Suspected car thief busted in Lents

You’ll be amazed to learn where this car was stolen! And, how the accused was captured, is simply fascinating …

After recovering this car, a crew from Portland Fire & Rescue crew at Station 11 looks, with amazement, at a Captain’s car stolen during the previous day’s shift.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It started out being another typical shift on August 12 for the Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crew at Station 11, located in the Lents Neighborhood at 5707 SE 92nd Avenue.

Things became more lively about three hours into the shift when, at about 10:30 a.m., PF&R Captain Jesse Scroggins’ personal car was stolen from the firehouse.

Seeing this, the crew hopped into Engine 11, and took off after the suspect, following the freshly stolen car south on SE 92nd Avenue through Lents Town Center, then east on SE Woodstock Blvd. Under I-205 they drove, before cutting into the neighborhood just east of the freeway.

But, Engine 11’s crew knew what the car thief didn’t – the streets in this particular outer East Portland residential pocket simply dead-end at Johnson Creek.

“At 10:47 a.m., Portland Police East Precinct officers responded to the area,” reported Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

The car thief didn’t get far – he crashed into the porch of this house, now held together with rope, about a mile away from Station 11 in Lents.

“As officers were in route, they learned that the suspect had crashed the car into the front porch of a house in the 9900 block of SE Duke Street,” Simpson said. “The suspect got out of the vehicle and ran away. Firefighters got out of the fire truck and chased him on foot and caught him, without incident, in the 9700 block of SE Claybourne Street.”

Police arrested this man, 31-year-old Michael James Spillers Jr., but later added more charges related to this event.

The suspect, 31-year-old Michael James Spillers Jr., was arrested at 10:52 a.m. and charged with Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle, Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver, and Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree – and was booked into the Multnomah County Jail an hour later.

But wait! There’s more!

That evening, a resident at a house on SE Claybourne Street found a pistol in the washing machine in the garage.

The PPB Gun Task Force will also be charging Spillers with theft and gun charges, after learning that Spillers hid a stolen handgun, Simpson said.

“The gun was reported stolen out of Washington,” Simpson reported. “Investigators determined this gun was stolen, because the victim maintained and reported the serial number of the gun.”

If stealing and wrecking this vehicle wasn’t enough, the suspect also picked up firearm charges.

Spillers will be charged with: Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Theft in the First Degree, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Simpson added. “The gun case against Spillers will be given to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for possible Federal prosecution.”

At this writing, Spillers remains in Multnomah County Inverness Jail with combined bail set at $17,500.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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