSO at (509) 773-4545, or the Police Department at 493-1177.


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