Bike Theft Archives

Thief picks handcuffs, steals bike owned by Portland Police Bike Theft Task Force leader

Posted on January 17th, 2020 at 8:06 am.

Officer Sanders’ bike. Keep your eyes peeled!

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Video of thieves in ‘secure’ bike room highlights larger problem

Posted on October 24th, 2019 at 3:32 pm.

It’s gut-wrenching to watch. Full video below.

The Ankeny Street Apartments at SE 27th and Ankeny are very welcoming to people who use bicycles. The building’s logo is a person riding one, there’s a brewery across the street with a long row of bike racks, and it’s located on one of the most popular bicycle boulevards in Portland.

Unfortunately the abundance of nice bikes owned by tenants also make it a popular attraction for thieves.

On October 10th Anchor NW Property Group, the company that owns this building and 22 others across Portland, notified police about a theft from their bike room. They then turned over a video of the incident to the Portland Police Bureau.

“This is one of the most coordinated bike storage room jobs I’ve seen in a long time,” said PPB Bike Theft Task Force Officer David Sanders. “If it doesn’t shock people, it should!”
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Bike shop burglar also suspected in fatal hit-and-run

Posted on April 29th, 2019 at 2:58 pm.

PPB officers wrangle Nolan Harris inside Metropolis Cycle Repair early Wednesday morning.
(Photo: Metropolis Cycle Repair)

The suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash that took the life of 85 year-old Ortrud Vatheuer on March 19th is now behind bars. But strangely, it wasn’t the hit-and-run that led police to him.
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Theft from apartment’s bike parking room a tough pill to swallow

Posted on March 28th, 2019 at 12:18 pm.

*Photos of the scene by Patrick Mok

North Portland resident and friend of BikePortland, Patrick Mok, had his bike stolen from his apartment building Monday night. What makes this theft notable is that he had it locked with a high-quality lock and it was inside a designated, fenced-in bike room.

Patrick and his favorite commuter that’s currently in the hands of thieves.

Getting a bike stolen is bad enough. Getting one stolen from a place you expected to be secure is even harder to swallow. I wanted to share Patrick’s experience for two main reasons: To remind people that bike theft remains a major issue in Portland (and a barrier to biking for many), and in hopes that his story will lead building owners to invest more to make bike parking facilities as secure as possible.

Patrick says whoever stole his gray, Specialized AWOL road bike planned ahead and knew what they were doing. The bike room it was parked in is located on the first floor of a relatively new, four-story apartment building on North Interstate Avenue. The bike parking room is in the back of a fenced-off parking garage and it’s enclosed by a chain-link fence of its own. Patrick said his recent theft was not the first one they’ve had.
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“Cut in 2 seconds!” Is the Ottolock really that easy to snip?

Posted on December 12th, 2018 at 11:05 am.

Screen shot of LockPickingLawyer video. Watch it below.

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

Posted 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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Portland’s most prolific bike thief steals again, gets 25 months in prison

Posted on August 16th, 2018 at 8:36 pm.

Bikes found at Parsons’ camp in inner northeast Portland late last month.
(Photos: Multnomah County DA/PPB)

“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.”
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Thieves snatch four bikes from Metropolis Cycle Repair on N Williams

Posted on September 14th, 2017 at 2:03 pm.

Metropolis on N Williams and Page.

Metropolis Cycle Repair owner Nathan Roll says thieves broke into his shop last night and took three mountain bikes — two of which belonged to customers. UPDATE: Roll says he just realized thieves took an additional bike — his own. See description and photo below.

Here’s more from Roll about how it happened along with a description of the bikes.

The thieves broke a pane in a window in the back of the shop and were able to unlatch the window. This situation will be remedied shortly. Interestingly, they were only interested in mountain bikes. They passed over numerous other bikes to select these 3. They also took a small amount of merchandise, including an Ortlieb backpack and a couple of sets of lights.

Here are pics of the 3 bikes.
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Portland Police make arrest via new bait bike program

Posted on July 26th, 2017 at 8:47 am.

A post on the PPB Bike Theft Task Force Twitter account yesterday.

A new program being run by the Portland Police Bureau Bike Theft Task Force is showing early returns.

Yesterday in Old Town a man was arrested after stealing a bicycle that was equipped with a tracking device. The bike is just one in a growing fleet of bait bikes being deployed by the Task Force. It’s all part of the PPB’s ongoing effort to discourage bike theft.

As GPS devices have improved and become more accessible in recent years, the technology is finally becoming more common with law enforcement agencies. As we reported in 2015, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office arrested thieves who nabbed a bait bike from Reed College. And just last week the Washington County Sheriff’s Office was featured in a KGW-TV news story about their bait bike program.

A Washington County Sheriff told KGW, “We hope the word gets out that if you try to steal a bike… we’re going to catch you. We want the public to know that, bicycle owners to know that, as well as potential bike thieves.” (Note: I’ve been in touch with Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett to connect his officers with Portland officers for a bit of knowledge-sharing about their respective programs.)

Officer David Sanders leads the PPB Bike Theft Task Force unit. For him, using bait bikes is an important step to keep up with thieves — some of whom are now taking the unusual step of modifying serial numbers to avoid being tracked down.

I spoke with Sanders yesterday about the new bait bike program.[Read more…]

Portland born and raised, the OttoLock hits a bike security sweet spot

Posted on July 20th, 2017 at 5:13 pm.

Surprisingly convenient and useful.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Q: What do you get when a cyclist, an engineer and a businessman walk into a bar?

A: A stolen bike.

At least that’s how the joke used to go before the OttoLock came along.

Designed and engineered in Wilsonville by Otto Designworks, the company got started in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign for their first product: an app and tool that helped people adjust derailleurs. With the OttoLock, the company seems to have found its stride.

Word-of-mouth for the product ignited early on in large part because one of the idea generators and spokesmen is professional cyclist Jacob Rathe (whom you might recall from our story on him when he made the U.S. National Team in 2008). We first covered the OttoLock nearly a year ago when it was still in the prototype and design phase. Now that it’s starting to show up in bike shops around the country, it’s time for a closer look.

Here are my impressions after using it for several months…
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