Vandal punches drywall, burglarizes offices in Phoenix Pharmacy Bldg

Here’s the next chapter in the restoration of out East Portland’s Phoenix Pharmacy building: Repairing damage done by a drug-infused, rampaging burglar …

Matt Froman, the man credited with keeping the historic Phoenix Pharmacy building from the wrecking ball, boards up the second-story window used to break in.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After years of effort, Matt Froman, an owner of Foster the Phoenix LLC, was happy to have the century-old landmark in the Foster-Powell neighborhood, the “Phoenix Pharmacy Building” ready to open again in May.

>> CLICK HERE to see the building being made ready in our most recent article.

But, on the morning of June 13th, his tenants – those in upstairs offices, and Foster Outdoor, an outdoor adventure shop on the ground floor – told him the building had been burglarized and ransacked overnight.

At first, the crook tried to pry open office doors, but he found they wouldn’t budge.

It didn’t take long for the sporting goods store to reopen. But, for the tenants who occupy the upstairs office spaces, it was a disaster.

“We think it was one man who hoisted himself on the neighboring building’s roof by climbing on top of a stolen U-Haul truck, then up onto the lower part of our roof at the back of our building,” Froman reported.

The thief kept punching and kicking in walls until he found where he could enlarge his hole and squeeze in.

“Then, using a large screwdriver or crowbar – likely his only tool – broke open a window atop the second story stairwell,” Froman told  East Portland News.

The manager of the U-Haul Store nearby, on SE Powell Boulevard at 50th Avenue, confirmed to Froman that their surveillance video cameras recorded a man stealing the the truck used in the burglary from their lot the previous Sunday night.

Not needing to use the door, this crook smashes his way through walls, from office to office.

After trying to jimmy open the new office doors with the tool, the criminal soon gave up. Instead, he started kicking holes in the drywall into, and between, offices – making holes large enough for him to get inside.

Most offices held little to steal that could be easily fenced for drug money; but he did snatch some petty cash.

Matt Froman shows a chair that had been found upended and torn open by the addled criminal, as if valuables could be hidden inside.

“What’s really weird, and may be the sign of someone on drugs, was that the guy tossed over upholstered furniture, and slit open the bottoms, apparently looking for valuables – as if tenants would hoard gold or diamonds and stash it in their furniture!” Froman mused.

“This certainly has been unsettling to me – another challenge to overcome in this 10-year-project – but, it’s been a real blow to our people in the upstairs offices, who have lost days – maybe a week – of work and income.

Getting these holes patched and painted is a chore that wasn’t planned for.

“My next steps along this journey is fixing the office walls and doors, and hardening our security.”

The building is situated at 6615 SE Foster Road. Stop by and see the splendid result of this local historic restoration project done by local folks.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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