Wanted man runs – but he can’t hide – from Portland’s finest

A couple of weeks ago, you heard about the suspected crook that cops chased away from the 82nd Ave. MAX station – now learn the REST of the story …

Police closed off this street along which the suspected MAX station drug dealer ran, after he dodged through the Elmer’s Restaurant parking lot. He gave the cops the slip not once, but twice!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While their efforts often don’t make headlines or the evening news, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers – from the precincts, and those specifically assigned to TriMet – wage a daily battle against crime along the steel-railed highway called MAX Light Rail.

It’s so easy for thugs and drug pushers to hop on and off the MAX trains. But many of the stations, like the MAX stop at NE 82nd Avenue of Roses, are difficult to police. It is set down, away from street, accessible only by stairs and an elevator.

About 6:30 p.m. on May 14, PPB Transit Division officers spotted a familiar-looking character, and kept an eye on him.

“Officers developed probable cause to arrest an individual,” police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz told us that evening. “It looked to them like he was engaging in drug trafficking activity.”

When officers started closing in on him, the suspect dashed off, and a foot pursuit began. “They try to catch the guy as he ran into the through Elmer’s Restaurant parking lot; then into the [nearby neighborhood] blocks west of 82nd Ave.,” confirmed Schmautz.

Searching the blocks west of NE 82nd Avenue of Roses near NE Multnomah Street, the police came close to nabbing the suspected drug-dealing runner; but he slipped away.

Tries to hide in the neighborhood

A search by officers – and a K-9 unit – couldn’t locate the suspect in the area where they thought he might be hiding.

“Then, a citizen in one of the homes within the perimeter realized there was a stranger in his house, and confronted the suspect,” Schmautz told us as the situation was unfolding that evening. “It startled the suspect as much as the neighbor – and the suspect took off again, heading westbound.”

Police dogs were soon hot on the suspect’s trail; the chase led to a home on NE 78th Avenue.

With the potential for a hostage situation on their hands, the SERT unit is activated, and takes a position near the home where they think the suspect may be holed up.

SERT unit activated
“We had information from neighbors that there was someone home,” Schmautz said. “We didn’t want to take any chances, in case this turned into a potential hostage situation; the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) was activated.”

After a couple of tense hours of waiting, police learned that the suspect had again fled; the SERT officers disbanded.

Police get their man
“Officers knew the man they were chasing as 35-year-old Detrick Griggs,” Schmautz said. “Our bureau’s Drug & Vice Division (DVD) officers helped track him down.”

Police say this man, Detrick Griggs, was the suspect who ran – but, from our cops, he couldn’t hide for long.

Two days later, on May 16, they located Griggs. “Again, he ran from officers and there was a little foot pursuit with him. A K-9 police dog persuaded him to give up,” added Schmautz. “He was taken into custody on the 4800 block of N. Williams Avenue.”

Griggs probably won’t be riding the rails soon; records show he was arrested for Trespass, Escape, Failure to Appear, Resisting Arrest – and he also had an outstanding warrant. In addition, he had failed to register as a sex offender.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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