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Community hunts for tall bike stolen from story-telling clown

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 28th, 2013 at 11:42 am

This man tried to sell this stolen tall bike to Aaron Brown for $20 last Thursday.

Stealing a bike is bad enough; but stealing an artistic tall bike from a well-known local street performer and personality is a whole nother story.

Last Thursday (October 24th), Portlander Aaron Brown tweeted his interaction with the suspected thief: "sketch dude just tried to sell me this freak bike for $20. When I asked him about it, he freaked + jumped on the bus." Brown snapped a photo of the guy just before he climbed onto the #4 bus headed east on SE Division at 35th. That tweet and the bike in the photo caught the eye of Matthew Rogers, who recognized the bike from a photo I took that was featured here on the front page earlier this month.

In that photo, the same bike that appears in the photo with the alleged thief is being ridden by well-known local entertainer Dingo Dizmal (a.k.a. Dingo the Clown)...

Bikes seen at Alberta Art Hop-17

As it turns out, the bike belongs to Dingo's friend and partner Olive Rootbeer (both of whom appear in the latest Streetfilm video about Portland's 100th bike corral). Dingo and Olive make their living by telling stories to children's groups and going balloons at events like Sunday Parkways (here they are in action in 2011).

Here's a more recent photo of Olive riding the bike (posted to FB by Dingo):

Dingo posted Brown's photo on Facebook Friday and his considerably-sized social network is hard at work trying to track the bike (and its thief) down. One of Dingo's friends says he's even friended Pee Wee Herman in hopes of gaining his stolen bike tracking expertise.

With all seriousness, if you see this bike, buy it for $20 and then please contact us and we'll connect you to Dingo and Olive.

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Comments
  • Justin October 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Sometimes I forget I'm in Portland for a minute, and then I get a nice reminder like this.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • SilkySlim October 28, 2013 at 11:57 am

      I picture a red light flashing on BikeSnobNYC's wall when stories like this hit.

      Recommended Thumb up 10

      • SilkySlim October 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

        And we are live...

        http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-comprehensive-article-about-how-to.html

        And now I'd like to introduce a new feature here on this blog called "Great Warnings of History:"

        April 18th, 1775: Paul Revere rides to Lexington shouting, "The British are coming, the British are coming!"

        December 4th, 1941: A memo from the Office of Naval Intelligence warns, "In anticipation of possible open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii."

        October 24th, 2013: Portlander Aaron Brown tweets, "Sketch dude just tried to sell me this freak bike for $20."

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • BIKELEPTIC October 28, 2013 at 11:58 am

    If you have ever met Olive at a bike event (she makes the most elaborate balloon creations) and her energy lights up the festival, this breaks your heart. When I heard about this last week, it crushed me and I wanted to round up a posse. I always get delusions of grandeur when I hear of my friends' bikes getting stolen and have to reel myself in realizing that for one, I would never be able to realistically recognize their bike without a doubt 100% on the road and say "That's not yours." But this bike. I know this bike. Every grocery trip I have been on, I've had one hand on the seat belt, ready to yell at my boyfriend to holler to pull over and begin iphone filming because I'm about to commit some vigilante justice. (I am not recommending this, nor condoning leaping from a moving vehicle. Delusions of grandeur, people!) I'm just incredibly saddened by a loss to one of our bright, tall fleet of steeds, and am eager to get it back and strap some flares on in celebration.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Todd Boulanger October 28, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Too bad there is not some informal funding pot for reimbursing purchases of likely "stolen" bikes. Just thinking out loud.

    [I know it may help fuel the cycle of some thefts...like buying back your bike from Amsterdam's heroin market back in the day...but sometimes this is the last tool in the tool box before the bike gets chopped or dumped in the river.]

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • mran1984 October 28, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Picture the look on the thief when hundreds of pissed off clowns converge on him.

    Recommended Thumb up 15

    • Patrick October 28, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      I have heard of that sort of action called "Getting Clowned."

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Scott October 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Always buy $20 bikes from sketchy street sales and then find the owner. I never understand why I hear so many, "Oh yeah! This dude totally tried to sell me your bike for $20 just down the street." stories. If you don't get your $20 back in cash, certainly the happy owner will find a way to do something nice for the return of their property.

    It's $20. C'mon.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • tony tapay October 29, 2013 at 10:04 am

      I never understand why people want to give money to people who steal bikes which only encourages them to steal more bikes.

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Scott October 29, 2013 at 11:54 am

        It will give you more satisfaction to give someone their bike back than it would to know that you slightly delayed that person from getting $20.

        They will find a way to get $20.

        It's $20. C'mon.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Scott October 29, 2013 at 11:58 am

        You want to explain to some kid why Olive Rootbeer can't ride her bike over because of the social ramifications of you giving that guy a 20? Unless you are an addiction counselor, or someone else in a position to cure this person of their need to steal a bike to get $20, then just pony up the dough.

        It's really a no brainer people. The high horse does not exist here. Most likely, that dude got his photo taken and went and hucked that bike in the Willamette and snatched another one.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Todd Hudson October 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Who the hell steals a tallbike? I sure can't imagine a tweaker has the ability to ride one...

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • middle of the road guy October 28, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Apparently it takes a clown to ride one.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • BURR October 28, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      Not the first tall bike I know of that's been stolen, off the top of my head I can think of at least 3 or four others, only one of which I know for a fact was recovered.

      Sometimes I think tall bike riders are a bit lax when it comes to locking their bikes, figuring that no one will take it 'cause it's too hard to ride.

      Lock your wheels, people!!!

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Matthew Rogers October 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Just some more info: Olive's temporary case number is: 13-90549. The case officer is Bruder (spelling?).

    I saw the thief (on a blue BMX bike, if that helps) at the 7-Eleven on Powell/82nd after a commenter on the Facebook thread mentioned that location. I called the cops, but he left before they could detain him. Office Leonard responded and recognized the thief from Aaron's photo and says that he hangs around there a lot, he also said "Oh yeah, I'd love to have a reason to throw this guy in jail".

    Recommended Thumb up 9

    • Adam October 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Could you talk to staff at this 7/11 & have them call cops if they see him loitering? Not sure what their willingness/store policy is, but it might be worth a shot :-)

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • CaptainKarma October 28, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Yay, PeeWee for telling the story far too many of us have been in ourselves; missing our "best bike in the whole world!".

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Kirsty October 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I saw this man on sunday morning about quarte to eight in the morning. He was getting off a blue line max train at Hollywood t c and pushing a small bmx or kids' bike. Recognized him from the photo, as he was wearing the same distinctive hoodie. Unfortunately I saw him as I was on the train shen it was pulling away. But people in that area keep a lookout too.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • dan October 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    TIL: a tall bike fits on a Tri-Met bus rack. Who knew? On the other end of the size spectrum, they do not fit a Dirt Surfer very securely.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Brian October 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    This guys image is burned into my brain. Olive Rootbeer and Dingo have entertained my son on many occasions. They are awesome. I live near the Hollywood Max stop and will be riding around more frequently in the area in hopes of finding him.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • jeff October 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I hope Fred Armisen reads this site..

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Gabriel Nagmay October 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I've met Olive and Dingo a few times and think the most of them. I also ride a tall bike and would be devastated if someone stole it ...

    That said, I don't understand how we can encourage people to knowingly buy stolen goods. Wouldn't that just encourage the thief to take more bikes?

    Maybe, I'm just being dense. I really do hope they get it back.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      That's a good point Gabriel.. And it's a tough question. I wonder what other people think about this? On one hand, if you know a bike is stolen and it's distinctive looking, you can make someone very happy by recovering it for them... But as you say, it might also encourage folks to steal bikes if they know they can quickly sell them.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Brian October 29, 2013 at 7:41 am

      Thieves are going to be thieves. There will always be demand, it may just require the suppliers to be more clever to sell their goods so as to appear legit. Or, they will just move onto another good. Make the owner happy and get the bike back. If you have ever had a bike stolen, you would probably agree.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Scott October 29, 2013 at 8:57 am

      It will give you more satisfaction to give someone there bike back than it would to know that you slightly delayed that person from getting $20.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • lyle w. October 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I totally recognize this guy. I've had a few really bad experiences with him, have been harassed/threatened (because I didn't have a cigarette both times).
    He strikes me as being incredibly mentally ill, so I'll refrain from coming to the conclusion I usually come to about the human value of most bike thieves.

    But, that said, do not approach this guy if you see him... he is belligerent and crazy as you can get, and built like a middle linebacker. Call 911 instead.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Adam October 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      The problem with that is... the person that originally took the photo called 911 on him too, and the cops didn't show up for like, an hour. Imagine if they'd shown up immediately. He would have been caught, stat.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Charity October 29, 2013 at 2:01 am

    This guy Hangs out on 82nd and Powell a lot. Right next to the 7-11. He always rides the bus, the 72, 4, 9. He Is total scum. I have also seen him around a hotel on about 116 th and Sandy. I drive for trimet, if I see him I will call the cops.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

    • lyle w. October 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      My first experience with this guy was on the 75. He was somehow managing to sexually harass like four women simultaneously. And then got told off, and ended up screaming so loud I thought my eardrums were gonna break. Threatened everybody within ten feet of him, and then got off the bus after prying open the back door, before walking off down the street screaming some more.

      Citizen of the Year!

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Joe October 29, 2013 at 8:43 am

    we need ICP to help find this d-head :) Portland is small it will be found
    if we help eachother look for it.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Karl October 29, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I think I saw this guy Sunday at SE 16th & Belmont riding a bmx bike and pushing another. They were headed south along 16th. He and his friend looked sketchy, but at the time I had no reason to stop them.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Colton October 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I say take the bike for a test-ride to see if it's worth $20
    :-)

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • capthaddock October 30, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I just noticed this ad on CL. there is no image, but could it be the one?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

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