“I think it’s a big win for the community.”
— Officer Dave Sanders, PPB Bike Theft Task Force
A man who has been booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center 80 times over a 20-year career and is considered the kingpin of bike theft in Portland is behind bars.
Leroy Parsons, who once boasted about his bike theft skills in a local television interview, has been given a 25-month prison sentence for violating the terms of his probation.
“I think it’s a big win for the community,” said Portland Police Bureau Bike Theft Task Force Officer Dave Sanders, in a statement published by the District Attorney’s Office today. “For the last 10 years, he’s been one of the pillars in downtown who networks stolen bikes.”
Parsons was at the top of what Sanders says is a “bike trafficking network” where accomplices would steal bikes throughout Portland and then take them to a central hub where Parsons would work in a tent encampment to “chop” the bikes (take them apart to make them impossible to identify) and then resell them.
Sanders said the motivation was often to sell or trade the bikes for drugs. Bicycles are considered valuable “street currency” because they are readily available, easy to steal (when people are careless), and easy to sell.
In December 2015 we reported on a 30-month prison sentence for Parsons — an unprecedented amount of time for the offense of stealing bicycles. At that time a former Multnomah County Senior Deputy DA included a list of special conditions that Parsons would have to abide by for five years after his release.
As per the conditions, Parsons was not allowed to possess a long list of specific items — including bicycles — without advanced written permission from his probation officer.
Last month Sanders and other officers from the PPB Bike Theft Task Force were following up on a bike theft case when they found Parsons sleeping inside a tent at NE 11th and Irving.
“I could see into his tent even without opening it and I could see stacks of electronics, tablets, phones, drug paraphernalia, bike parts, bike tools, all of which are violations of his probation,” Sanders said.
The PPB arrested Parsons on July 28th for being in possession of stolen property and being in violation of his probation. He was ultimately charged with the probation violation and on August 8th, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Eric L. Dahlin sentenced Parsons to 25 months in prison for the violation.
Parsons is far from the only prolific bike thief in Portland, but Sanders says getting him out of the mix could shake things up. And hopefully word travels that our local DA is serious about bike theft.
Nice work Officer Sanders and all the PPB officers and staff that support this work! Your dedication and commitment to the community is very appreciated.
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