PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of protective masks stolen in Oregon have been recovered and are now on their way to where they are needed most: local hospitals.
Between 20 and 25 cases of protective masks were stolen from the Rebuilding Center in Portland earlier this month. Each case was packed with 400 N95 respirator masks, and had a total value of around $2,500, according to the Portland Police.
On March 7, a day after the theft occurred, police said the victim found someone selling what she believed were the stolen masks on Craigslist. In an attempt to catch the thief, the victim coordinated with the Beaverton Police and arranged a meeting with the seller in Beaverton. Officers were able to arrest a suspect they identified as 42-year-old Vladislav Drozdek, a Beaverton resident.
Drozdek was booked in the Washington County Jail where he was charged with first-degree theft.
Authorities said only about six cases of masks were recovered from the bust.
However, a follow-up investigation coordinated between both Portland and Beaverton police yielded another seven boxes, found in a home on NE Sacramento Street on March 21.
After the stolen boxes were returned to the victim, they were immediately donated to local area hospitals, which have been facing shortages of personal protection equipment as health care workers manage the coronavirus outbreak.