Suspect Steals Car From Garage, Later Jumps Into River To Escape

Posted Wed, 07/20/2022 - 4:43pm

LAKE OSWEGO – Shortly after 6:00 A.M., Wednesday, July 20, 2022, a Lake Oswego resident called police to report that their 2019 Range Rover had been stolen overnight from their garage. The vehicle was later recovered by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and a suspect was captured after he tried multiple times to escape by way of the Sandy River.

The victim reported that their vehicle had a tracking system installed and could see it was located in Fairview Oregon. They said the suspect(s) also unlawfully entered a different vehicle they own that was parked on the street in front of their house. The victim believes the suspect(s) used the garage door opener in that vehicle to gain access to their garage, where the Range Rover was parked. Also stolen were the victim’s purse and some jewelry.

We requested the assistance of MCSO to check the area for the vehicle, and they ultimately located it in the Troutdale area near the 28000 block of E. Historic Columbia River Highway with a male and female inside. Deputies detained the female passenger and, when they attempted to detain the male, he fled the scene toward the Sandy River. The suspect ultimately jumped into the river and attempted to escape by swimming across and down the river.

The suspect became tired and started to struggle to stay afloat. He was occasionally able to stand in some shallower sections of the river, and a team of deputies were negotiating with him and encouraging him to exit the water. Every time they got close, he would back into the center of the river. Eventually, a team of deputies entered the water wearing life jackets and brought him to shore, detaining him. Medical personnel were called to check on him since the deputies believed he may have swallowed some water, and no injuries were reported.

Thanks to the vehicle tracking system, the coordination between law enforcement agencies, and the outstanding work by MCSO deputies, the suspect was identified as 47-year-old Charles Flonzel Thomas of Portland. He is being referred to the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office for multiple charges, including Burglary 2 (ORS 164.215), Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle (ORS 164.135), Unauthorized Entry to a Motor Vehicle (ORS 164.272), and Aggravated Theft 1 (ORS 164.057).