Police conduct anti-shoplifting ‘blitz’ in NE Portland

Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 5:15 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Portland Police conducted their second retail theft “blitz” mission of the year at the Gateway and 205 malls in northeast Portland on Sunday.

The goal was to curb shoplifting at businesses in the area but there were also arrests for outstanding warrants, car thefts, and more.

Josiah had his car stolen last weekend out of his northeast Portland driveway. One week later, it was spotted at a McDonald’s on Southeast Powell Boulevard.

“My friend spotted it which started the chase and everything,” Josiah said.

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Police working the retail theft mission in the gateway area responded in full force, chasing the car from McDonald’s to the corner of Northeast 92nd Boulevard and Northeast Schuyler Street. The man inside the car was arrested and Josiah got his car back. He said he was grateful officers were conducting their retail theft mission in the same area where his car was found.

“I’m all for it,” Josiah said. “It’s getting crazy.”

Portland Police said these missions to crack down on petty crime have been a huge success in the past. In February, a similar mission led to 40 arrests and 60 warrants serviced. Law enforcement handed out 32 felony charges and 28 misdemeanor charges. Plus recovering more than two thousand dollars of stolen merchandise. A two-day mission in December of 2022 led to 64 arrests and 70 warrants serviced. Officers recovered 10 stolen vehicles, three firearms, and nearly $9,000 in stolen merchandise.

Jordan Zaitz is on Portland Police’s Neighborhood Response Team. She said shoplifting can be connected to other crimes.

“Right now retail theft is also associated with our drug issues, our stolen vehicles issues,” Zaitz said. “They’re all kind of combined together and all of it is affecting our community.”

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A FOX 12 crew were with police as they executed Sunday’s sting. While they were there, police arrested one man on an outstanding warrant and another for allegedly stealing from a Target at the 205 mall.

Having a heavy police presence in the area also led to other arrests not associated with the retail theft mission. Portland Police said a Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney was also on the scene to help officers file police reports. Zaitz said many people arrested during these missions are repeat offenders. She said each incident of shoplifting can have a larger impact on the city.

“We’re having big retailers leave,” Zaitz said. “I mean to have Walmart close two of its stores is a really big deal. The people in those neighborhoods, that’s where they shop.”

Police said their retail theft missions send a message that they’re cracking down on all crime, no matter if it’s shoplifting or stealing cars.”

“For a long time we kind of let everybody get away with it, we just didn’t have the resources to actually touch on it,” Zaitz said. “Now it’s good to actually be able to arrest people and hold them accountable and hopefully get them the help they need.”