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Man arrested after ‘gigantic’ playground slide found on child’s bunk-bed

Det. Julie Lee is shown on a missing playground slide inside a suspect's mobile home in Burbank, Wash., in this image released on March 9, 2021. Pasco police/Facebook

Washington police have arrested a slippery suspect who allegedly stole playground equipment from a city park in December, after a detective stumbled upon a “gigantic” slide attached to a bunk-bed in his mobile home.

The “400-pound playground slide” had been modified and hooked up to the top tier of a bunk-bed inside a child’s bedroom in the mobile home, Pasco police said in a Facebook post.

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Det. Julie Lee was searching the home for stolen catalytic converters when she discovered the ill-gotten equipment, police said. Lee immediately suspected it was a slide that had been reported stolen last December.

A playground set was reported missing from Tierra Vida Park in Pasco, Wash., in December 2020. Pasco Police/Facebook

“When she came face-to-face with a 400-pound playground slide inside a kid’s bedroom in a mobile home in Burbank, she knew what she had,” police wrote in a joke-filled post. “Just like Pepperidge Farms, Detective Julie Lee remembered.”

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Lee had been granted a warrant to search the home while investigating a series of catalytic converter thefts in the area. The car parts have become an increasingly popular target for thieves in the U.S. and Canada in recent months amid a global shortage of the valuable rhodium used to make them.

Read more: Why are thieves across Canada stealing catalytic converters?

“Thieves cut up your car’s exhaust system just so that they can sell your catalytic converter to a scrap metal dealer for the value of the heavy metals inside it,” Pasco police explained in their post.

“The metals are valuable, but the cost to the victim is more, including the purchase of a new converter, the labour to weld the exhaust system back together, and the annoyance of driving around with straight pipes until it gets done.”

Police say the slide likely posed a major challenge to move in the first place.

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“The slide was taken, the top sawed off, it was repainted, and it was mounted on a bunkbed,” police said.

The city’s parks and rec department showed up to recover the slide.

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“Oh, yes, she also found catalytic converters,” police said of Lee. “And other detectives helped.”

Dustin Allen Bushnell, 30, was arrested for possession of stolen property, police said. The charge relates to the missing slide.

Dustin Allen Bushnell is shown in this March 2021 mugshot photo. Pasco Police/Facebook

Authorities say they’re still investigating the catalytic converter thefts, and no charges were immediately laid in connection with that case.

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