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Former Nyssa police chief charged with evidence theft in Tillamook

UPDATE Friday 2:30 p.m. – Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s office declines to provide information on convictions being vacated as a result of the evidence issues or explain why Rau has not been booked in Tillamook County.

Raymond K. Rau, 56, former Nyssa police chief who left to become chief in Tillamook, has been charged with theft and official misconduct in connection with evidence missing from that agency’s locker.

The Tillamook County District Attorney Aubrey Olson on Wednesday, Aug. 30, charged Rau with two counts of first-degree official misconduct, one count of second-degree theft, and one count of third-degree theft. The charges are misdemeanors.

Rau is charged with taking a controlled substance from the Tillamook department’s evidence locker on two occasions between Oct. 1, 2021, and April 8, 2023. He is accused of taking at least $100 in cash belonging to someone else between Oct. 1, 2021, and May 8, 2023.

READ THE DOCUMENT: Ray Rau charges

According to the Tillamook Headlight Herald newspaper, Rau has been on leave from the Tillamook job since May. Tillamook city officials didn’t respond immediately Thursday to requests for comment.

The newspaper said Oregon State Police began an investigation last May an audit found evidence had been tampered or removed in more than 80 cases dating back to 2005. Most of the tampering happened since 2021, the newspaper reported.

Olson on Friday, Sept. 1, declined to release the audit because of the criminal investigation.

Olson has turned the case over to Colin Benson, a senior assistant attorney general who will act as a special deputy district attorney.

A spokesman for Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said the agency wouldn’t respond to questions about why Rau had not been booked on the charges or when he would be arraigned. The agency said it couldn’t address such questions because the case was an “open matter.”

Olson and Rosenblum’s office also wouldn’t provide information about criminal cases so far dismissed or under consideration for dismissal as a result of the evidence issues. The Tillamook newspaper reported charges in two cases had been dismissed and convictions in four cases had been vacated.

Rau had been chief in the coastal city since July 2021. He served as chief of the Nyssa Police Department from September 2012 until he resigned in July 2021 to take the coastal job.

He had been elected to the Nyssa School Board in May 2021.

Rau told the Enterprise at the time of his departure that he had been planning to retire before he decided to take over the larger Tillamook agency.

“We want to build what we did in Nyssa in Tillamook,” he said in an interview at the time.

Court records show he is being represented on the charges by Christine Mascal, a Portland attorney.

“We are working with the court to schedule his arraignment which will be set in the coming weeks,” she wrote in response to an email seeking comment and providing questions.

An official with the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, the state agency that certifies police officers, said Thursday it had not been told of the charges. Rau has been certified as a police officer since 1997, working then in Milton-Freewater, according to the agency’s records.

The Ontario Police Department previously had problems with its evidence locker, but Police Chief Michael Iwai said there was no indication that Rau ever had access to that locker.

Reporter Steven Mitchell contributed reporting.

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