Arrests are made in church thefts

Stolen items include electronics, music equipment and cash

Two local men have been arrested for possession of items stolen from four local churches.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Alexander Warner Sampson, 27, of Camas, confessed to Washougal Police Sgt. Zane Freschette about being involved in burglaries at Camas Church of the Nazarene, 2204 N.E. Birch St.; Gateway Community Church, 1235 “E” St., Washougal; Christian Life/First United Pentecostal Church, 1303 N.E. Garfield St., Camas; and St. John’s Presbyterian, 1206 N.E. Birch St., Camas.

Freschette arrested Sampson, May 25, during an unrelated investigation involving the theft of a motorcycle.

Sampson assisted officers in recovering some of the stolen property. He was arrested for three counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree theft, two counts of third-degree theft and one count of trafficking stolen property.

Items taken by Sampson from St. John’s included two Kindle tablets, two digital cameras, batteries and a guitar.

Musical instruments stolen by Sampson from Christian Life Church were a keyboard and a bass guitar, as well as a laptop, Bible, leather briefcase and 1940’s edition dictionary.

Sampson confessed to taking approximately $420 in cash and some checks, as well as batteries, a waffle maker and some candy bars, from Camas Church of the Nazarene.

Items taken from Gateway included a camera, automated external defibrillator, projector, walkie talkies and change from the children’s offering box.

Some of the stolen property was recovered at Sampson’s home at the 1200 block of Northwest Drake Way.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Sampson told Freschette he has a serious heroin/methamphetamine problem and traded the items for drugs.

The church burglaries occurred between April 28 and May 14.

Daniel Arthur Schrader, 51, of Washougal, was also arrested in connection with the thefts.

The WPD served a search warrant May 25, at Schrader’s home, at the 700 block of “G” Street. Schrader is suspected of trading illegal drugs for stolen property.

Schrader was booked for one count each of first-degree trafficking in stolen property, delivery of heroin, possession of methamphetamine and second-degree possession of stolen property.

Sampson told police he took tools he had stolen from a man to Schrader’s house to trade for heroin.

Sampson said he also traded a guitar from St. John’s with Schrader for heroin.

“In both instances, [Sampson] stated that Schrader was aware the property was stolen and willingly traded heroin for the stolen property,” the affidavit stated.

Sampson was also arrested on one count of second-degree theft and one count of second-degree burglary, in relation to December 2014 thefts at Foods in Season, 4125 S. Lincoln St., Washougal.

The business’ co-owner John Anderson reported the theft of 40 to 50 aluminum baking sheets and four baking sheet racks, with a total replacement value of $1,500. The items were recovered at a business in Vancouver that exchanges metal for money.

Anyone with additional information about the church burglaries should contact Washougal Det. Perry Houts at 835-8701 or Camas Det. Brie Bieber at 834-4151.