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News Releases
Suspected Serial Bank Robber Arrested in Beaverton - 02/15/19

Washington County Sheriff's Office deputies, with the assistance of Portland Police Bureau, Beaverton Police Department and the FBI, arrested Robert Norman Benham on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at his Beaverton home without incident. According to the federal criminal complaint filed in this case, Benham, age 53, faces charges related to a series of bank robberies that occurred starting in mid-December. Those charged robberies include:

  • December 11, 2018 - Wells Fargo Bank (located inside a Thriftway), 7410 SW Oleson Road, Portland
  • December 24, 2018 - Columbia Bank, 4805 SW 77th Avenue, Washington County
  • January 30, 2019 - Columbia Bank, 4805 SW 77th Avenue, Washington County

Benham appeared before a federal magistrate judge on Wednesday, and the judge ordered himheld pending further court proceedings.

Investigators are gathering information related to as many as six other unsolved bank robberies in this area between November 2018 and now. Anyone with information on these other robberies is asked to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181, Washington County Sheriff's Office at (503) 846-2700, the Beaverton Police Department at (503) 526-2282 or Portland Police Bureau at (503) 823-3333. Information may also be submitted via the online portal at https://tips.fbi.gov/

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and all defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Washington Man Faces Federal Charge for Disturbance on Flight - 02/14/19

The FBI charged Douglas B. Smyser, age 21, with interfering with a flight crew for alleged disturbing behavior aboard Compass Air flight 6054 on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. Smyser, a Bonney Lake, Washington, man, boarded the flight at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The flight, bound for Los Angeles, diverted to Portland International Airport when the crew became concerned about Smyser's actions. The plane landed at 7:51 pm in Portland, and both Port of Portland Police officers and the FBI responded.
 
According to the federal criminal complaint filed in this case late Thursday, witnesses and crew report there were multiple incidents that occurred between the time the plane left the gate in Seattle and when it landed in Portland. About 20 – 30 minutes into the flight, the captain said the crew became concerned that Smyser would rush the cockpit, and he made the determination at that time to divert to Portland.
 
Specifically, witnesses and crew reported incidents involved Smyser throwing his backpack in the aisle and claiming it wasn’t his; his refusal to stay in his seat; and his pacing the aisle with several attempts to move towards the front of the plane. A crew member also said that Smyser told her at one point that “someone has a gun in the back row of this plane.” As the plane was approaching Portland for landing, a passenger helped return Smyser to his seat and used his body weight to physically block Smyser from leaving his seat until Port officers took him into custody.
 
On Wednesday night, Port officers charged Smyser with two state crimes: menacing and disorderly conduct 2. On Thursday, February 14, 2019, the FBI filed the federal criminal complaint charging him with interference with a flight crew. Smyser is expected to make his initial appearance before a federal magistrate at 1:30 pm on Friday, February 15, 2019, at the U.S. District Courthouse in Portland.
 
A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and all defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
 
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FBI Special Agent in Charge Renn Cannon Statement on Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) - 02/13/19

The FBI's mission is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. With the withdrawal of the city of Portland from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, that mission doesn't change.

The agents, analysts, language specialists, legal experts and other professional staff of the FBI who work every day to keep our community safe will continue to do so, addressing threats of violence and criminal activity that impact our neighborhoods. To this end, the FBI will continue to partner formally with other members of the JTTF as well as informally with cities and counties across the state to share information and address threats as appropriate.

Robust discussions about law enforcement's role in our society are valuable. Recognizing the fears that exist in the community, we will continue to visit with community leaders and work together to keep Oregon safe while addressing those factors that can drive a wedge between us.

I want the people of Oregon to know that the men and women of the FBI do their work with the utmost respect for and adherence to our shared Constitutional protections that allow us to speak, gather and worship freely no matter who we are or where we come from. I thank them for the work they do every day, and I thank the Portland Police officers who have joined us the past few years for their work in keeping our shared community safe.

-- Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon

Romance Scams - GRAPHIC
Romance Scams - GRAPHIC
Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Romance Scams (Photo) - 02/12/19

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against romance frauds.

To get you in the mood for the mushy gushy day that is Valentine’s, we want to share a little love story with you… a love story gone very, very wrong.

An older gentleman – looking for love – picks a pretty well known dating website and starts the hunt.

He finds what he believes to be a nice woman living in Africa. They text and chat online for months, falling hopelessly for each other. It’s at this point that the girlfriend proposes - not marriage, but a partnership. They can make some money while their love continues to grow. He agrees, and he helps by providing her with some seed money for their import/export business.

Many romance scams end at this point, but, unfortunately, this story continues on. Over time, the girlfriend asks him to set up multiple corporations in Oregon and open several dozen accounts at different banks. So-called customers would send the gentleman money, which he would manage and then wire out of the country per her instructions. Over the course of about two years, investigators believe the gentleman wired more than a million dollars to bank accounts in Africa and China.

So who were those “customers”? Turns out that they, themselves, were victims of romance scams. People from all over America thought they had found online love with U.S. military or government contractors living overseas. When they wired the older gentleman money, they thought they were sending it to their new girlfriends and boyfriends.

How does this story end? Unfortunately, not well. Law enforcement officers found out about the scam and warned the gentleman that both his business and his girlfriend were phony. Love is a powerful motivator, though, and he continued to receive money from other victims and send it to fraudsters in other countries.

In the end, the gentleman ended up pleading guilty to wire fraud and money laundering and now must pay more than $200,000 in restitution.

So, how do you keep Cupid on the up-and-up? Here are a few warning signs to watch for:

  • Your new beau presses you to leave a dating website where you met to communicate solely through email or instant messaging.
  • She sends you a photo that looks like a glamour shot out of a magazine.
  • He professes love quickly and tries to isolate you from friends and family.
  • She claims to be working and living far away -- whether that's on the other side of the country or overseas.
  • He makes plans to visit you but then always has to cancel because of some emergency.
  • She asks for money or your help moving money.

If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, report it to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.

###

Koester - OR DMV photo - 2016
Koester - OR DMV photo - 2016
Man Charged with Dozens of Sexual Assault Counts in Oregon and California (Photo) - 02/06/19

*update - Oregon DMV photo date should read 2016

 

FBI and Local Law Enforcement Partners Are Seeking Models Photographed and Potentially Victimized by Robert Arnold Koester

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Yamhill County (Oregon) Sheriff’s Office and the Carlsbad (California) Police Department are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying potential victims of a suspected serial sexual predator who took nude photos of models and is alleged to have sexually assaulted many of these models, including individuals younger than 18 years of age. Robert Arnold Koester – also known as Bert Kay, Rhake Winter, and Qitooly – age 52, has potentially been engaging in these criminal acts starting in 1994 and continuing through his initial arrest in Carlsbad, California, on November 13, 2018. 

Alleged victims have been identified in multiple cities across the United States. At the time of his arrest, Koester worked as a professional photographer, engaged in the photography of models, primarily on the West Coast of the United States.  

At the time of his initial arrest in November 2018 by the Carlsbad Police Department, Koester was living in Southern California. He currently faces 23 felony charges filed by state prosecutors in San Diego County related to that arrest, including child sexual abuse and production of child pornography. 

Koester also faces two federal counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in California based on an investigation by the San Diego FBI. Koester remains in custody in San Diego, California.

Koester owns a farm in the rural Carlton area of Yamhill County, Oregon, and a joint investigation by the FBI’s Portland Field Office and the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office is ongoing.

On January 30, 2019, the Yamhill County Grand Jury charged Koester with 32 felony counts involving four separate victims, one of whom was a minor. The counts included multiple charges for first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and causing another person to ingest a controlled substance. Koester’s bail on the Yamhill County counts has been set at $2.5 million.

FBI offices in San Diego and Portland as well as FBI Headquarters have been working hand-in-hand with local law enforcement in Carlsbad, California, and Yamhill County, Oregon, and elsewhere to coordinate the law enforcement effort to identify potential victims in this case. As a result, the FBI has created a central electronic system to collect information in an effort to identify all potential victims in order to fully investigate this case.

If you someone you know may have been victimized by Robert Arnold Koester, the FBI requests that you complete this secure, confidential online questionnaire

Information from the public may also be submitted confidentially via email to: ModelCase@fbi.gov.

Identified victims may be eligible for certain services and rights under federal and/or state law. More information is available at fbi.gov/ModelCase.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and all defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Additional Resources:

Press Conference Advisory - FBI, Yamhill Co. Sheriff's Office and Yamhill Co. District Attorney's Office - 02/06/19

The Yamhill County District Attorney's Office, the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office and the FBI will host a press conference concerning a joint investigation into an alleged serial predator and the search for more potential victims throughout the U.S. Further case details will be released at the press conference.

Conference details:

  • Wednesday, February 6th
  • 11 am
  • Yamhill County Council Chambers (in the Yamhill Co. Courthouse)
  • 535 NE 5th St, McMinnville, OR 97128

Speakers:

  • Brad Berry, Yamhill Co. District Attorney
  • Tim Svenson, Yamhill Co. Sheriff
  • Steve Goldman, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, FBI 

News crews should arrive no later than 10:30 am to allow time to pass through courthouse security.

 

FBI Arrests Bend Man for Alleged Threats Against Pennsylvania Police Chief - 02/05/19

FBI Agents arrested Gregory Truchanowicz, age 43, at his home in Bend, Oregon, on one count of sending a threatening communication. The arrest, on Monday, February 4, 2019, was without incident.

A federal criminal complaint alleges that Truchanowicz sent an email to a Pennsylvania police chief on January 14, 2019, that read in part: “It IS my job to kill you and any/all of your subordinates as I swore an oath to defend America from you, domestic enemies of the constitution. I_must_stand by this oath.”

The complaint further alleges that in October and November 2018, Truchanowicz submitted two online tips to the FBI saying that authorities in Pennsylvania had arranged for skinhead gang members to assault him, causing him to flee that state. In one instance, he wrote of the police officers: “…it is my duty as a professional soldier to kill them as leaders of terrorist organizations.” The complaint says that in another tip, Truchanowicz wrote “I’ve decided to declare civil war against police for their crimes.”

Truchanowicz attempted to purchase a firearm in Oregon in November 2018, but because Pennsylvania authorities had a protective order in place which prohibited his possession or purchase of a firearm, the transaction failed. In a separate instance, he informed Oregon State Police that “a biker friend with a devil tattoo offered me a police issue .38 special with the serial number ground off and a box of ammunition.”

Truchanowicz made his initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Eugene on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The judge ordered him detained pending future court proceedings.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and all defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The FBI takes threats of violence seriously and encourages members of the public to report information about such threats by calling their nearest FBI office or by submitting information online at https://tips.fbi.gov. If a person fears for their immediate safety, they should call 911.

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Columbia - 2-1-18 - c
Columbia - 2-1-18 - c
Public's Help Needed Identifying Armed Robber (Photo) - 02/05/19

The FBI and Marion County Sheriff's Office are asking for the public's help identifying an armed suspect who robbed the Columbia Bank branch located at 510 Lancaster Drive NE, Salem, on Friday, February 1st. At 5:46 pm, the man walked into the bank carrying a black pistol and a black backpack. He approached the teller desk, demanded cash, received cash and left the bank on foot.

Witnesses describe him as:

  • African American man
  • Age: mid-30's
  • Height: 6'6"
  • Weight: 250 pounds
  • Wearing: black Carhartt hooded sweatshirt, black Carhartt balaclava/helmet liner, black Mechanic gloves with gray writing on them, light gray sweatpants, gray Nike tennis shoes. 

The FBI has featured this unknown bank robber on its webpage at https://bankrobbers.fbi.gov/robbers-container/2019-02-04.3252460748

Anyone with information about this armed robber can call the FBI in Salem at (503) 362-6601, the FBI in Portland at (503) 224-4181 or the Marion County Sheriff's Office at (503) 540-8079. Those with information can also provide tips through the FBI's website at https://tips.fbi.gov.

###

Graphic
Graphic
Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Pet Adoption Scams (Photo) - 02/05/19

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against pet adoption scams.

We all love our cute and cuddly creatures. After all, there’s nothing quite like the bond of a family pet. Whether you adopt Fido from a local humane society or pay top-dollar at a breeder, we love them all the same.

But - if you are looking for a good deal on a particular pedigree or really want a rare, high-cost critter, we have a warning about moving too quickly. Fraudsters are prowling the web to find families who are so desperate for the perfect pooch that they are willing to adopt sight unseen.

It goes like this: You come across a pet adoption ad on social media or an online classified advertising platform. Maybe you are online every day looking for your new Fluffy – or you just happen upon a photo of a cute little face that you can’t ignore. Either way, you decide this is the pet for you. After a few brief messages and many ‘fees’ later, the pet never shows up, and you’re left with nothing but heartbreak and an empty wallet.

Even “free” pets can be risky. The scammer will charge all sorts of fees for all sorts of reasons… ventilated crates, flights, handlers, even travel grooming. Watch out for these, and follow the tips below to keep from getting scammed:

  • Meet the pet in person if at all possible.
  • Don’t pay to ship a pet if you can’t verify the seller is a reputable breeder.
  • Do your homework on the seller before sending any form of payment. Look for contact information, check credentials and confirm reviews from previous clients.  
  • If you virtually chat with the seller, watch for odd phrasing or typos.
  • If the seller asks you to pay via wire transfer or gift card, don’t. There’s a huge chance it’s a scam.

If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, report it to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.

Attached Media Files: Audio , Graphic
Capt Gullberg3
Capt Gullberg3
Multnomah County Sheriff Captain Graduates from the FBI National Academy (Photo) - 01/30/19

Captain Travis W. Gullberg, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, recently completed one of the toughest challenges available to local law enforcement officers: the FBI National Academy. In mid-December, Captain Gullberg and two other Oregon law enforcement officers completed a ten-week training session at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

The selection process for the honor of attending the academy is a highly competitive. The process includes a nomination by a supervisor; interviews with the candidate and co-workers to determine leadership skills and abilities; a background check; a determination of physical fitness; and the support of former National Academy graduates within the candidate's organization.

"The exceptional law enforcement leaders selected to attend the National Academy each year have the unique opportunity to share their experiences with peers and learn best practices from officers from across the globe,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “Only a few officers from Oregon have the chance to attend each year, and we are proud to sponsor Captain Gullberg and our other local partners in the National Academy."

Captain Gullberg graduated from Centennial High School in Gresham, Oregon. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology and Social Work from Warner Pacific University in Portland, Oregon. He and his wife Janet have been married for 26 years, and they have two sons.

Captain Gullberg began his law enforcement career in 1996 as a police officer in Rock Springs, Wyoming. He joined the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in 1998 as a Patrol Deputy. During his career, he has worked in the Civil Process Unit, Detectives Unit, and the River Patrol Unit. He has also served on the East County Major Crimes Team; Search and Rescue Team; Dive Team; and K9 Teams. Captain Gullberg is leaving his current assignment as Captain of the Professional Standards Unit and moving back to Patrol Operations as Acting-Chief of the City of Troutdale.

“MCSO encourages and supports all of its members to seek out new ways to continue their personal and professional growth. This not only leads to a more rich and satisfying sense of well-being, but also creates additional opportunities for career development and promotion,” said Sheriff Mike Reese.

During the ten weeks of training, local executive-level law enforcement officers spend most of their time in the classroom. Captain Gullberg’s National Academy classes included: Essentials for Law Enforcement Executives; Advanced Psychology of Communications; Advance Spirituality and Wellness; Managing the Law Enforcement Image; Fitness for Law Enforcement; and Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement. The program also allows participants the opportunity to earn college credits through the University of Virginia for some of those studies.

In addition to the classroom work, participants have physical training courses and activities. Captain Gullberg achieved many fitness goals while at the academy. He completed the Yellow Brick Road Challenge, which is a 6.5-mile obstacle challenge course with run, and he earned class awards for swimming 34 miles, biking 274 miles, and rowing 34 miles. He also set personal bests for the mile run and the 5k run.

Each year, the FBI sponsors four sessions of the National Academy. Each session includes about 220 local law enforcement officers from around the United States and around the world. While in the academy, the officers and deputies live in a dorm-like setting. The FBI does not charge U.S. students for tuition, books, equipment, meals, lodging or travel to and from their home.

 

Commander MacGregor
Commander MacGregor
Washington County Sheriff Commander Graduates from the FBI National Academy (Photo) - 01/28/19

Commander Gil MacGregor, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, recently completed one of the toughest challenges available to local law enforcement officers: the FBI National Academy. In mid-December, Commander MacGregor and two other Oregon law enforcement officers completed a ten-week training session at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

There is a highly competitive process local law enforcement officers must go through to be selected for this honor. That process includes a nomination by a supervisor; interviews with the candidate and co-workers to determine leadership skills and abilities; a background check; a determination of physical fitness; and the support of former National Academy graduates within the candidate's organization.

"The exceptional law enforcement leaders selected to attend the National Academy each year have the unique opportunity to share their experiences with peers and learn best practices from officers from across the globe,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “Only a few officers from Oregon have the chance to attend each year and we are proud to sponsor Commander MacGregor and our other local partners in the National Academy."

Commander MacGregor started his law enforcement career with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in September of 1988, more than 30 years ago. Since being hired, Commander MacGregor has served as a Deputy, Senior Deputy, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and now serves as Commander for Investigations and Patrol. In addition, he has been a valuable member of the Tactical Negotiations Team, Interagency Gang Enforcement Team, and Honor Guard.

“I am very proud of Commander MacGregor for successfully passing the challenging academic and physical standards of the FBI National Academy,” said Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett. “We are looking forward to his return to the sheriff’s office to utilize the excellent professional development he has gained through the FBINA.”

During the ten weeks of training, local executive-level law enforcement officers spend most of their time in the classroom. Commander MacGregor’s National Academy classes included: Essentials for Law Enforcement Leaders; Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement; The Cyber Threat Landscape; Behavioral Science; Effective Writing; Leadership and Fitness in Law Enforcement. The program allows participants the opportunity to earn college credits through the University of Virginia for some of those studies. In addition to the classroom work, participants have physical training courses and activities.

Each year, the FBI sponsors four sessions of the National Academy. Each session includes about 220 local law enforcement officers from around the United States and around the world. While in the academy, the officers and deputies live in a dorm-like setting. The FBI does not charge U.S. students for tuition, books, equipment, meals, lodging or travel to and from their home.

 

 

Attached Media Files: Commander MacGregor