Friday, April 3, 2009

Ketchum cop helps out-of-state case

Kassner helps ScotteVest locate stolen merchandise


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Scott Jordan, owner of Ketchum-based clothing company ScotteVest, had 3,000 jackets stolen from a port in Los Angeles last month. Ketchum Police Sgt. Dave Kassner helped contact a cargo theft unit of the California Highway Patrol, which was able to make an arrest and recover a small portion of the stolen goods. Photo by Willy Cook

When $360,000 worth of ScotteVest jackets went missing from a Los Angeles port, Scott Jordan, owner of the Ketchum-based clothing company, turned to local law enforcement to help with the case.

"All I did was make a phone call," said a modest Sgt. Dave Kassner of the Ketchum Police Department.

That call eventually connected Kassner with a detective in the California Highway Patrol's cargo theft unit, resulting in an arrest for felony possession of stolen goods.

Jordan was informed that a shipping container filled with 3,000 ScotteVest jackets went missing from the St. George customs clearing yard in Compton, Calif., on March 20.

ScotteVest specializes in producing outdoor wear and clothing that accommodates electronic equipment, such as digital music players, handheld computers and cell phones.

Jordan said he had difficulty connecting with authorities in Los Angeles even after he discovered a number of his jackets for sale on eBay, the popular online auction site. What really raised the red flag was the fact that the seller was located a mere three miles from where the goods disappeared.

At the suggestion of the Los Angeles Police Department, Jordan filed a report at his local department, a report that caused Kassner to pick up the phone.

Kassner said the detective in the cargo theft unit was aware that the container was missing, but hadn't yet made the eBay connection.

Jordan, however, was undeterred by official channels. In short order he went onto the Internet, running press conference on his Web site, via a Web camera over his desk, to talk to reporters, supporters, and anyone else who would listen, about his case.

"On March 30, we had a big break in the case," Jordan said.

The eBay tip led the cargo theft detective to perform a "knock and talk," as Kassner called it, during which the police went to the suspect's location and were able to recover some of the stolen products.

Jordan said 15 jackets were recovered, enough to warrant a charge of felony possession of stolen property.

Jordan said that despite the good news, he is still in a tough situation, since the vast majority of his jackets are still unaccounted for. He said that in order to meet demand, he could have to reorder another 3,000 jackets, a process that takes up to four months. If the stolen jackets are recovered in the interim, he will be left with double the inventory.

Kassner said Wednesday that he did not know the status of the investigation, but the next step would be for the Los Angeles authorities for find out who had the remaining vests.

In the meantime, Jordan is busy moving into a new location in downtown Ketchum, on the northeast corner of Fourth Street and East Avenue, the first storefront he's operated to sell his goods.

Jon Duval: jduval@mtexpress.com




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