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Cowlitz Sheriff’s investigators Sunday arrested a Kalama man who is suspected of stealing $20,000 worth of tools from the Nippon-Dynawave plant site in Longview.

Deputy Geary Enbody checked out reports from company supervisors that security cameras caught Ray Peterson accessing a secured office where keys were kept. Peterson had not been given permission to access the office and had not been issued an entry key, the sheriff’s office announced Monday morning.

Enbody learned that several people had seen what they believed to be stolen tools at Peterson’s shop at his home. The property was marked with other people’s names or the names of industrial companies around the area. Some of the serial numbers had been ground off the tools, a sheriff’s press release said.

Sunday, Enbody and several deputies served a search warrant at Peterson’s residence in the 2300 block of Green Mountain Road. They recovered well over $20,000 worth of stolen tools, including welders, welding supplies, pumps, a pressure washer, lights, saws, hand tools, laser level, lithium batteries, and keys to secured areas that Peterson should not have had.

The tools were marked as belonging to J.H. Kelly, Nippon Dynawave, Weyerhaeuser Co., Longview Fibre and United Rentals, according to the press release

Peterson was booked on suspicion of second-degree burglary, first-degree possession of stolen property, third-degree theft and obscuring the identity of a machine.

Check back with later today for an expanded report.

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