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Woman's mobility scooter stolen from church, recovered after 2 weeks

A Rogue River woman's only mode of transportation was stolen from her church after she loaned her electric scooter to her pastor. Here's how police tracked it down.

Posted: Mar 15, 2019 3:43 PM
Updated: Mar 15, 2019 6:15 PM

ROGUE RIVER, Ore. -- Rogue River Police say "it doesn't get much worse" than a recent case of a woman's electric scooter being stolen recently.  That scooter is Catherine Hunt's only way of getting around.  In mid-February, she let her pastor, Dale Schaffner, borrow the scooter because he broke his hip. On February 26, someone stole the scooter from him at the New Beginnings Christian Center church. They filed a police report and they all waited and prayed.  

Two weeks later, police found the scooter.  They say it had been painted camouflage. But they didn't have a suspect.  In a Facebook post, the Rogue River Police Department said "through the diligent work of Corporal Buren and Officer Darr, the suspect was identified. On March 8, Officer Darr and Officer Buren attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle being driving by our suspect. He chose to elude and we chose to terminate the pursuit for public safety reasons."

On March 11, Steven Staker was arrested in the case.  He is behind bars and has been charged with Theft I, Criminal Mischief III, Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving and Recklessly Endangering and was indicted by the Grand Jury.

NewsWatch 12 talked with the pastor who says that he was no stranger to the thief. In fact, he'd actually helped Staker before.

"The man who stole it has actually been the recipient of some of our church ministry. We run a food bank off the church property in fact it's right across the front yard from our house," says Pastor Dale, "We've never had any problems in the past...we've been the pastors there for 4 and a half years and never had any problem with having anything taken off the porch."

Catherine is just glad to have her only mode of transportation back.  She's planning to repaint it. She said even though her scooter was stolen, she wouldn't take back her act of kindness of helping her pastor.

"Because he needed it. Nobody else had one to loan him. It's just a natural thing to do," says Catherine.

She has a message for the theif.

"I hope the young man who has been indicted for this crime will learn a good lesson from this and learn to be a little more honest," says Catherine.

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