Updated: Woman pushed from her bike, robbed in Northeast Portland

Posted by on December 11th, 2007 at 11:56 am

[Updated: 12/11, 11:01pm (see below)]

Location of assault
Google Map link

At 7:45 yesterday morning (12/10) a woman on a bicycle was thrown to the ground by a man in a car as she pedaled to work on NE Emerson Street and 35th Place (near New Seasons Market).

The man then stopped his car, robbed her, and threatened to kill her before speeding away.

The victim, 27 year-old Katie Hughes, told me she was riding north on 37th and turned left onto Emerson when she heard a car honk. “At first,” she recalls, “I thought the car was just mad because I didn’t signal.” Here’s how she describes what happened next:

“The car turned left and followed me as I rode in the parking lane of Emerson [it’s a residential street with no bike lane]. Then I thought he just wanted park and figured, oh no, now I’m blocking him again. Then I went to the middle of the road to avoid a parked car and thought the driver would just pull in behind it and park…but then I heard the car behind me again.

Then, it happened really fast, he pulled up on my right side and reached out, grabbed me with his left hand, pulled me forward and threw me onto the ground. I landed on my face and got lots of cuts and bruises, it was a pretty intense situation. I was totally shaken up.”

After throwing her to the ground, Katie says the man then parked his car, walked over to her and began helping her up.

“He was saying, ‘you’re OK, you’re OK’, as if he were trying to clear his conscience, so then I thought he just wanted to scare me but didn’t mean to make me crash so bad.”

Then things got weird. Katie says he “started fiddling” with her messenger bag [she thought he was just helping her adjust it so she could be on her way] and then he took the bag off her body. “He stole my bag and then said he’d kill me,” she recalls.

Luckily, before he sped away and even though Katie was very confused by what happened, she kept her composure, called police immediately, and gave them the driver’s license plate number (she also positively identified the assailant in a police photo lineup at the station).

“The police were really awesome…they validated me and were very kind.”

Katie was surprised to hear that they think the same guy has done this at least twice before.

It’s unclear so far whether or not this man specifically targets people on bicycles, or whether he is just an opportunistic, aggressive, car-driving purse-snatcher. Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Brian Schmautz says he can’t release further information until authorized by detectives.

[The car is reported to be a small, early-mid ’90s, silver-blue sedan. Perhaps a Toyota Tercel but that’s not confirmed.]


UPDATE: The Oregonian reports that they have arrested the man who assaulted Katie Hughes. They say 25 year-old Rodney Arreguin was “booked into the Multnomah County Justice Center on five counts of Robbery 3, failing to register as a sex offender and parole violation.” 

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

74
Leave a Reply

avatar
72 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
53 Comment authors
MIddle of the Road GuyEnergyByEarth.com » Does a Woman on a Bike Need a Weapon?CarlwsbobAntonio Gramsci Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Maribeth
Guest
Maribeth

I feel we need a bike safety class – put on by the police department – do we have any, or a brochure? anyhow, from this horrible situation, we can add a teaching point about riding on 1-way streets, and about staying to the right of traveling cars..??? Thanks

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Maribeth, this isn\’t about how to ride on the street. This is about getting assaulted.

\”add a teaching point about riding on 1-way streets, and about staying to the right of traveling cars\”

I\’m unsure as to what you think this has to do with what happened? This guy wanted to rob her and short of predicting that this was what this guy had in mind, there was little she could have done.

This really qualifies more for a self-defense class than it does a bike safety class.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

Yes, I agree with tonyt. Maribeth, sorry if my story was unclear, but Katie was doing absolutely nothing wrong here.

And it seems that this is not a case of random road rage, but a repeat offender who uses a car to rob people and assault them.

I\’m still waiting to find out if he specifically targets people on bicycles or not.

Robert Dobbs
Guest
Robert Dobbs

@Maribeth

I see where you\’re going with this!

Hmmm… Obviously this is a result of Womens Lib gone too far. If she had been at home cooking or cleaning for a male family member, she never would have gotten herself assaulted! Perhaps we could ask the police to instruct all women on their proper place in society as second-class citizens to avoid future situations like this!

MIddle of the Road Guy
Guest
MIddle of the Road Guy

I think you are going on an acute tangent.

Mmann
Guest
Mmann

In Maribeth\’s defense – and I have no idea if this is what she intended to say – if you stay to the right of a car on a one way street you are maybe less likely to get in a confrontation with a driver and less likely to be grabbed. Though I also agree that in the case of a criminal intent on assaulting and robbing someone, there\’s only so much you can do, and who really could anticipate something like this? Very sorry for Katie.

SAR
Guest
SAR

Is there a description of the car or the driver, so we can be on the lookout?

(And I think I understand what Maribeth is saying—from the description of the incident, it may have been more difficult for the driver to push the woman over, had she been to the right of the car. Making that observation doesn\’t blame Katie or excuse the driver.)

Qwendolyn
Guest
Qwendolyn

Yikes!

What an effed-up encounter.

Josh
Guest
Josh

Please tell me she got his license plate number. I know it can be tough in a situation like that but it can mean the difference between this guy getting caught or not.

girl on a bike
Guest
girl on a bike

Ugh. This is really creepy. It reminds me of a spat of horrible assaults that happened in my hometown, in which a man would drive behind female joggers and hit them intentionally with his car. Then he would stop to \”help\”, put them into his car, then drive into a secluded area and rape them. Most of the women had pretty bad injuries from being hit (broken arms, broken clavicles, etc.), so they couldn\’t fight back very much. Not to make this already rough situation worse, but you never know what someone is capable of … especially someone who moments ago was reaching out of a car and pushing at you. I would scream at the top of my voice if someone who had just acted like that and put their hands on me suddenly tried to stop and \”help.\” Then again I apparently come from \”hit and rape\” land, so I\’m a little leery of anything remotely resembling that situation. Be careful out there. I sure hope Katie is okay.

Phil Hanson (aka Pedalphile)
Guest

Did Katie keep her composure enough to get the guy\’s license plate number? A description of the car? A description of the guy?

It really doesn\’t matter; sooner or later that low-life moron will try to rob someone who\’s packing heat, and that person will write the final chapter in the low-life moron\’s sad and sorry life. It can\’t happen too soon.

Bicycledave
Guest

I wish there were more we could do about this as a community. If we had a description we could all keep a lookout for him.

It would be nice if we could work together and make it much more difficult for someone to get away with something like this.

Scott
Guest
Scott

\”Robert Dobbs\” what are you even talking about?

Qwendolyn
Guest
Qwendolyn

Am I just imagining things, or did this story originally have more information?

I assume that the extra info was taken down at the request of the police? I can\’t see how taking down will help catch the guy, but I sure hope that they catch him.

What a creep.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

I thought so too Qwendolyn. **deleted by editor**

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Ooops. Perhaps I shouldn\’t have posted that. Jonathan? A little help?

Klixi
Guest
Klixi

Anytime I hear a car behind me honking or acting very suspiciously I stop, put my left foot down, turn back and look at the driver and give a \”MOVE ON\” look.

I also highly encourage female cyclists to carry pepper spray. It shouldn\’t be necessary, but with wackos like this randomly robbing cyclists it is definitely the reasonable thing to do.

The only problem is most women usually keep their pepper spray in the bottom of their purse and out of quick reach.

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

whoa there, Robert D….
overreact much?

a.O
Guest
a.O

This is terrible. One of the most important things to realize from this incident is that, whenever you are riding your bike, you should be thinking about reading license plate numbers. Practice it while you ride. That\’s the best way to ensure people who do this sort of thing are caught.

I\’m not asserting Katie was in a position to get the license number. It sounds like she wasn\’t. I\’m just saying that license plate numbers are keys to catching people in vehicles who assault cyclists.

rev
Guest

That driver is one crafty piece of slime. Im sorry this happened to you Katie, I hope you have a speedy recovery.

When I\’m feeling defensive I sometimes try to remember license plate numbers of passing cars, just to get me into the habit of looking at the license plate.

Of course if a driver wants to hit a biker there is very little stopping them from doing so. It makes my blood boil.

rev
Guest

beat to the punch… what #15 said

Phillip
Guest
Phillip

WOW
I am amazed that people could think this
has anything to do with how someone rides, or on what side of the street. I am a man and this type of attact worries me, it is a sneak up from behind and attack there is no defence on this, same as a sucker punch, but a 100 times more dangerous. I don\’t know about you this will take some thought of how to combat this.

dennis
Guest
dennis

Can anyone provide a description of the attacker? Or his vehicle?

Those of us that are on the road can find him.

Dan (teknotus)
Guest
Dan (teknotus)

Maybe we could use more of a buddy system when riding. It would take a bit more effort, but it would also put more fun in the commute.

Fritz
Guest
Fritz

Descriptions! descriptions! descriptions!….once again, no freaking substantive information from the Portland Police-WTF?

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

The vehicle was described as a silver-bluish, small sedan, possibly a mid \’90s Toyota Tercel.

tonyt and others.. I did have some more detailed information in the initial post that has been deleted out of respect for the victim and ongoing investigation. Please understand the sensitivity of this information.

Also, I fully expect that the PPB has this guy in their sights and will apprehend him soon. Please stay tuned for info. Thanks.

Also, please realize that because this is a criminal investigation, the details of what happened are kept much more secretive than in a regular traffic collision. To my knowledge, the Police Bureau has been awesome in this case and they have absolutely not told me to delete information. I deleted information on my own volition and by request of the victim.

Thanks.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Yeah, Katie a very unfortunate way to enter a cold Monday morning. I biked by while you were speaking with the police and wish I would have been 20 minutes earlier to maybe \’break up the incident\’…. keep riding.

ryanknapper
Guest
ryanknapper

Incidents like this always remind me of that old, but wise saying: Stab him and stab him hard.

I\’d really love to read about the guy next trying this on a ninja-girl. Who sets fire to his car.

Fritz
Guest
Fritz

It\’s odd that at least an incomplete description of the assailant in the Hwy 26 shooting (last night) was on the TV news when we woke up this AM. I\’m not certain what would be lost or comprimised by providing the description of the SOB (even an initial one) particularly considering that it appears that he\’s not in custody. What an jerk.

Moo
Guest
Moo

Can\’t imagine nobody else saw or heard anything at that hour in that neighborhod. Dude was probably messed up from an all nighter with his bag smokin\’ buddies. I\’ll bet this isn\’t a first for this guy- sounds like a technique he\’s used before.

McAngryPants
Guest
McAngryPants

people suck.

I gots the dirt on who TonyT is IRL! -_-

true
Guest
true

This makes me sick. I hope the hinted possibility of the police being on his trail is true, I would like to read \’Creep Captured\’ very soon.

I hope you\’re ok Katie and that this doesn\’t happen again.

Be careful out there everyone, and practice memorizing plates. I keep a pen in my pocket at all times. It\’s supposed to be mightier than…

McAngryPants
Guest
McAngryPants

oh and I just thought you were happy to see me!

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

I don\’t know about the whole pepper spray thing. If someone is attacking, are you going to be careful enough to position yourself with the wind at your back so when you spray it, you don\’t end up with it in your face?

shrimp
Guest
shrimp

Jeff, you sounds like a real tough guy. I can picture you storming up to that jerk like George McFly. Yeah, you\’d be all like: \”Get your damn hands off her!\”. Wish I could have seen that! Anyway, so how much can you bench?

MIddle of the Road Guy
Guest
MIddle of the Road Guy

Shrimp,

believe it or not there are still gentlemen out there. I suggest you invest in a Y chromosome.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

It\’s very fortunate that this incident wasn\’t worse, as it seems it easily could have been. Hope she doesn\’t have anything broken. The psychological trauma alone will be rough enough to deal with.

This guy obviously picks his victims carefully. Wonder why she was one. Just because she\’s a girl? Probably not. Some girls/women would have cleaned up on him, and he\’s probably figured that out. Maybe she\’s of smaller build or not otherwise intimidating.

The thing with him grabbing her with his arm while he\’s in the car and driving is really interesting. He had to be very close to do that, and quick or take her by surprise, given that the middle of the street was hers to use for flight. Twice before. Dude practices, probably thinks it\’s funny to do this.

He rips her off one block from Killingsworth to the right and 3 blocks straight ahead to 33rd. That seems brazen on one hand, but then it was probably his quick get-away. Wonder what he scored out her bag. A laptop perhaps…big money, easily exchangeable for cash, lots of people have them in those bags.

If he does get caught, he deserves to get caught good.

Robert Dobbs
Guest
Robert Dobbs

Um… To those who didn\’t get my comment — it was satire, directed at \”Maribeth\” @1. She appeared to be blaming the victim with her suggestion for police to educate cyclists to keep to the right (a common car-head misconception) in response to Katie getting assaulted.

I will say to those of you in full freak-out mode over this: if you fear for your physical safety, you have the right in Oregon to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon and use it. Pepper spray is only effective as a taco seasoning.

\”God made Man, but Sam Colt made them equal\”

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

\”America\’s Friendliest Bike City\”

I heard that another person was attacked this morning, same situation, not long after the first attack. Now not only are cyclists the inadvertant target of careless motorists, we have to watch out for people in cars assualting us and stealing our stuff as we ride down the street. Good thing my lock and chain is easily accessible.

Julie P.
Guest
Julie P.

This is slightly scary and at the same time it\’s good to be aware that these things can happen. I think given the situation anyone would have been shocked and who knows if your fighting abilities would have kicked in. I can\’t speak for other people\’s wreck recovery, but it takes me a few seconds to process what happened and what\’s going on. At this point I\’m sure he\’s already taking off with her bag.

Katie: I hope this experience isn\’t detrimental to your health or your biking. Best of luck!

no name
Guest
no name

I ride the streets @ night, do to working an off shift, and have been for many years, I carry pepper spray;and have it out in my hand when something feels not right. I all so carry a stun gun, and know where all my fellow coworker\’s live that are on my way home.
While ridding; I\’m all ways on guard to, (the what if). I play a mind game with car colors and the plate numbers.

green hornette
Guest
green hornette

This reminds me of a bizarre encounter I had a month ago while riding. It was around 10 pm and I was traveling north and took a right turn heading east. A van suddenly appeared behind me and also took a right turn, heading in the same direction as me. We both came to the first stop sign, both of us stopped, and the driver revved their engine kind of aggressively and continued forward. The driver arrived at the next stop sign ahead of me and waited until I pulled up next to them. Made me extremely nervous so I looked both ways before crossing the street and raced through the stop sign. The van also continued forward but drove very slow behind me, following me. We came to a red stop light which I ran — traffic was clear — because I had no intention of standing less than a foot away from a van that could have several people ready to hop out and mug me. Then since I had a head start, I turned off my lights and raced down some side streets and lost them. Maybe it was nothing but better safe than sorry.

Joyce
Guest
Joyce

The guy has been caught according to O:
Man arrested in alleged Portland bike mugging

Donna
Guest
Donna

I\’m not recommending pepper spray per se, nor do I carry it, but if people are truly interested in having it on their bikes, bike mounts for canisters are available, as is a hand mount that is marketed to joggers for easy access. It would not interfere with holding the handlebars, shifting, or braking. There are also foam-based sprays these days, which are supposed to prevent the spray from affecting the sprayer. Just Google \”pepper spray bicycle mount\” and you should find these items for sale.

Again, I\’m not promoting this, but I also believe people should decide for themselves (since it\’s legal).

beth h
Guest

aO wrote:

>>One of the most important things to realize from this incident is that, whenever you are riding your bike, you should be thinking about reading license plate numbers. Practice it while you ride.

*****
Great. Now I can\’t just worry about riding safely and making sure I\’m paying attention to where I\’m going. Now I should also see every car as carrying a potential assailant and start reading and memorizing license numbers wherever I ride?

THAT\’s effed up.

Val
Guest
Val

This reminds me of something that happened to a freind of mine. He was out on a training ride, going up a mountain pass, on a road with plenty of shoulder, which he was using. A car full of rowdy guys approached from behind, slowed, and swerved onto the shoulder. The passenger leaned out of the window and reached out to push the rider. As soon as my buddy felt the hand on his shoulder, he slammed on both brakes. He stopped, the car didn\’t.
The passenger\’s arm was broken on the doorjamb. The car stopped, and the rowdies insisted on calling the police. When they arrived and heard the story, they informed the passenger that HE was the one guilty of assault and battery, and that my freind could press charges, which he declined to do, as he had a ride to finish. I don\’t know if it would have worked in this case, but it seems that this would one more effective defensive move to remember; if someone in a car grabs you while you\’re moving, stop hard. They\’ll regret it.

katie
Guest
katie

Hi everyone. Thanks for the outpouring of sympathy. As for the deleted information, I asked jonathan to remove it. They were on this guy, and i didn\’t want it known what information the police had, for my sake, and for your sake. We wanted him caught, right?
As for what i could have done differently: The guy snuck up on me. I was to the right of the road, just having gone around a parked car. All of the sudden, he was just there, oddly on my wrong side.
I just don\’t know if you can prepare for this stuff. As a woman, I always mentally prepare, and I always think,\”I\’ll kick him where it counts. I\’ll give him a run for his money.\” Things just turn out differently than you picture.
To all the folks who rode, biked or walked by, asked if i was okay, and to the woman who hugged me, thank you. What I have learned from this is not that the world is scarier than I thought, but that there are so many people out there who are kind and have good, helping hearts. As a side note, the police were amazing, helpful and sincere.
Let\’s not sensationalize this, or let it scare us. Be aware, be safe, be supportive. Have a good ride.

Bridget
Guest
Bridget

This is Katie\’s sister. I want you to know that she did try to chase him after he took her bag. It was only after he said he would kill her that she thought \”not worth it.\” She called 911 before he even got to back in his car. She gave them the plate number and the location, what he was driving and what he was wearing. She wouldn\’t even tell the 911 dispatch if she was ok before she made sure he knew all the information. She was and always does follow riding rules. Lastly I assure you that Katie is anything but a victim. She would have \”set fire to his car, or shot him had she had a firearm\” however she told me that what she did was the best thing she could have done- Gave the police the information they need to put his ass behind bars. Now the city is a little safer.

Thanks Citizen Katie!
Love you!
-B

a.O
Guest
a.O

Great. Now I can\’t just worry about riding safely and making sure I\’m paying attention to where I\’m going. Now I should also see every car as carrying a potential assailant and start reading and memorizing license numbers wherever I ride? THAT\’s effed up.

Welcome to America, beth.

I wasn\’t so much saying that you should see every car as potentially carrying an assailant, though that\’s true. I was saying that cyclists should always be focusing their attention on license plates, because that\’s frequently the only way of catching people who injure cyclists on the roadway.

Katie, glad to hear you\’re OK, that the police did their job, and that you encountered some nice folks.

We are all in this together.

benschon
Guest
benschon

\”What I have learned from this is not that the world is scarier than I thought, but that there are so many people out there who are kind and have good, helping hearts.\”

That post from Katie is a really inspiring message. I wonder how many other people would have the same generosity of spirit after being mugged by some random jerk. Can we give Siobhan Doyle and Katie Hughes awards for most heroic bike commuters of 2007?

Joe
Guest
Joe

Today in wilsonville a car was following me
for a bit then turned around.. I have a u-lock if needed.. to lock my bike up 😉

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Citizen Katie, is right. You did well kid and made a great example for others unfortunate enough to find themselves in a similar situation. Here\’s wishing you a speedy recovery and the ability to dispel for good, any associated traumatic effects related to the incident.

This guy seems like a bomb waiting to go off. Well, now he can have some fun behind bars. Yet, I\’m concerned about whether it will be possible to keep him locked up long enough to prevent him from hurting someone else again. It\’s tragic really; 25 years old and already turned into a scary monster. I wonder if it will ever be possible to keep this from happening to people.