PORTLAND -- A man was arrested late Tuesday evening and linked to numerous Jeep break-ins at the Portland International Airport parking garages.
Port of Portland officers said they caught the thief in action just after 10 p.m. Tuesday, on the seventh-floor of the short term parking garage. Officers said they spotted the suspect as he approached the airport MAX platform and discovered he had property from a car on the the seventh floor.
The suspect was also linked to eight other break-ins in the short and long-term garages that started in May. He had items from the several of those break-ins, police said.
He targeted Jeep Wranglers, cutting the soft tops or doors.
James R. Hamilton, 37, of Portland, was accused of nine counts of unlawful entry into a motor vehicle, first-degree criminal mischief, identity theft and fraudulent use of a credit card at Walmart.
So far this year, there have been 22 car break-ins at PDX parking areas. In 2013, there were 22 total. It's gone down since 2012, when 50 cars were broken into. Port officials said most happen during the summer and holiday season.
Annie Linstrom, spokesperson for the Port of Portland, said despite surveillance cameras monitored 24 hours a day, security and police, they'll be beefing up patrols now, due to the increase in thefts.
Tips to prevent vehicle break-ins:
Put your garage door opener inside your glove compartment and lock it.
Hide your insurance registration card. (Crooks can get your address from the registration or insurance card and break into your home, knowing you're out of town.)
Never leave anything valuable where someone could see it.
There may be more victims and they were asked to call Port of Portland police at (503) 460-4747.