Brazen bike thief appears in court facing prison sentence and $250,000 bail

Brazen bike thief appears in court facing prison sentence and $250,000 bail

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Parsons appeared via video at the Justice Center in downtown Portland this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office is sick and tired of Leroy Parsons gaming the system.

Parsons, arguably Portland’s most brazen and prolific perpetrator of bike theft, appeared in court today. He was arrested last week for bike theft and the DA has upgraded his charges to include 16 total counts, including nine felony charges (several of which are for bike theft) and an increased bail amount aimed in keeping him locked up until sentencing.

If convicted on all counts Parsons could face a lengthy prison term. But that’s a big if.

“He treats the victimization of our citizens and visitors as a game.”
— Multnomah County DA’s office in a motion to enhance Parson’s bail

Parson’s criminal history dates back to 1987 and his most recent arrest came on November 6th after he was caught with a bait bike put out by cable TV show Inside Edition. While that arrest came with just one theft charge, the DA has now upgraded the charges against Parsons.

In a motion and affidavit filed Tuesday (PDF here), Deputy DA Kevin Demer stated that given Parson’s criminal history and a temptation to flee in the face of a likely prison sentence, he should be held in jail with a bail amount of $250,000.

The state feels these stepped up measures are justified in part because, according to the DA’s motion, Parsons has been mentioned in 200 police reports and has been booked and arrested 98 times.

“I promise you I’ll get away with a lot more than I’ll get caught for… So let’s play and see who wins.”
— Parsons during a conversation with a police officer in 2014.

The DA added to its case by using Parson’s own words against him. He has boasted about his theft skills many times, several of which have been caught on camera.

In June 2014 Parsons got into one of his somewhat frequent conversations with Portland Police Officer David Sanders (well-known to many of you for his dedication to the bike theft problem). Sanders has been tracking Parsons for years at his various camp sites on streets throughout Portland. Sanders frequently sees him in possession of stolen bikes, laptops, cell phones, and other high-end equipment.

The statements below came from Parsons during one of his conversations with Sanders (recorded via a body camera). They were referenced in the DA’s motion:

“I can be a better thief than you will ever know.”

“I promise you I’ll get away with a lot more than I’ll get caught for. I promise you. So let’s play and see who wins.”

“You know who’s going to pay? Your little citizens, cuz I don’t care. I promise you I don’t get [sic] a fuck now.”

On one occasion, Officer Sanders took a stolen bike from Parsons and then let him go. As Parsons walked away he said, “I’m going to get another one right now.”

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The charges against Parsons.

The DA’s motion further states that Parsons and Sanders have even been in bike chases!

“… The defendant has tried to outride Ofc. Sanders when Ofc. Sanders would try to stop the defendant to retrieve a stolen bike the defendant was riding.”

Parsons also admitted to stealing expensive bikes during a KGW news segment back in March.

In addition to bike theft Parsons has been arrested several times for methamphetime use and possession as well as gun-related crimes.

“He treats the victimization of our citizens and visitors as a game,” DA Demer stated in the motion.

At court this morning, Parsons appeared on a video screen in his blue jail uniform. When his case was presented to Judge Steven Reed, his defense counsel stated that Parsons pleads “not guilty” to the charges against him. The DA then stood up and told the judge about his motion. The judge hadn’t reviewed the documents yet and said since Parsons will be in jail until at least November 25th, the court will take up the case again at that time.

So, the cogs of justice will keep grinding on. Fortunately the DA does not appear to be taking this case lightly.

We’ll have more coverage as this case evolves. Stay tuned.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


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