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It may have set some sort of local record -- an ex-con managed to steal four vehicles at the same time in Southeast

DAVID F. ASHTON - After driving wildly through late Sunday afternoon traffic, narrowly missing other cars and pedestrians along the way, a suspected vehicle thief swerved off the road and crashed on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses at Division Street.  Due to legal rules in Oregon, it has often been difficult for law enforcement officers to charge a suspect with vehicle theft – so stealing cars and trucks has been an everyday occurrence, especially here in Inner Southeast Portland.

On Sunday afternoon, August 1, East Precinct officers were alerted at 5:39 p.m. to be on the lookout for a stolen light-bronze-colored Ford F250 "King Cab" pickup truck, with a "toy hauler" trailer attached.

"A responding officer broadcast the description of the truck, trailer, and cargo – which was somewhat unique," reported Portland Police spokesperson Lt. Greg Pashley.

"The truck and trailer had been in a parking lot at Eastport Plaza, while the owner conducted personal business at one or more retail outlets," Lt. Pashley went on. "There is nothing in the reports indicating that the vehicle was running, or that the keys had been left in it.

"Other officers on patrol that afternoon saw it near N.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses and Glisan Street; however, when he was signaled to pull over, the driver failed to stop."

Taking off southbound on the Avenue of Roses, the driver attempted to turn east on S.E. Division Street; but, going too fast, the accused thief lost control. The truck and trailer swerved, then jumped the curb on Division, before knocking a newly-installed steel traffic signal utility box off its pedestal. The truck and what it was towing careened across the sidewalk – which fortunately was clear of pedestrians – and mowed down a row of bushes before coming to a stop in the "Super Market" convenience store's parking lot.

"The suspect fled, but officers captured him a short distance from where he left the truck and trailer," Pashley reported.

MCDC BOOKING PHOTO - After dealing with his parole problems in Clackamas County, this man - known both as 22-year-old Chase R. Head and 26-year-old William Francis Hicks - will then be facing 11 Felony and eight Misdemeanor charges in Multnomah County. The suspect, who later identified himself to officers as 22-year-old "Chase R. Head", ran west, crossing S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses while dodging traffic – but he was captured in the parking lot of a quick-lube store. He was treated at the scene by Portland Fire & Rescue's Engine 19 paramedic/firefighters – then he was first taken to a local hospital to be evaluated, and then was booked into jail.

"Officers recovered a firearm from inside the truck that did not belong to the truck owner," Pashley added drily.

The accused thief, "Mr. Head", racked up an impressive list of Felony and Misdemeanor charges as he was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 12:58 a.m. on August 2:

· Resisting Arrest,

· Reckless Driving,

· Criminal Mischief I,

· Interfering with a Police Officer,

· Attempt to Elude (on foot),

· Attempt to Elude (in vehicle),

· Four counts of Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (property damage),

· Four counts of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle,

· Felon In Possession of a Firearm, and,

· Four counts of Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.

When we were unable to find the suspect's name -- Chase R. Head -- in our search of the MCDC records, we turned to Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Chris Liedle for help.

"The suspect, who the PPB had identified as 'Chase Head', was booked under a different name: 26-year-old William Francis Hicks; when he was entered in the system. His fingerprints were later matched to his primary booking name, which is 'Chase Head'.

"A 'primary booking name' is the name that is provided at the first booking in the State of Oregon," Liedle explained. "Hicks is considered a secondary booking name, kind of like an alias, in laymen's terms.

"At the pre-trial release interview, Multnomah County Court staff learned there was a 'Parole Hold' outstanding for Mr. Head/Hicks, out of Clackamas County," Liedle revealed.

On August 4, Mr. Head/Hicks was transferred to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office; at some point, he'll be returned to Multnomah County to face this long list of criminal charges.

As for how this man could be charged with simultaneously stealing four different vehicles at the very same time – Head/Hicks is accused of stealing the pickup truck, a four-wheeler ATV in the truck bed, the "toy hauler" trailer, and the vehicle inside of that.

It will be interesting to see if a judge now decides to waive some of the charges in this "stolen, stolen, stolen, stolen vehicle" case – a case in which other drivers and pedestrians could have been seriously injured by the suspect's reckless driving – or even shot by the suspect, who was illegally packing a gun.

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