A regional SWAT team was summoned Thursday afternoon, Sept. 30, to search an area east of Interstate 84 in Baker City for a person suspected of stealing a gun during a home burglary.
The team didn’t find anyone during the search, which ended just before 8 p.m. Thursday, Baker County Sheriff Travis Ash said on Friday morning.
Police from multiple agencies set up a perimeter in the area along Atwood Road, between Highway 86 and East Campbell Street, and notified residents of about four homes in the area, asking them to lock their doors, Ash said.
Police have identified a potential suspect, Ash said.
On Friday morning the Sheriff’s Office released two photos of a Ford pickup truck that was parked in the driveway of the home where the burglary happened.
The incident started a little after 4 p.m. when Jim Rex arrived at his home at 42140 Atwood Road.
Ash said Rex noticed the pickup parked in his driveway. When he went inside his home he saw that items had been moved. Rex also went outside and noticed items, including acetylene tanks, had also been moved.
He also realized that a gun was missing from inside the house.
Ash said Rex, who was armed with a gun, called police to report the burglary. While Rex was on the phone, he told the dispatcher that he saw a person running away from his home, a couple hundred yards away, Ash said.
Rex also told police about the missing gun, which Ash said prompted the call to the Northeast Oregon Regional SWAT team, which has members from the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, Baker City Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office and La Grande Police Department.
The SWAT team was activated at about 4:30 p.m.
The team searched the area between Atwood Road and Interstate 84. A tracking dog followed a scent trail to the freeway, according to the Baker County Sheriff’s Office.
Ash said officers from his office, Baker City Police, Oregon State Police and the U.S. Forest Service set up a perimeter while the SWAT teamed searched an area that includes multiple ponds, ditches, dense brush and scattered vehicles.
The Baker County Road Department and Baker Aircraft also assisted.
Ash said that during the investigation, police found, in the pickup truck parked in Rex’s driveway, the gun that Rex said was missing.
Sheriff’s deputies continued to patrol the area through the night, after the SWAT team ended its search, Ash said.