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Police arrest hacksaw-wielding bike thief

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 28th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Bart Simon Paul
(Photo: Mult. Co. Sheriff)

The Portland Police have arrested a man who turned out to be the same person who was caught on camera last week attempting to saw through a u-lock in broad daylight.

38-year old Bart Simon Paul (booking photo at right) was arrested Sunday (4/24) just before midnight on an unrelated charge. He was charged with Possession of Methamphetamines (Class C Felony) and had an outstanding warrant for Theft in the Third Degree (Class C Misdemeanor). He was released a day later on his own recognizance.

Upon his arrest, officers questioned him about the hacksaw incident. Paul admitted to officers that he is the man in the photo. Paul also told officers that the bike he was trying to steal had already been abandoned and parted out.

The photo of him using a hacksaw was taken by a passerby and sent to the PPB. We obtained the image and were told the man was suspected of stealing the bike. We initially ran the photo unaltered, but then, after considering concerns from readers, decided to blur the man's face to protect his identity.

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  • Nick April 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Sad story all around. Here's hoping the guy can eventually turn his problems around.

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  • John Landolfe April 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    This doesn't sound like he's been charged with a crime for attempted theft of the bike or destruction of property. Whatever his personal issues, consequences still need to be attached to actions. Who cares if a bike was parted out? He was attempting to claim property that wasn't his to claim.

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    • wsbob April 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      Related to the bike he was photographed with, in terms of theft, what would you propose he be charged with? He says the bike had been abandoned and had been parted out. Even a couple readers to the bikeportland stories on this guy, just by looking at the photo, got the impression the bike had been abandoned, and commented accordingly.

      I'm kind of vaguely recalling about theft charges, that they're based on value of the items stolen. Were the police able to recover any of the bike that he claimed he stole, so that they might determine what exactly he stole, what it's value was, and what the charge should be?

      I've seen bikes locked up in various places downtown and not attended to for days. In other words, no owner comes to pick the bike up at the end of the day, and on and on. Regular people, not necessarily thieves, figure out the bike is abandoned, and it gradually becomes picked away, piece by piece, also not necessarily by thieves.

      This kind of negligence would seem to kind of invite bike theft. To discourage bike theft by this type of example, maybe the public should be investing more effort into limiting the amount of time any bike can be left unattended.

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      • S brockway April 29, 2011 at 4:46 am

        wsbob,
        How do you figure not picking a Locked bike up by days end is negligent ? Does that mean when I see a car with the parking meter expired I can start parting it out?
        I can think of many reasons why a person might not be back the same day for there bike.So it seems to me if there is a lock on it and its not yours,leave it alone!

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        • wsbob April 29, 2011 at 11:05 am

          That's perfectly sound reasoning for persons of solid, upstanding morals and ethics. Within humanity though, are individuals whose morals and ethics are something less than solid and upstanding. If they want the bike or parts off of it, they'll have no qualms about taking it or them. A bike left for an extended period time is just a better opportunity for these people.

          No, it doesn't mean that you can start parting out cars whose parking meter tabs have expired. C'mon! It does mean though, that for example, a car left unattended on some streets or roads overnight, or for successive days, probably stands a better chance of getting parts of it ripped off, or the entire car stolen, than does one whose owner comes after it promptly.

          Figure out how to anticipate where and whether or not that's going to happen and you'll have come up with the beginning of a solution to one of modern society's annoying problems.

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          • John Landolfe April 29, 2011 at 11:52 am

            I gotta agree with brockway on this one. You can't base the question of theft on the subjective value of the property being stolen or our subjective judgement of the suspect's moral capacity. The very fact that it's being taken means someone has rationalized that it's valuable.

            I worked in mental health for several years and 9 times out 10, if a client committed a crime we made sure he was charged with it. Giving certain people a free pass just separates them further from reality.

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          • wsbob April 29, 2011 at 7:29 pm

            "I gotta agree with brockway on this one. You can't base the question of theft on the subjective value of the property being stolen or our subjective judgement of the suspect's moral capacity. The very fact that it's being taken means someone has rationalized that it's valuable ..." John Landolfe

            I'd guess that bike thieves mostly steal bikes for their market value, not their subjective value.

            S brockway asked a question which I guess I didn't answer directly, though I responded to another point made in is comment. His question:

            " wsbob,
            How do you figure not picking a Locked bike up by days end is negligent ? ..." S brockway

            I figure that if a person leaves a bike locked up for an extended period of time, such as overnight, in an area where they know bike theft is a problem, that would be negligence. If there was such a problem and the bike owner didn't know about it, I suppose that would make leaving the bike there, just an innocent mistake.

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      • El Biciclero April 29, 2011 at 11:10 am

        "...it gradually becomes picked away, piece by piece, also not necessarily by thieves."

        I actually think that's the definition of "thief". Anyone who takes something that doesn't belong to them is necessarily a thief. "Finders Keepers" doesn't cut it as an excuse to steal bike parts that are still attached to the bike!

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        • wsbob April 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm

          I wouldn't particularly disagree that people pulling parts off a bike they notice is being parted out, is thievery. What I'm saying is that people doing this may not be thieves by nature. They see a bike locked up to a pole somewhere downtown, missing a bunch of parts, and rationalize 'That bike's been left to rot. It's going to the scrapper soon. Might as well salvage some of what's left'.

          Some years back, I saw this exact thing gradually happen, downtown just north of SW 9th and Alder. This is across from the Galleria. There was a decent Scattante mountain bike locked up to a pole next to a hip retro fashion store. After 4-5 days of the bike absolutely not being moved at all (I walked by it every day, remembering its exact position.), parts started disappearing off of it.

          I forget the exact sequence. Seems like the wheels were not first. Seat? Brakes? Can't remember. Took about 5-6 days before there wasn't much left but the frame, headset and bottom bracket. I even walked over and brought the bike to the attention of cops in the area. 'We'll check it out ...'. You know how that often goes. The whole experience was interesting, but kind of depressing.

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          • diondatta April 30, 2011 at 1:00 am

            Okay, I feel sorry for the Meth-head; Still, he was stealing someone else's property (and he knew it) that they had secured with a lock. In my mind, if someone locks something up, they obviously want to keep it. Everyone knows what property belongs to them and what does not....even a meth-head. People who steal other people's property, whether or not they think it's been "parted out" will be responsible for whatever physical injury they receive while carrying out there crime.

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          • diondatta April 30, 2011 at 1:01 am

            Correction:
            ....their Crime.

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      • buglas May 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm

        I'm not sure what the charge might be but not long ago I learned what the procedure is for abandoned property in this state. If the value is greater than $100, the finder must notify the local county clerk and then post legal notice in the local newspaper. If no claimant turns up after sixty days, then the finder can keep the property.

        - doug

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  • marshmallow April 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    That's not Bon Jovi! Who'da thought a meth-head was behind this.

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  • mac April 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Hey, don't have a cow, man!

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  • SFOSparky April 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Not only does he have three first names, they're all saints…

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  • JH April 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Sad Story

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  • 9watts April 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    "I've seen bikes locked up in various places downtown and not attended to for days. In other words, no owner comes to pick the bike up at the end of the day, and on and on. Regular people, not necessarily thieves, figure out the bike is abandoned, and it gradually becomes picked away, piece by piece, also not necessarily by thieves.
    This kind of negligence would seem to kind of invite bike theft."

    Yes and no. You are summarizing the not uncontroversial http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory
    You're also neglecting the fact that once a bike has been messed with it may no longer serve its intended purpose--to get the owner approaching the bike back home. If he or she can't ride it home, all sorts of factors come into play that make it less likely to be retrieved in short order. The determination that it has been abandoned may or may not precede its being messed with.

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    • wsbob April 29, 2011 at 10:42 am

      "... You're also neglecting the fact that once a bike has been messed with it may no longer serve its intended purpose--to get the owner approaching the bike back home. ..." 9watts

      Leaving a bike locked up on the street for an extended period of time, or overnight in certain parts of Downtown Portland sounds to me like a very bad idea. Especially if it's been messed with so the owner can't ride it home. I suppose some bike owners may be doing this. Not though, if they hope to have anything left of it to put back in riding order.

      Go down there to Pete's comment at April 29, 2011 at 1:06 am, where he describes a situation he knows of where a bike sat on the street for a very long time, untouched and not tampered with. That it was Hood River rather than a big city, might have something to do with this.

      But he raises a fact of one of the weird things about bike theft. Which is that it does happen that bikes, even locked up on the street in big cities for extended periods of time, may not get stolen or scavenged. It can be a lot of fun theorizing different reasons why this may be. Still seems to me like a bad idea to leave a bike out on the street for a long time, but if that's the best a person can do for their ride, I guess it's what they have to do.

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  • CaptainKarma April 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    I believe there is a 72 hour limit on a bike being left on public property, locked or not. Correct me if I'm wrong. I saw a bike get a ticket once for being "abandoned" (it was a good bike, and was locked, and was there less than a week). As soon as the ticket appeared on it, the wheels went missing, then the seat, etc etc etc. It was a downhill spiral for someone who probably went on a vacation or something. But anyway, picking parts off an abandoned bike is still theft. I wouldn't touch it, no matter how tempting; could be a sting operation (yeah, right).

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    • q`Tzal April 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Maybe bike theft and parting out would go down if someone sold a bicycle lock version of "time release hand cuffs" (google for NSFW) that releases in 72 hours.

      The user would know to pick it back up.
      Thieves would know that all they have to do is wait and they get a fully functional bike.

      It is possible that this incitement might reduce the urge to just run with parts as the whole will get you more dough on CraigsList anyways.

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  • Pete April 29, 2011 at 1:06 am

    I lived in Hood River many years and remember seeing a hardtail MTB, not fancy but not cheap either, sitting in front of my friend's bike shop. It turns out the dude who owned it ran into an old friend and decided to jump in his car and road-trip. It sat forgotten and untouched for over a week until he stumbled into it upon his return. I suspect those days are gone!

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  • david April 29, 2011 at 7:18 am

    All sorts of situations present themselves as to why a bicycle could be left "outside", unattended. Someone PAID for this bicycle, much as they did for their house, car(what a horrible thought), landscaping, etc,.. Should we just be able to "take" whatever we so wish? Just wondering? P.S. I believe in some cultures, when someone has a need and comes upon what the need is, it is theirs hence, finders keepers? Again, just wondering what we think.

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  • Paul Cone April 29, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Jonathan, you forgot to blur the booking photo.

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    • Bjorn April 29, 2011 at 8:37 am

      LOL

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    • wsbob April 29, 2011 at 10:52 am

      No need now, to blur the photo ; the cops have identified and picked him up, and determined that he's guilty. Being guilty, naturally has him surrendering his right to regard for his safety related to release of his booking photo by bikeportland's staff. It's on the cops hands now, not maus's.

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      • marshmallow April 29, 2011 at 11:31 am

        Paul was being ironic. Seriously!
        (not sure if 'ironic' is the right word here, but it sounds right)

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    • RonC April 29, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Paul, when your avatar photo is blurred you look like a really cute dog.

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  • white folks April 29, 2011 at 11:21 am

    the guy is picked up on pcs-1 & theft-3 and released back to the streets rather than into some drug treatment (or supervision of any kind) and y'all are concerned with a bike? lol

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    • Alan 1.0 April 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      methportland.org is that-a-way -->

      (yes, treatment diversion needs to be mandatory)

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    • matt picio May 3, 2011 at 9:36 am

      Jail overcrowding - they let the lesser crime people out first. Also, the main (only?) detox center in Portland is currently under reconstruction.

      In the current economy, there are few resources to get people help - the ones that remain frequently are underfunded, understaffed, and no public attention is brought to their plight. State, local and federal funding for programs is drying up, especially with certain Congressmen cancelling programs right and left.

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  • Rebecca C April 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Hey y'all,

    Please go easy on folks who leave their bikes behind (overnight or longer). I lost my keys a couple of years ago (including my bike lock key) during a hellacious midterm exam period. It took me a couple of days to find the spare key (I bought the lock ~3 years before this incident) and liberate my bike from a rack @ PSU. My seat was stolen, but thanks to my great lock, the rest of the bike remained intact. People make mistakes and sometimes a bike that seems abandoned has a panicked owner somewhere, engaging in some crazy household archaeology to free their loyal ride.

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    • q`Tzal April 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      Wouldn't this a good opportunity to hire your local "Bicycle recycling" expert and pay them $10 for their expertise in removing bike locks?

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      • Rebecca C May 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm

        Actually, no, it would not. I'm not keen to pay people to get more experience in picking locks -- or hacking through them. I still have the lock and use it every day.

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  • J-R April 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I'm disappointed that he's charged it a felony and has a prior warrant and is still let out on his own recognizance.

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    • dmc April 29, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      gotta love over crowding. smart criminals move to cities that don't have the jail space to hold them for more than a couple days.

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      • S brockway April 30, 2011 at 4:58 am

        "Smart Criminals"?????

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  • diondatta May 1, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    I've seen cars sitting in my neighborhood on the street for months with dead tags; can I start stripping parts off of them? It MUST be abandoned.

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  • cycler May 2, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Just because a bike is parked in the same spot every day doesn't mean it is not being ridden. I see a lot of bikes that are parked in the same spot every day because it's the most convenient spot to the owner's destination (work). I had noted a clutch of bikes near a jobsite I go to that seemed to be there "every day" as if they were abandoned, but I went by at a different time, and they were all gone, but there the next time I went by at my more usual time.

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    • wsbob May 2, 2011 at 10:14 am

      Simply that a bike is parked on the street in the same spot every day isn't what I would think may lead people to believe the bike is not being ridden or may have been abandoned.

      A bike parked on the street in the same spot and not being moved at all...for 24hrs or more, would, I think, lead some people to start getting some ideas that the bikes owner either doesn't care enough about the bike to even check on it, or maybe even has abandoned it.

      Even if you goof up and misplace the key for your bike lock, locking your bike locked up at a place like PSU, at least go by every 5-6 hrs and move it around a little, to convey the impression the owner is watching their bike.

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  • jim May 2, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    If his story is true and this bike had been being stripped by others already, then its not much of a bust, or a story. I have seen bikes and cars that once they start getting stripped it is almost like a free license for all the other borderline people that are looking at parts to go ahead and help themselves before it is all gone. In New York it is really crazy, if your car breaks down you better get it moved fast or it will lose stuff fast, even in broad daylight with people around.
    busting him for meth is of no interest to BP.
    Weak story.

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