Dec. 19, 2020 — Since Dec. 1, the Florence Police Department has been investigating a series of thefts, car break-ins and stolen cars. Florence Police have identified suspects, made arrests and located stolen property during the investigations of these incidents, the department announced Friday.
“We had three separate cases where one or more suspects committed numerous thefts and other crimes here in Florence,” said Florence Police Commander John Pitcher. “Our officers did a very good job of identifying suspects, retrieving stolen property and either making arrests or working towards getting arrest warrants for the suspects involved.”
Police arrested 20-year-old Ethan Joule of Eugene on Dec. 1 for unlawful use of a motor vehicle (UUMV) for a vehicle that had been reported stolen out of Eugene. It was during that investigation officers that found evidence from several reported car break-ins and thefts reported from Florence-area residents.
Joule was arrested for the UUMV, three counts of unlawful entry into a motor vehicle (UEMV) and theft III.
Then, on Dec. 4, the FPD had received numerous reports of car break-ins and two stolen cars. During the investigation, officers were able to identify and locate a suspect vehicle. The suspect vehicle was seized and, after obtaining a search warrant, was searched, revealing evidence from one of the stolen vehicles, several of the reported car break-ins and possession of controlled substances.
Evidence located in the vehicle also connected the suspects to several car break-ins that were reported to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office from residents outside Florence city limits. The investigation also revealed evidence of unlawful use of a credit card and identity theft.
The two stolen vehicles were recovered, along with other stolen property.
Florence Police identified four suspects who were traveling through Florence and had stayed at a local motel. One of the suspects was recently arrested in Linn County and is a suspect in similar incidents there as well.
The FPD is working with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and this investigation is continuing.
On Dec. 5, while on patrol, an FPD officer heard an audible car alarm going off and responded to the area to investigate. Meanwhile, officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle seen leaving that immediate area and, during the traffic stop, observed evidence of possession of controlled substances and unlawful possession of a firearm.
After their investigation, police seized a firearm and a restricted weapon, along with a large amount — over 4 ounces — of methamphetamine.
Florence Police arrested Ricky McNicol, 56, of Eugene, for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of felon in possession of a restricted weapon.
On Dec. 10, officers were investigating several additional reports of car break-ins and mail thefts. Police had identified possible suspects and a vehicle involved in those reports and eventually arrested Richard Olivera, 22, listed as a transient, on a felony warrant and seized his vehicle.
After a search of the vehicle, officers found evidence from several car break-ins and mail thefts. Olivera was arrested on six counts each of UEMV, criminal mischief and theft. Additionally, Olivera was charged with 20 counts of mail theft.
Evidence was also discovered that indicated theft of mail and theft from outside the city limits of Florence that was referred to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation into this case is ongoing and an additional suspect has