A Blaine man was recently located, arrested and charged with theft after he allegedly stole an ATV from a Lynden farm in September and accidentally dropped his cell phone at the scene of the crime.
Trenten Pope, 34, faces charges of first-degree theft and second-degree burglary after he allegedly stole a white Kawasaki ATV and various tools from a 40-acre blueberry farm on West Badger Road in Lynden. The theft was reported on September 11 at about noon by the farm’s owner, who said the ATV had the keys in the ignition. The farmer also reported missing items including an air compressor, pressure washer, impact gun, grinder, drill and saw.
The farmer told Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) deputies that he had discovered a cell phone lying on the ground, approximately two to three feet from a storage trailer where the missing tools had been stored. The phone had not been there when the farmer left the farm the night before, and it didn’t belong to any of his employees.
A WCSO deputy obtained a search warrant for the cell phone, and data extracted from the phone revealed Pope to be the device’s owner. The data included Facebook messages sent from Pope’s Facebook account, incoming text messages addressed to him and outgoing text messages stating “Hello, it’s Trenten” and “Hey, it’s Trenten.”
The phone also contained several images of Pope, as well as a web history with links to online accounts with the username Trenten Pope. “Of significant importance is a text message Trenten received the morning of the theft from a contact named ‘Yh,’” states a WCSO deputy’s report. “The message asks, ‘Did you get the quad?’ There is also a text exchange with the same contact about a saw that was likely stolen.”
The total value of stolen property was $5,425. The ATV was recovered later in the day on September 11, after it was found sitting in a dirt driveway about a mile west of its original location with its key missing. Pope’s contact “Yh” could not be identified.
Pope, described by WCSO as a transient from Blaine with no fixed address, could not be located until the afternoon of November 9, when a 911 caller spotted him in Ferndale and contacted authorities. Pope had other active arrest warrants in addition to the probable cause for first-degree theft. A WCSO deputy found Pope in a house on Trigg Road, arrested him and transported him to Whatcom County Jail, where he remained as of November 21.
Before Pope was booked into jail, the WCSO deputy “asked Trenten why his phone would have been left at the scene of the crime,” said the deputy’s report. “Trenten told me he had lost his phone but the only way it would have ended up at the scene of the crime would be if someone else had put it there. Trenten said his phone must have been left in a friend’s car.”
According to court records, Pope also faces an unrelated charge of possession of a stolen vehicle. The Whatcom County Superior Court case number is 19-1-01369-37.