Owner responded to sale ad
By Jamie Henneman/The Independent Staff
A local man recently recovered a pair of stolen moose antlers when he responded to someone selling them on the Facebook classifieds and alerted local law enforcement.
According to police reports, a pair of moose horns that had been stolen from the Baumann Storage Units in July appeared on the local Facebook classifieds and were spotted by owner Brett Gleave. Gleave responded to the ad posted by James Bumatay and arranged to meet up at the Colville Safeway to “purchase” the horns. Gleave also called the Stevens County Sheriff’s office and a deputy arranged to be present at the exchange.
When Gleave met Bumatay on Aug. 23, he was accompanied by Amanda Camus who said Bumatay posted the horns for her and that her father had given them to her. Camus claimed she was trying to make a “quick buck” so she could “move to the Coast.” When Gleave confirmed to deputies that the horns were his, Camus then said she had purchased the horns at a yard sale.
Sheriff’s deputies took the horns into possession until proof of ownership could be determined.
Gleave was able to prove to deputies the horns were his by having photos that showed him with the moose horns before they were stolen. Gleave was also able to identify other specific characteristics of the horns, according to court records. After several failed attempts to contact Camus, Deputies referred the situation to the Stevens County Prosecutor’s Office. Camus was charged with one count of Trafficking in Stolen Property on Oct. 19.
The case is unusual in Stevens County, according to law enforcement, because the owner was actually able to reclaim the stolen item. Stevens County Sheriff Kendle Allen said that many times items cannot be recovered to the owner due to lack of identification on the item.
“In order to return a stolen item to someone, we need to be able to verify proof of ownership.
But people don’t write down the serial numbers on items like TVs or other electronics that are often stolen,” Sheriff Allen noted.
Items that already have a paperwork history attached to them, like cars or firearms, are easier to get back to their proper owner. However, when purchasing from a private party online, Sheriff Allen said it is a “buyer beware” situation.
“It is nearly impossible to determine ownership through an online ad,” said Sheriff Allen. “So people need to be careful.”