Detroit sees uptick in thefts as they continue to rebuild

DETROIT Ore. (KPTV) – It’s been nearly two years since the Santiam Canyon fires destroyed several towns in Marion County, including towns like Detroit.

“It annoys me, you know? Then it saddens me,” LaRrie Pattyn said.

Pattyn lives in Detroit and says since early July, they’ve been seeing more thefts.

She works with wildfire survivors and said one of the frustrating parts of this trend is the fact Detroit is still recovering from the 2020 wildfire that scorched their town.

“Absolutely everything was taken from them. The homes their children grew up in, that they grew up in. I think that it takes a whole ‘nother type of person to victimize them again,” she said.

Detroit also doesn’t have their own police department. They rely on the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Pattyn said it’s not often suspects are held accountable.

“We cherish them, they can’t be in more than one place at one time,” Pattyn said. “Response time is slow because we are so isolated. I think community members, even before the fires, people wouldn’t even report crimes because they would feel as if nothing would be done anyway.”

While they don’t know the exact cause of this uptick, every summer the sheriff’s office said thefts go up with tourists in town and Pattyn believes they know people are rebuilding.

The sheriff’s office said there was a burglary around 10 am July 20 and provided a surveillance photo of the suspect.

A spokesperson said it’s important people report these crimes as they happen because communication between law enforcement and the community can help prevent it.

If you recognize the man in the photo, you’re asked to call Marion County’s non-emergency line at 503-588-5032.

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