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Police Track Footprints To Thieves

With White Salmon connection

By RAELYNN RICARTE

Gorge News Report

Hood River City Police Officers Erin Mason and Sal Rivera tracked footprints from a car prowl to the home of one suspect last week.

Hazel Avenue resident Josue Salgado, 21, and Cody Melton, 18, of Bingen, have been accused of unlawfully entering and stealing items from a May Street vehicle.

According to reports, evidence from the crime scene was recovered from a closet in Salgado's home.

Mason and Rivera arrived at the May Street residence about 11:37 p.m. on Nov. 28. They had been alerted to the theft of snowboarding equipment and a wallet containing credit cards and a driver's license.

The two officers decided to follow two sets of footprints that led away from the car. They ended up at Salgado's house, about one-fourth of a mile away.

The suspects reportedly denied having been near May Street that night. However, when Rivera and Mason told them about the tracks leading to that location, the two men allegedly admitted to the theft and allowed a search of the premises.

Police Lt. David Thompson believes the arrests of Salgado and Melton could stop a recent rash of car prowls in Hood River. Since Oct. 31, there have been 16 separate incidents reported to the law enforcement agency.

In addition to May Street, crimes have occurred along 14th Street, 15th Street, "A" Street, "C" Street, Pine Street, Rebecca Avenue, Henderson Road, Sherman Avenue, Eugene Street, Cascade Avenue and Montello Avenue.

Thompson said credit cards taken from some of these vehicles have been used to make fraudulent purchases in White Salmon, where Melton resides. He said that element of the case could be coincidental but an investigation is now underway to tie the suspects to other crimes.

"Hopefully, these arrests will curtail the car prowls that have been taking place recently," said Thompson.

He said, many times, thieves walk through neighborhoods at night and try out door handles to find a car that is unlocked. He recommends that citizens deter crime by securing their vehicle and removing all valuables -- especially those within view -- before going indoors, especially at night.

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