Missing boxes of historical items prompt investigation, raid
By Barney Lerten, KTVZ.COM
Volunteers play a crucial role in just about every Central Oregon organization, often toiling behind the scenes, with little recognition. But once in a while, they make the news – and rarer still, for a disheartening reason.
That’s what led to a Thursday afternoon raid on the southeast Bend home of Des Chutes Historical Museum volunteer Brett Alan Hignell, 40, and his subsequent arrest on first-degree theft and computer crime charges.
Police began their investigation on Sept. 9 after the downtown Bend museum’s executive director noticed there were at least three boxes of historical items and memorabilia that were missing and apparently stolen, said police Officer Devin Lewis.
The ensuing investigation found that some of the missing items had been listed and sold at the eBay online auction site, Lewis said.
Evidence also was gathered that led to a possible suspect in Hignell, a past volunteer at the museum who was still listed as a current volunteer, the officer said.
Shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, police officers and detectives served a search warrant at Hignell’s home in the 21000 block of SE Obsidian Ave., Lewis said.
Several of the stolen items were recovered at the home, Lewis said.
Hignell was contacted as the raid took place and taken to the Deschutes County Jail, where he was lodged and later released on his own recognizance, a Jail officer said.
The investigation is continuing, Lewis said, noting that some of the property sold on eBay has yet to be recovered.
Anyone with information that could help in the case was asked to contact Bend Police at (541) 322-2960.