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$2500: Thousands of stolen coronavirus respirator masks found in Portland after put for sale on Craigslist

Vladislav V. Drozdek
Pictured, Vladislav V. Drozdek and recovered, N95 respirator masks.
Vladislav V. Drozdek
Pictured, Vladislav V. Drozdek and recovered, N95 respirator masks.

Vladislav Drozdek arrested after Portland, Oregon police link him to thousands of N95 respirator stolen masks which had been put up for sale on Craigslist.

Oregon police have announced arresting a man earlier this month after allegedly stealing thousands of N95 respirator masks from a nonprofit organization and putting them up for sale on Craigslist.

Arrested was Vladislav V. Drozdek, 42 after authorities linked the missing respirator masks amid the coronavirus pandemic upon responding on March 6 to a theft report at The Rebuilding Center in Portland involving 20 to 25 cases of N95 respirator masks.

Each case had about 400 masks inside and the total loss was close to $2,500, according to police. Officials said there was initially no suspect information.

The next day, police said the victim found someone selling what she believed to be the stolen respirator masks on Craigslist.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, surgical N95 respirators are meant for medical professionals in order to protect them from “high velocity splashes, sprays, or splatters of blood or body fluids.”

Sting operation catches bandit:

The victim then set up a meeting in the nearby city of Beaverton and contacted the Beaverton police, who arrived and arrested Drozdek.

‘This was a good example of interagency teamwork and cooperation, along with some helpful detective work by the victim,’ PPB Assistant Chief of Operations Mike Frome said in a statement. ‘This is even more significant during a time when these medical supplies are in such short supply.’

About six cases of masks were recovered, the rest were still missing.

A follow-up investigation by both law enforcement agencies resulted in Portland police recovering at least seven additional boxes on Saturday that were stored inside a home.

An officer recovered the boxes and returned them to the victim, who donated the masks to local hospitals to help them as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Criminal/unethical incidents revolving coronavirus escalate: 

Vladislav Drozdek was booked into the Washington County Jail on a charge of theft in the first degree (by receiving).

According to Portland police, additional arrests and charges are still possible.

Court records show Drozdek being released from custody on March 9 without needing to pay bond. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for April 23.

As the coronavirus pandemic has grown in the US, so have related criminal incidents. In Arizona, a man stole dozens of coronavirus testing kits from a health clinic on Friday while posing as a delivery driver, authorities said.

Another episode involving price gouging, involved Tennessee brothers, Matt and Noah Colvin who purchased 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer in order to sell them on Amazon. They sold 300 bottles for as much as $70 apiece before Amazon shut down their operation and the Tennessee Attorney General opened an investigation.

As of Monday there are 191 cases of coronavirus in Oregon, with a total of 5 deaths in the state. Overall there have been 46,145 recorded infections in the US with 582 deaths as the pandemic continues to cause country wide lockdowns as it continues to claim victims at an exponential rate.