Portland/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 17, 2024
Joseph Beard Convicted of Auto Theft Charges in Multnomah County CrackdownSource: Portland Police Bureau

Joseph Beard, a 52-year-old man linked to a spate of auto thefts, has been convicted on various charges after a major crackdown by the Auto Theft Task Force in Multnomah County. The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office announced that Beard, associated with Maters Auto Recycling, was found guilty on April 11 of unauthorized use of a vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, and theft I. The charges are the result of what law enforcement has named "Operation MistleTow," a concerted effort to curb the high rates of car theft in the area.

In a statement obtained by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, it was detailed how Beard's company was caught red-handed falsifying documents for stolen vehicles and selling them to Rivergate Scrap Metal. Many of these vehicles were crushed almost immediately after the sale, making it to near impossible to recover the stolen property. 

The case against Beard kicked off when a December 2023 incident came to light where a woman saw Beard towing away her legally parked vehicle. Following the tow truck to a stop, she and others from the community intervened, resulting in Beard promising to return the car—to which he reluctantly complied before fleeing. The DA's Office explained that after a stolen vehicle report was prompted, law enforcement was quickly on Beard's tail, leading to his arrest on January 5, 2024, while operating his tow truck.

Beard, who was charged with 22 felonies, has multiple open cases that are being actively pursued in connection with a broader auto theft conspiracy. Following the conviction, the court has set sentencing for Friday, April 19, 2024, at 9am. The District Attorney's Office expressed gratitude towards the Auto Theft Task Force and the dedication of officers, whose persistent work contributed heavily to bringing Beard to justice.