Former city councilman linked to stone quarry theft

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by JANET KIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @JanetKimK5

KING5.com

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 14 at 6:50 PM

TENINO, Wash. -- Stolen tools that brought several Tenino city projects to a standstill are now back in the hands of the rightful owner.

Investigators in Grays Harbor County recovered the equipment belonging to stonecutter Keith Phillips, who had several thousands of dollars worth of tools stolen from his stone quarry in Tenino.

Earlier this month, investigators with the Grays Harbor Sheriff's Department caught a break when they responded to a burglary in progress.

"As we were investigating burglary in the 2nd degree, detectives did a subsequent search warrant of the travel trailer that was located in the building," said Detective Sgt. Brad Johansson. "When we were in there, we saw property that we knew to be stolen."

Johansson said 31-year old Aaron Shumate is now in jail, facing multiple charges. Shumate is no stranger to police or the community. Shumate is a former city councilman for the City of Hoquiam and he's been in and out of jail in recent years.

Investigators said they recovered four out of 26 of Phillips' tools, including a generator, chain hoist, steel fork and saw from Shumate's trailer.

"I don't use the tools every day, but the comfort of knowing they were in my possession is comforting," said Phillips.

While he is several weeks behind on the Tenino City projects, Phillips said they are now back on track. Phillips' work can be seen all over the state, including the Grays Harbor Courthouse, where Shumate was scheduled to appear Monday.

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