Four Terriers Were Dognapped in the Latest in a Series of Portland Auto Thefts With Cherished Cargo

“I’m not really fond of this new form of auto piracy instead of ship piracy,” says a relieved show dog owner.

A cargo van was stolen last weekend from the porte cochère of a Jantzen Beach hotel. That wasn’t unusual. But inside the van were four terriers visiting from the Seattle suburbs for the Rose City Classic Winter Dog Show at the Expo Center. That was news.

And so it provided TV stations and websites with a fresh dose of Portland hellmouth coverage for the 22 hours until the van was found abandoned on the side of a Vancouver road and the dogs were returned to their worried owners.

In a city that endured 11,089 auto thefts in 2022, a 25-year record, some of those vehicles were bound to contain something precious. And the purloined pups were merely the latest instance in the past two years in which somebody stole a vehicle that had either sentimental value or cherished cargo. In fact, it was the second such theft outside the same hotel.

“I’m not really fond of this new form of auto piracy instead of ship piracy,” says Vandra Huber, whose running van and show dogs were snatched from in front of the Oxford Suites. “What I think is occurring is they’re waiting for big-time events to occur because there might be items of value. How would they know about our van and to steal it from the front door unless somebody was watching?”

Here are four thefts of vehicles with noteworthy cargo since the stolen-car surge began.

Vehicle: 2020 Mercedes-Benz Metris cargo van

Date stolen: Jan. 21

Stolen from: Oxford Suites parking lot on North Hayden Island

Cargo: Three Scottish terriers—a female named Boo and two puppies, Archie and Sally Sue—and one cairn terrier, Mason.

Recovery: Huber believes thieves are targeting vehicles at hotels near the Expo Center during big shows—and intended to seek a ransom for her terriers. What ultimately transpired, however, was that a Vancouver, Wash., resident called Huber at 5:30 am Jan. 22 and said he had recovered her dogs from a van abandoned by the roadside. “It was the worst 24 hours I’ve ever experienced except for a few when I was a reporter,” Huber tells WW. “I’m not used to these types of things. I think I would have stayed farther away if I’d known about it.”

Vehicle: 2006 Isuzu NPR

Date stolen: Dec. 24

Stolen from: The Made in Oregon warehouse on Northeast Airport Way.

Cargo: The only delivery truck for the Made in Oregon shops was empty when it was stolen on Christmas Eve, company vice president Verne Naito told The Oregonian. It was scheduled to pick up myrtlewood carvings from the Oregon Coast on Dec. 26.

Recovery: Someone spied the van abandoned in the same industrial area in deep Northeast Portland. It was towed to a repair shop.

Vehicle: 1999 Dodge Caravan

Date stolen: July 9

Stolen from: Ladd’s Addition

Cargo: It was Portland’s only bookmobile, though most of the books were in storage units on Southeast Belmont Street.

Recovery: A Facebook group tracked down a van that matched the description, but bookmobile operator Christie Quinn did not have immediate access to the vehicle identification number. Quinn has since fundraised enough for a replacement bookmobile: a Japanese fire truck.

Vehicle: Ford F-250 pickup truck with trailer

Date stolen: May 9

Stolen from: Oxford Suites parking lot on North Hayden Island

Cargo: The trailer was filled with semi-automatic rifles and other guns displayed for sale at the prior weekend’s Shooting Sports & Blade Expo at the Expo Center.

Recovery: Angelina Nicole Pintor-Schindler, 19, crashed the truck on the Interstate Bridge, pursued by police. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has not responded to inquiries whether the guns were recovered from the trailer. Pintor-Schindler faces federal charges and this month was arrested for allegedly violating her probation.

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