She lost everything when her van was towed. Now she's jailed
A local homeless woman lost all her possessions after she was arrested for shoplifting at Fred Meyer, and her van was towed from the scene.
The next day, she tracked down the vehicle to a Northeast Portland lot, and tried to talk an employee into letting her reclaim some possessions.
Lacking any ownership papers, she went away empty handed. Hours later, she returned – and ended up running over the tow truck driver, sending him to the hospital for treatment of a broken collarbone, a concussion and other injuries.
The preceding narrative is sourced from new court docs unearthed in the saga of Nicole Oria Penagos-Clare.
The 24-year-old is now behind bars, facing charges of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. Police have also arrested an older man they say was her accomplice.
According to court docs, Penagos-Clare was arrested for shoplifting at Fred Meyer on Southeast Divison Street on Feb. 9. By the time she was released on Feb. 10, with the charges dropped, the gold Odyssey van she had been living in had been towed.
When she arrived at 21st Century Towing, 8510 N. Kerby Avenue, on the evening of Feb. 11, she spoke with employee Joshua Durrett, 25, according to court records, who denied her claims due to a lack of ownership documents.
Police say Penagos-Clare and another man, Kenneth Clay Jett, returned to the tow truck lot after midnight, and broke through the front fence. With Penagos-Clare behind the wheel, the duo allegedly boosted a Ford F-150 truck.
But when they found the way out blocked by Durrett's tow truck, Penagos-Clare allegedly burned rubber, crashing through the gate and sending the worker flying through the air.
You can watch footage of the incident here.
An officer found one of Durrett's shoes about 30 feet away from the impact site.
With both suspects on the loose, officers distributed footage of the incident to local media. The nurse at the downtown jail who had treated Penagos-Clare a few days ago — and her own sister — called the cops.
Memory Dundom, Penagos-Clare's sister, told police her sister was "distraught over having lost" everything. When they met on Feb. 12, Penagos-Clare wasn't even wearing shoes, she said.
According to court docs, Dundom gave Penagos-Clare a ride to a local mobile home park where she stayed in the car and her sister met with a "drug dealer" named Tony. Dundom told police that Penagos-Clare told Tony where he could pick up the stolen F-150 in order to settle a debt.
But Penagos-Clare ended up behind bars after police located and arrested her.
As for Jett, he was booked and released almost immediately on Feb. 17 on a charge of second-degree criminal mischief. Jett has been accused of first-degree forgery and various theft charges over the years.
Police say Jett was found in a white van around 3 p.m. in the Centennial neighborhood. Police say Jett was inside a nearby home, and was soon arrested.
"This case highlights how criminals can be identified and captured to increase public safety when our investigators work in tandem with community members," said Police Chief Jami Resch. "I am grateful for community members who came forward with information and detectives who worked diligently to apprehend those involved so quickly."
Read our previous reporting below:
A woman has been arrested after police say she and a man broke into a tow truck lot and stole a vehicle — using it to run over an employee in the process.
Nicole Oria Penagos-Clare, 24, was arrested Saturday, Feb. 15 and now faces charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, unauthorized use of a car and felony failure to perform a drivers' duties.
Authorities continue to seek the identity of her alleged accomplice, described by police as a white man, age 60 to 70.
The incident began around 2:38 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, when police responded to 21st Century Towing, Inc., 8510 N. Kerby Avenue, on reports that the suspects had crashed through a gate, striking an employee, who was taken to a hospital for treatment of "significant" but non-life-threatening injuries.
You can watch footage of the incident here.
Police say the duo arrived in a white work van. They allegedly stole a charcoal F150, which was recovered on Saturday around 5:23 p.m., when an employee with the tow company found the truck near Northeast 6th Drive and Middlefield Road, according to a news release.
Police say he hooked it up to his tow truck and then called police, who seized it as evidence.
Later that night, around 9:30 p.m., an officers was dispatched to 1600 block of Northeast 128th Avenue, after a tipster reported seeing Penagos-Clare in the vicinity.
She allegedly ran from police but was captured.
Penagos-Clare was charged with second-degree theft earlier this month but the charges were dropped. She remains in the downtown jail at this time.
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