HORSESHOE BEND, Idaho - A man known has the Wheelbarrow Burglar in Oregon was arrested last week in Boise County after officials say he broke into a local rafting company's business and drove its bus into the woods.
Boise County Detectives say Billy Joe Schrader, 33, of Seaside, Ore., was arrested after breaking into a home in Lowman.
Schrader has been on a relentless string of burglaries, officials say, since he was released from an Oregon State Police prison Oct. 22. Schrader is suspected of breaking into several vacation homes in Oregon and living in them for days at a time. He allegedly took showers, ate food and drank liquor that he found in the homes, Marion County Sheriff's Office spokesman Don Thomson told KATU-TV in Portland.
Police say Schrader eventually made his way into the Treasure Valley, breaking into a home in Caldwell. He hitchhiked his way into Horseshoe Bend where he allegedly broke into Cascade Raft & Kayak through a window the night of Dec. 4.
Boise County Detective John Krempa said Schrader stole camping equipment, food, clothes and spent the night inside the business. After the alleged sleepover, Krempa says, the Oregon man hot-wired Cascade's shuttle bus and drove it into the woods in the Lowman area.
"He took the bus and drove it up an ATV trail and got it stuck," Krempa said. "I'm surprised he made it as far as he did."
When detectives found the bus, Schrader was long gone. Three nights later, however, Boise County officials received a report of a burglary in the Ten Mile Creek area after a neighbor spotted someone inside a house as well as smoke coming from the chimney. The neighbor knew the home owners were not supposed to home at the time, Krempa says.
When detectives arrived they arrested Schrader inside the home. The alleged "Wheelbarrow Burglar" had with him numerous articles of clothing from Cascade Raft & Kayak, officials say.
"We pretty much knew it was the same guy," the detective said.
After several interviews, Boise County officials say Schrader admitted to the burglaries and told them he wanted to go back to jail for 20 more years.
"He liked prison life," Krempa said. "He said he felt like he had a purpose there."
When Schrader left prison in Oregon, he told Boise County detectives that he was unable to find any work and decided to burglarize homes.
"He would stay until he felt like it wasn't safe anymore," Krempa said.
Boise County officials said he's been charged with three counts of burglary and grant theft for breaking into Cascade Raft and allegedly stealing the shuttle bus, which is worth about $5,000.
Police in Idaho and Oregon will be cooperating together as they try to piece together his alleged numerous burglaries in the neighboring states.
Officials called Schrader the "Wheelbarrow Burglar" because they said he used a wheelbarrow to haul away the stolen items.