Police hold property viewing: 'It looked just like when it got stolen'

EUGENE, Ore. -- Behind the metal gates of Eugene Police's Property Control Unit, rows of tables are piled high with stolen items that have been recovered around Lane County.

On Thursday, an equally large line of eager theft victims lined up outside the gate, hoping to reunite with their prized possessions.

After a coordinated raid on two Eugene locations in December, Eugene Police hauled truckloads of stolen goods to their property control unit.

Rather than track down all the rightful owners involved in such a big haul, police decided to have the victims identify their own items.

"The things lodged here could be involved in any number of cases that are still under investigation," said Officer Travis Stephens, one of the EPD staff members working the property viewing.

The hopeful hunters were allowed to claim anything that they had reported missing to police in incident reports.

While many sought the obvious guitars, golf clubs and gas-powered lawn equipment, KVAL News talked to one woman who claimed a metal flour sifter that had been in her family for generations.

Gary Campbell said that when he heard police had a lot of confiscated yard tools at the viewing, he figured it was worth a visit to look for a missing chainsaw.

"We thought somebody had come from the back of our house and taken it," said Campbell. "It's a good item to have, especially as were getting closer to Spring to be able to clean up the yard a bit. Though it'll probably make me work a lot more than a ring or a baseball."

Even if it means more work, Campbell said he is happy to have his $250 chainsaw back in his hands.

"It looked just like when it got stolen, so showed them the police report and it matched the description of the police report. They processed me through ... and I took it with me," said Campbell.

Campbell's story was rather unique, as many people KVAL's Lauren Lee talked to walked back through the gates empty handed.

Cassie Harrison said she learned a valuable lesson; mainly not to leave your expensive things in plain sight.

"I'm looking for my electric bass guitar and my bike. They got stolen out of my car, left them at the back seat," said Harrison.

While KVAL News wasn't allowed to film inside the gates of their property storage facility, Eugene Police said that it wasn't all power tools and lawn equipment. Officials said that they had quite a bit of recovered jewelry, electronics and bicycles at the viewing as well.