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Portland Police deploy canine, air support units to chase down bike thief

Posted by on September 17th, 2018 at 11:31 am

Good girl Utzi!
(Photo: PPB)

On Friday evening we learned what great lengths the Portland Police Bureau will go to retrieve a bicycle.

It happened around 6:00 pm in northeast Portland when someone reported that a child’s bike had been taken from the front lawn of a house on the 5500 hundred block of NE Simpson Street.

The suspect was seen walking away with the bike and didn’t stop after several neighborhood kids asked him to return it. Here’s how the ensuing chase unfolded, according to the PPB statement:

Arriving officers obtained the subject description and learned from the family members that the subject might have boarded a TriMet bus with the stolen bike.

Officers were able to locate the correct bus. Officers observed a child’s blue bike matching the victim description, mounted on the bus bike rack. Officers flagged down the bus driver, who confirmed that a male subject matching the suspect’s description was inside the bus.

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As officers attempted to contact the subject, he disobeyed their verbal commands and ran off the bus into the neighborhood. Officers started a foot pursuit of the subject, and then set up a perimeter as they lost a visual of the subject.

With the help of the Portland Police Canine Member “Utzi” and Air Support One, officers were able to locate the subject a few blocks away hiding in thick bushes. They placed the subject into custody without incident.

The suspect was arrested and put in jail and is now facing charges of Theft in the Second Degree and Attempt to Elude on Foot.

As for the bike? It was returned to the girl’s family.

While any dramatic stolen bike rescue is worth sharing here on BikePortland, we still can’t get over the fact that the PPB deployed their Air Support Unit! To track down a bike thief!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

  • CaptainKarma September 17, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Bike thieves are the unholy descendents of Satan. But to steal a bike from a kid, reprehensible.

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  • rick September 17, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Thank you Portland Police !

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    • Toby Keith September 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      Much like the arrest of Leroy Parsons, this makes me happy.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Jason H September 17, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    To be fair, they deployed the air unit AFTER recovering the bike, so more about the disobeying Police orders and eluding than the bike theft itself. Cops “strongly dislike” non-compliance, to put it mildly.

    But glad they went the extra mile literally to return a child’s cherished bike (saw the TV news story and she was very happy to get it back).

    Recommended Thumb up 15

    • Jordan September 17, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Technically it was an extra aeronautical mile…

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • 9watts September 17, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      Fortunately they didn’t kill the suspect. Happens a lot these days. Escalation.

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  • Sam Peterson September 17, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    yay, rah, sis, koom, bah! Boy, that was a great use of my tax dollars.

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    • dwk September 17, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      So if you don’t want tax dollars used to catch thieves who steal from children, what exactly do you think is a good use of tax dollars?

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      • 9watts September 17, 2018 at 1:18 pm

        you didn’t ask me, but my answer would be
        – reduce inequality
        – stave off climate change
        – withdraw subsidies for oil, gas, automobility, war

        Recommended Thumb up 9

        • dwk September 17, 2018 at 1:26 pm

          Oh, OK.
          Our police force should ignore theft… Got it.

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          • 9watts September 17, 2018 at 1:42 pm

            you didn’t ask what our police should do; you asked how we should spend our tax dollars. I answered the question you asked, not the one you switched to.

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            • dwk September 17, 2018 at 1:51 pm

              I certainly did ask whether tax dollars should be used to catch thieves and your reply did not mention it so I assumed you did not think that local policing to catch criminals who steal (mostly from poor people) was a good use of tax dollars.

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      • Sam Peterson September 17, 2018 at 2:45 pm

        I am sorry the kid had her bike stolen. I am glad she got her bike back. I am relieved that the suspect get his day in court. I am also upset that it took a K9 and a helicopter to do it. I also do not find giddy joy in the criminals being caught and fantasize about punishing them. I surely do not wish undue violence toward the suspect by police, human or dog. All those things can be true.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy September 17, 2018 at 2:54 pm

          Personally, I rather enjoy it when criminals get caught.

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          • Sam Peterson September 17, 2018 at 4:33 pm

            What should happen after the suspected criminals are caught? What should happen when criminals are convicted? What should happen to that criminal after he has paid his debt to society? Would you show up to a public flogging? Would you find that enjoyable?

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    • 9watts September 17, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      Also a fluke, I’d venture.
      For every one hundred (one thousand?) reported stolen bikes in this town we get one of these action sequences?

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  • Middle of the Road Guy September 17, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    I’m kind of sorry the thief did not resist arrest.

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    • PomPilot September 17, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      So was K-9 Utzi. 😉

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    • 9watts September 17, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Did you enjoy the footage from Abu Graib?
      You can always watch attack dogs being sicced on water protectors in N Dakota on youtube.

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      • Bike Guy September 17, 2018 at 4:01 pm

        you didn’t ask me, but my answer would be – reduce inequality – stave off climate change – withdraw subsidies for oil, gas, automobility, warRecommended 3

        Yep, these are morally equivalent incidents. (eyeroll)

        Your false equivalency dilutes your own arguments. When everything is a humanitarian crisis and incursion into civil liberties, then nothing is. And no one will listen to you when the autocracy truly takes over.

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  • soren September 17, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    hundreds of thousands of dollars frittered away on a petty theft when portland residents are freezing to death due to being evicted from their housing.

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  • pdx2wheeler September 17, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    My concern is for the (potential) child on the other end of this incident. I’d like to see a follow-up to ensure there isn’t a neglected child at the suspect’s home who might need help…, or at a minimum, needs a new bike and safety gear!

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    • B. Carfree September 17, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      I’m impressed. I hadn’t thought of that. My mental image was just someone taking a bike to trade for drugs. It didn’t occur to me that this might be a desperate act to secure the trappings of a more normal childhood for his child.

      I wonder if we will be treated to a bit of follow-up that might reveal why this individual stole a child’s bike.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 17, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I’m closing comments on this post until I have more time to moderate them. I’ll consider reopening them Tuesday morning. I hope you understand.

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