Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Bike theft ‘kingpin’ admits crime to local TV reporter

Posted by on March 24th, 2015 at 2:59 pm

KGW, Portland’s NBC affiliate station, is the latest local media outlet to take a closer look at Portland’s bike theft problem.

KGW Reporter Nina Mehlhaf took a deep dive into the issue. Her story, Chop Shops: Suspects stockpile bikes at homeless camps aired on the news last night and is now available on their website.

The focus of the story was a man named Leroy Parsons. Mr. Parsons is well-known among local police officers for his love of bikes. The only problem is he sometimes loves bikes that don’t belong to him. He’s been referred to as “the kingpin” of bike theft in downtown Portland and his mugshot is on a hot-list that PPB officers share with local bike shops. Last night KGW reported that, “Parsons has been convicted of 15 felonies and 22 misdemeanors for methamphetamine, stolen bikes, and burglary, among other charges.”

Mehlhaf and her crew got some up-close and candid footage of Parsons, who didn’t seem to mind the cameras at all. Then, just when I thought he’d claim completele innocence when asked if he was a bike thief, he cracked. Parsons looked right into the camera and offered a pretty stunning contradiction and confession:

parsons

I’m no legal expert, but I can’t help but wonder if such a bold admission of guilt could be used against by the DA the next time the cops catch him with a stolen bike.

Check out the story at KGW.com.

Stay tuned for some big news about our Bike Theft Task Force in the next few days. Oh, and while Mr. Parsons is still free, the PPB recently arrested another one of the most prolific downtown bike thieves. We’ll have that story soon.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

74
Leave a Reply

avatar
21 Comment threads
53 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
32 Comment authors
danBrianMiddle of the Road guyscottAlphaMonk Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Wow…way to go Parsons. You really boost my faith in humanity.

dan
Guest
dan

Nice to see this issue is receiving media attention. Hopefully that helps make it a front burner issue for the police. Jonathan, thanks for leading the charge on covering the Eastside chopshops.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

This is getting major attention now, and things could go downhill really fast. It isn’t hard to imagine a group of vigilantes taking out their frustrations on these chop shops. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Eric H
Guest
Eric H

Death to bike thieves and all that, right?

Tom
Guest
Tom

37 convictions and still on the steet? I would think the judge might give a little longer sentence after the 14th felony. And his parole officer needs to be held accountable for not doing his job.

Bryan Hance (The Bike Index)
Guest

… and if this guy’s same sounds familiar, it is because his pitbull attacked and killed another dog on the MAX back in Oct 2014. http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/10/streetcar_dog_attack_new_detai.html

J_R
Guest
J_R

Wow. It’s been more than an hour and the apologists have yet to comment. Isn’t time we were reminded that these poor homeless people were probably given the bikes or found them for free at bike shop dumpsters…. Yeah, right.

David Lewis
Guest

Our shop (Veteran Bicycle Co.) is one block away from that camp, and we had a bike stolen last month, two weeks after moving in.

spencer
Guest
spencer

I ride by that camp in the video daily, and the pile of wheels, frames, and parts shows a constant influx of parts. I for one have given up on taking a stand, as it got me assaulted. I don’t want to get disemboweled over a bicycle (as happened recently in SE Portland).

Arrests should be made for littering, public urination, camping, and the resultant shakedown would result in the camps members being arrested for “holding”. The current situation is so ridiculous it sounds like Fred and Carrie wrote it for Portlandia.

Billy Cooley
Guest
Billy Cooley

I’ve known Leroy Parsons for well over 10 years….He has been stealing bikes and electronics for as long as I’ve known him…however he is in no way a kingpin…his status as a known sex offender and overall volatile and irreliable nature has always made him nothing more than a two bit thief….If your interested in finding the upper levels of this operation look to SE Portland Pawn shops that are run or associated with Eastern European immigrants.

Mike Quiglery
Guest
Mike Quiglery

Willie Sutton robbed banks because “that’s where the money is.” These guys steal bikes because that’s where the money is. Everybody wants to lock ’em up and throw away the key, but don’t want to pay for it. Hence the revolving door.

dan
Guest
dan

Wow, a buddy on a snowboarding forum just posted this property labeling product – half-millimeter “microdots” that adhere to the property and bear a unique PIN that’s readable by law enforcement: http://www.antitheftdots.com/AboutTheTechnology.aspx. They say you apply dozens of dots to each item you want to protect. Could be a way to label bike components as well as just frames.

scott
Guest
scott

Portland’s approach to this is like handing a Band-Aid to someone who has just been attacked by Jaws.

This task force will get one or two peoples bikes back. There will be applause. Nothing will change.

TJ
Guest
TJ

Is it not that the relatively high availability of bikes to steal partially enables the lifestyle choices of thieves like Parsons? The quickest solution may not be rehabilitation but rather prevention.

Without victim blaming, we know how most bikes are stolen:
-poor locks
-poor visibility
-outside overnight
-car/truck racks

Granted, burglaries / basements or garage invasions are harder to predict and thwart, though measures can be taken to prevent such crimes.

Bike thefts aren’t a new occurrence. Maybe not even a new epidemic… themes of significant film, etc.

jeff
Guest
jeff

homeless camps under the Hawthorne were all gone this morning. Nice to see actually, as that area was becoming unusable by most people, the sidewalks were covered, but wonder where they all went with all of the stolen bike parts.

David Lewis
Guest

I just rode around and it was eerily still. Even the trash was gone!

99th Monkey
Guest
99th Monkey

Here in Kenton we have had a lot of bike-parts theft recently where I live. The lofts where I live have staples in the courtyard for residents to lock up their bikes rather than carry them upstairs. WRONG! With few exceptions they quickly loose wheels, brakes, saddles, etc and then the owners just leave them as warning for others not to lock up there. I recently spoke to one of the homeless in this area when he was sorting through our recycle bins to pull out the bottles and cans for their deposit value. He told me he knows who is doing it and will attempt to locate his current camp. He also advised me that the main “gang” that runs most of the Downtown Portland bike thefts is the “Sik Boys”….

Justin Gast
Guest
Justin Gast

At home, while mowing the lawn, I’ve noticed shady people look into my open garage at mine and my wife’s bikes. All I have to say is “try it.” I’ll club you at the knees, which will then make it very difficult for you to ride a bike.

Nothing gets me more fired up than theft. An item(s) I’ve worked my ass off to obtain and you think you’re going to take it from me because you “need the money.” I don’t think so. GET A JOB!!!!

This is why I lock my bike up with two Kryptonite U-locks and always remove all lights and my computer…because, unfortunately, the less than poor only have two ways of obtaining money, scamming it or stealing it. And when I say “less than poor” I mean drug-using homeless individuals, which in many cases are street kids.

Opus the Poet
Guest

What is fueling this is the willingness of people to buy cheap parts from shady people. Stop buying parts that are too cheap to be legit and the problem will go away in a few months. Look at the difference in buying used parts for cars and the number of stolen vehicles stolen for parts, compared to the number of stolen bikes dismantled for parts.

AlphaMonk
Guest
AlphaMonk

A lot of talk of violence. Classy.

If this news story were about a bum stealing watches and people in the Rolex PDX blog comments went ape about how thieves need to be beaten or shot, a casual reader might make some judgements about the character of the fancy-watch-wearing community.

AlphaMonk
Guest
AlphaMonk

That’s not endorsement for or approval of meth enthusiasts, sex offenders, or bike thieves.