A transient located in Washougal has been linked to numerous auto thefts in Washougal, Camas, Portland, Vancouver and Clark County.
Daniel J. Ditlow, 30, was arrested April 12 for theft and possession of a stolen vehicle.
Washougal Police Sgt. Brad Chicks had observed a green 1993 Honda in the area of “A” Street and Washougal River Road. The Honda was driven by a bald, white male with a black hooded sweatshirt.
According to a WPD press release, Chicks felt the vehicle was suspicious and the driver matched the description of a subject involved in earlier suspicious incidents reported that day.
During Chicks’ initial investigation, it was determined the subject driving the Honda had a suspended license and was wanted by the Camas Police Department for theft of a motor vehicle. By the time Chicks received that information, the driver had already walked away on foot in the area of Love and Main streets in downtown Washougal.
Several minutes later Chicks located the driver, who he had identified as Ditlow, lying down in an outside stairwell of an apartment building located in the 300 block of Love Street. Ditlow was arrested for third-degree driving with a suspended license, and he was detained for the Camas auto theft case.
While Ditlow was being detained by the WPD, the registered owner of the 1993 Honda he was seen driving had contacted the Portland Police Bureau to report that her vehicle was stolen from Jantzen Beach Mall within the past hour. Ditlow was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.
After further investigation, Chicks determined that Ditlow was involved in numerous auto thefts in the local area where he would use “shaved keys” to open and start older model Hondas and Acuras. According to the WPD, Ditlow would apparently drive the vehicles for a short time and then dump them before stealing another one.
During the four days prior to Ditlow’s arrest, the WPD took seven auto theft reports. Several stolen vehicles have been recovered from other jurisdictions. Over the past several months, there has been an increase of auto thefts in Clark County involving late model Hondas, Acuras and Toyotas.
The investigation is continuing, and additional felony charges will be filed on Ditlow. He is incarcerated in the Clark County Jail.
Local residents are encouraged to report to police any suspicious Hondas, Acuras and Toyotas that have been parked along the streets or in their neighborhoods. Most of the stolen vehicles recently recovered by the WPD were found with the windows and sunroofs open, and most are still in drivable condition.
For more information, call the WPD at 835-8701 or the CPD at 834-4151.