Oregon sheriff investigates case of 'stolen' log cabin

By Shelby Sebens

PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Sheriff’s deputies in Oregon are investigating the peculiar case of a log cabin that was reported stolen only to be found two days later less than a mile from where it was taken, authorities said Friday.

The mystery began earlier this week when a man identifying himself as a co-owner of the vacant cabin, which occupied about 1,400 square feet on a remote lot some 270 miles south of Portland, had been snatched from its foundation.

"I’ve seen a lot of scams but I’ve never seen an entire house gone missing," Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah, who has spent 40 years in law enforcement. “I was sitting in a meeting and one of the deputies from the front desk came in and said, 'Frank, you’re not going to believe this. Someone just stole a house.'"

After some investigation, detectives found the house on Thursday about a half mile away in the Sprague River community northeast of Klamath Falls. It had been jacked up and hauled off by a hired logging company, Detective Eric Shepherd said.

It turned out, Shepherd said, that one of three individuals claiming to hold title to the cabin had sold the property to a fourth person without informing the putative co-owner who had discovered it missing.

The man who purchased the home for $3,000 had no idea that it had been reported stolen, the sheriff said.

Skrah said police were still trying to determine if the situation is a criminal case or a civil matter. None of the property owners, nor the buyer, could be reached for comment.

“To quote the guy who bought the place, ‘It was a hell of a steal.’ Yeah, it was a hell of a steal," Skrah said.

(Reporting by Shelby Sebens in Portland; Editing by Steve Gorman and Bill Trott)

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