Downtown Port Angeles merchant arrested on investigation of stolen property trafficking

Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — A downtown merchant has been arrested for investigation of second degree possession of stolen property and first degree trafficking in stolen property.

Michael Allen VanAusdle, owner of Port Angeles Antique Mall at 109 W. First St., was arrested at his place of business at about 2 p.m. today, said Sgt. John Keegan of the Clallam County Sheriff's Office in a prepared statement.

The arrest followed a stolen property sting operation prompted by reports that stolen jewelry had been purchased by local gold and silver buyers, Keegan said.

“On more than one occasion, Michael VanAusdle purchased items he was told were stolen,” Keegan said in the statement.

He said that transactions occurred at a consignment store VanAusdle operates in downtown Port Angeles.

VanAusdle, 51, remained in the Clallam County jail tonight with no bond set.

His arrest followed an investigation by the burglary task force, which is made up of detectives from area agencies, including the sheriff's office and the Port Angeles and Sequim police departments.

Detectives had been told that jewelry stolen during several summertime residential burglaries had been sold locally, Keegan said in the statement.

“According to the burglary suspects, they were doing this to finance their controlled substances” addictions, he said.

So members of the burglary task force used undercover operatives to attempt to sell proeprty they told potential buyers was stolen, Keegan said.

“Operations of this nature and business compliance checks will continue to make sure that those who purchase items targeted by burglars are operating legitimately,” Keegan said.

Trafficking in stolen property in the first degree is a Class B felony while second degree possession of stolen property is a Class C felony.

Last modified: February 15. 2013 9:41PM
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