News

Suspect jailed for thefts of trailer, tractor

The man suspected of several construction site thefts last month was arrested by federal marshals on Saturday, Dec. 5, in Rainier, Ore.

Christopher Ray Ahlstead, 48, of Agnew, is in the Columbia County Jail awaiting return to Port Angeles to face at least seven charges related to the thefts and drugs.

They include first-degree malicious mischief, third-degree theft, third-degree escape, possession of stolen property and methamphetamine, trafficking in stolen property and manufacturing marijuana.

The stolen items included at least six utility trailers stolen from work sites and a backhoe type tractor taken from Sequim Bay State Park.

They were recovered last week at a home construction site in Gardiner.



Escaped from cruiser

Ahlstead was arrested Nov. 19 but escaped while Clallam County sheriff's deputies were searching his home.

"It's great to get back to work, and everything is the same as it was when I left. I had the feeling we'd get it all back," said Dave Howat, construction and maintenance supervisor at Sequim Bay State Park.

Howat had been off work following hip surgery when the tractor was stolen.



Thanks police

"I'm grateful this was brought to the public's attention and the tractor was left in an area where it could be found. The detectives and law enforcement agencies involved do their jobs well."

Ahlstead's arrest came after Clallam County detectives followed numerous leads to Rainier, Ore., a town of 1,700 people across the Columbia River from Longview.

Once his location was determined, the information was given to the Portland office of the U.S. Marshal's Office.



Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.

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