Man Allegedly Steals Totem Pole, Lies to Police, and Then Escapes Criminal Charge But Agreeing To Give Donation to Seattle

I am not sure what is more curious: the alleged crime of Charles Edward Jenks or the way he allegedly avoided a criminal charge. Police say that Jenks really really wanted a totem pole for his home so he stole an 18-foot totem pole (not the one shown) from the city. He then reportedly avoided a criminal charge by donating $20,000 to the city.

Jenks reportedly thought the totem pole was perfect for the two-story garage stairwell of his lakeside home. Police say that he convinced a crane company to move the totem pole under the guise that he was the city arts commissioner who wanted to restore the pole.

What is astonishing is that, when trying to cart off the pole, the truck got stuck and blocked traffic. The police then came and watched as it was pulled away.

When police investigated, Jenks reportedly lied to them and they did not see any evidence of the pole. However, neighbors said that he had been talking for months about getting a totem pole. After speaking to the towing company, they arrested Jenks and he told them the totem pole was on a boat trailer at a senior center in Keizer, Ore. His brother helped move the totem police but insisted that he did not know what it was. He said that an earlier stroke had destroyed his ability to remember things.

It took eight months, but the pole was finally returned to the park. One would expect a flurry of felonies to follow. Instead, King County prosecutors let bygones by bygones in exchange for a donation of $20,00) for the restoration of the pole and another pole that disappeared.

Given the knowing theft of an art and cultural piece — as well as the prolonged effort of concealment — I am not sure what it takes to be criminally charged in King County.

Source: SeattleTimes

15 thoughts on “Man Allegedly Steals Totem Pole, Lies to Police, and Then Escapes Criminal Charge But Agreeing To Give Donation to Seattle”

  1. QUOTE “I am not sure what it takes to be criminally charged in King County.”

    Gonna take a wild guess and say “Be poor”, cause yeah, there has never been a difference on how the rich are treated…

  2. Didn’t the Catholic Church get into some difficulty for something like this? Selling indulgence’s or something… 🙂

  3. Yes Buddha,

    Maybe they should have moved it to a more permanent location. I think that a question posed was whether he could get a tax donation credit. I believe that I have read that the Sct stated that you cannot make someone pay fees just to get a case dismissed. Maybe that could be his angel…

  4. “That’s a nice artifact you’ve got there. Be a shame if something were to happen to it.”

  5. how much would you like to bet he tries to take the $20,000 off his taxes as a charitable donation.

  6. Yissil,

    I am udder ashamed….oh what was that guy that slept in the Pyramids on his Honeymoon?

  7. AY:

    You’re behind the times. Seattle is run by the mob. Anyone who doesn’t go along with “Big Bill” Gates and his “Operating System” winds up as salmon food.

    And when it comes to culturally signifigant Native American artifacts it’s pay to play baby, pay to play.

  8. Yissel,

    You mean someone can be bribed outside of Chicago? You are kidding me right?

  9. Better to sell totem poles than to fire cops and teachers, I suppose. But it seems to me that if people can get millions for turkey harassment Seattle could have done a lot better for totem pole rustling.

    The guy was politically connected or paid someone off, it’s the only answer. Seattle is a cesspool of crime, corruption, and dot com startups.

  10. Blouise– Great observation! I suspect a “collector” who decided he needed to steal a statue of the Virgin Mary or a Torah for his rec room would do some jail time.

  11. Perhaps there is a certain lack of respect for Native American culture involved? After all … it was only a totem pole …

  12. Well, I’d consider it restitution and see a benefit to the community without the cost of a court battle. The problem is it does sort of set a precedent that is rife for abuse.

  13. I am in need of a Washington Monument….I like the one I saw over near the East Coast….whom do I employ?

    The above was meant only as humor, if we have cyber stalking police. I have no room for something this big….Humor…that’s all it is…

    I wonder if the city reimbursed him for the cost of the towing….

  14. “…I am not sure what it takes to be criminally charged in King County.”

    Didn’t Freud publish the definitive treatise on the subject?

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