Police Use Facebook to Recover Man's Stolen Trailer

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Fri, January 10 2014 at 6:24 PM, Updated: Fri, January 10 2014 at 6:59 PM

Medford police say social media helped them catch suspected trailer thieves fast this week.

Aaron Claborn, the trailer's owner, was busy on Friday recovering  his stolen trailer from a towing yard.

It was taken Wednesday night out of a parking lot in the 3000 block of Biddle Road in Medford.

"I was thinking somebody moved it at first then it kinda hit me that it was stolen," said Claborn.

However, unbeknownst to the alleged thieves, a security camera was rolling.

"The suspect showed up in a U-Haul truck and he got out and he walked around. He actually walked right up to the camera and then stole the trailer," said Lt. Mike Budreau with the Medford Police Department.

On Thursday afternoon the owner discovered it was missing. That's when he reported it to police, who quickly put images up on Facebook. The post immediately resulted in a flood of tips.

"A lot of people saw the suspects, saw the trailer [...] people talked to this individual," said Budreau.

The investigation was a quick one after posting to Facebook.

"With the click of a mouse button, we can reach thousands of people," he said.

Also, after sending out a regional alert, authorities discovered the trailer up at Crater Lake National Park.

"We posted the Facebook images around 4:20 or 4:30, and then we had the suspects in custody at 8:30," said Budreau.

Those suspects are 50-year-old Kenneth Wilkey, 32-year-old Ernesto Casas and 46-year-old Judy Hyde. All of them are from Sacramento, California.

"They had two pit bulls in there so they chewed up some stuff. They just strung everything all over the place," said Claborn.

While Claborn is grateful to have his trailer back, he's now stuck with an $1800 bill from getting it removed from some snow and towed down from Crater Lake. He's will also be stuck paying more money to clean up the mess inside.

According to Budreau, two of the suspects, Ernesto Casas and Judy Hyde were released from jail because of overcrowding.

As of Friday, Kenneth Wilkey remains behind bars on $15,000 bail.

All three suspects are charged with theft in the first degree.

Meantime, MPD says social media has been a huge help to solving crime and informing the community.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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