LAKEWOOD, Wash. - A wide ranging investigation across multiple counties by the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force has netted the arrest of two suspects so far accused in multiple burglaries, thefts and and related crimes. Detectives say more suspects involved in a string of fishing boat thefts, home burglaries, vehicle thefts and storage unit break-ins in Thurston and Pierce County are under investigation.
Jeromy Freitas, 37, was arrested in Lakewood on January 6, 2021. Pierce County Prosecutors have charged him with Trafficking in Stolen Property, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Firearm, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 2nd Degree and two counts of Possessing Stolen Property. He is currently being held on $40,000 bail.
Jeromy Freitas arraigned in Pierce County Superior Court
Detectives say he sold the boat motors removed from Toni Camp's fishing boat when it was stolen from in front of her home in Olympia last October. It was later found stripped in Steilacoom. https://www.q13fox.com/washingtons-most-wanted/detectives-warn-pierce-and-thurston-county-boat-owners-of-recent-thefts-to-secure-fishing-boats-and-trailers
"The Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force was completely relentless. I mean, they just kept at it They sort of acted like the boat was their boat that was stolen. They took a grand interest in it. They do care about property crime and they are not going to stop until they get the criminals. I think they are key to any property crime right now," said Camp who is grateful for their hard work.
The suspect accused of stealing Camp's boat was arrested by Thurston County Sheriff's deputies on January 8, 2021. Detectives say there was a stolen boat motor in the back of the vehicle he was driving.
Austin Lee Christensen, 35, is currently being held without bail on 12 felony charges including Burglary 1st Degree, Residential Burglary, Theft 1st Degree, Theft of Motor Vehicle, Burglary 2nd Degree, Possession of Stolen Property 2nd Degree and Possession of Heroin with Intent to Deliver.
Austin Lee Christensen charged with multiple counts of burglary and theft
The task force recovered both of Camp's stolen boat motors as well as numerous others from buyers who purchased them in Lynnwood and in Pasco. Detectives caution the public to never purchase items with prices too good to be true, especially if the serial numbers have been tampered with.
"There’s a sentiment out there that property crimes aren’t as important as person to person crimes but the task force takes a different view of that and they really do believe that property crimes are real to those individuals and those victims and they are not going to stop," said Camp.
Detectives say Christensen and Freitas were engaged in widespread criminal activity. The task force says Freitas admitted that he fell asleep and crashed a stolen Honda in DuPont, claiming Christensen gave him the car and the stolen handgun found inside. Both had been stolen during a burglary of a home in Rainier.
Investigators say they've also identified them as the suspects seen on surveillance video entering Yelm RV and Storage at 557 Rhoton Road N.W. multiple times last December.
Jeromy Freitas accused in thefts from Yelm RV and Storage
Austin Lee Christensen accused in thefts at Yelm RV and Storage
The suspects, along with a woman with long red hair who is still under investigation, used a pin code removed from a vehicle during a car prowl earlier that month to access the facility. Detectives have identified 18 theft victims so far. A $150,000 boat was stolen along with thousands of dollars worth of motors and other items.
3rd suspect wanted in thefts at Yelm RV and Storage