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‘Armed and dangerous’ alleged military deserter found on Oregon coast

Cape Perpetua Visitors Center (Rick Obst/Flickr)

A man accused of deserting his position at a Washington military base was arrested Thursday morning at a visitor center on the Oregon coast.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that deputies arrested Christopher Gardner, 32, around 8:30 a.m. Thursday after they responded to a report of a suspicious person at the Cape Perpetua Visitor’s Center.

Earlier in the day, deputies had gotten an alert from the U.S. Army about a military deserter from Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord named Christopher Lee Gardner. The alert said that Gardner was considered armed and dangerous. Based on descriptions of Gardner and his “suspicious activity,” deputies confirmed he was the same suspect the Army was seeking and arrested him without incident. Gardner was medically evaluated and lodged in the Lincoln County Jail on a federal detainer. Oregon State Police found Gardner’s car nearby at Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint. They found a gun inside the car.

Gardner has not been charged with any local crimes. Information about how long Gardner was missing from the military base, his history with the U.S. Army and what he was doing at Cape Perpetua were not immediately available.

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