CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - A serial thief targeted people selling bicycles online, including a 12-year-old boy, according to Clackamas County deputies.
The sheriff’s office submitted several criminal cases to the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office regarding James Lee Adkins, 33, of Portland.
Between September 2019 and this month, deputies said Adkins has carried out multiple thefts.
On Sept. 1, 2019, investigators said Adkins contacted a person who posted a mountain bike for sale on Facebook. They agreed to meet at the Clackamas Town Center.
Investigators said Adkins showed the seller an envelope of money with the agreed-upon sale price of $900, but when the seller turned around to remove the bike from his vehicle, Adkins switched the envelopes.
The seller later discovered the envelope he took for the bike was filled with napkins, according to deputies.
“I've been here a long enough time I guess it's kind part of being in Portland. I mean bike theft is pretty common. The good thing about it is there's a really nice bike community that kind of watches out for people,” said victim Dan Wille.
Another victim was a 12-year-old boy, according to deputies.
In that case, a woman and her 12-year-old son were selling the boy’s mountain bike on Craigslist for $1,395 in October 2019. They agreed to meet at the Clackamas Fred Meyer.
Adkins asked if he could take the bike on a “test ride” in the parking lot, according to investigators, but after going in a loop around the lot, he took off without notice and without paying for the bike.
The victims attempted to call Adkins, but he did not respond.
The woman posted a notice online talking about the suspect’s brazen theft from a 12-year-old boy, according to the sheriff’s office.
Investigators said Adkins was also arrested for shoplifting and possession of methamphetamine at the Clackamas Town Center in November 2019. He was then stopped by Portland police for a traffic violation this week and was subsequently arrested on multiple warrants out of Clackamas County.
Deputies believe Adkins may have attempted or committed similar crimes in the metro area, as he has shown a pattern. In the two bike theft incidents, Adkins used a Facebook profile using his own name and photo.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office tip line at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form at https://www.clackamas.us/sheriff/tip.
Willie said he’s learned from this experience.
“My next one I'm going to do is I'm going to have them meet me in front of a police station. And probably go on the ride along so have an extra bike to tag along, and do your best to make it so it's hard to get away quickly, like air down the tires,” he said.
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