Alleged burglar used his dead twin brother's ID
Fuller, 24, who lists addresses in McMinnville, Portland and Sheridan, according to court records, has initially been charged with two counts each of first-degree theft and identity theft in connection with his alleged involvement in the burglaries on Northwest Sherman Street and Southeast Meadows Loop.
In an unrelated case, Fuller was charged with one count of giving false information to a police officer, a Class A misdemeanor.
There were warrants issued for Fuller’s arrest, and Yamhill County sheriff’s deputies have been looking for him. Sgt. Russ Vandewettering, who oversees the West Valley sub-station, has been patrolling neighborhood streets at night in the area in search of the suspect who managed to elude law enforcement officials for months.
However, last Friday, McMinnville police officer Matt Peters responded to Safeway when an off-duty sergeant said he spotted Fuller. At first, Fuller walked away from Peters, and when contacted a second time, Fuller provided a name other than his own.
Photographs of Fuller and the individual whose name he gave were compared, and Peters positively identified Fuller. After the existence of a tattoo on his left arm was confirmed, the suspect admitted to being Fuller.
The Sherman Street residence was burglarized June 4 and the Meadows Loop residence on June 26. Items taken included ammunition, firearms, a laptop and jewelry.
Sheriff’s deputy Matt Twitchell gave this account in a probable cause affidavit:
Deputy Derek Trombla investigated a burglary on the afternoon of June 26. About two hours after the incident was reported, surveillance video at Treasures in Time, 1228 N.W. Adams St., McMinnville, recorded Brian Keith Fuller selling several items. It was believed they were taken from the Meadows Loop residence.
Brian Fuller died several years ago, and Twitchell suspected Steven Fuller used his brother’s California identification to sell the items.
Twitchell gathered information from the Regional Automated Property Information Database, which records transactions at pawn shops and from gold buyers and metal buyers. Records include the seller’s identification through both photographs and a fingerprint.
In investigating the Meadows Loop burglary, Twitchell learned that Brian Fuller’s identification was used, and he acquired a thumbprint of the seller. A declaration of ownership of the items sold at Treasures in Time included Brian Fuller’s signature.
Both Brian and Steven Fuller had fingerprints on file at the Oregon State Crime Lab. It wasn’t until mid-December that a crime lab report connected Steven Fuller to the thumbprint.
Vandewettering said he had not previously heard of a suspect using the identification of a deceased relative in an effort to conceal identity.
“People will often use the name of a close friend, a family member or just pull a name out of a hat,” he said.
However, using a patrol vehicle’s moble data terminal, an officer can quickly compare driver’s license photographs of the suspect and the individual’s name being falsely used.
In addition to the local charges, Fuller also is wanted on warrants out of Douglas and Lincoln counties. He is lodged in the local jail on $97,500 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled Wednesday at 1:20 p.m., at which time a grand jury indictment may have been returned on the local charges.