In the midst of tragedy and charity, it's nice to know that there are at least two Portlanders who've been able to put the horror of Sept. 11 behind them.

At 9:45 pm on Nov. 21, Duane LaMotte Jr., 44, allegedly walked into a 7-Eleven on Tualatin Valley Highway, browsed for a while, then asked for a copy of Willamette Week. After the clerk informed him that the store did not carry WW, LaMotte departed (disappointed, we are sure) only to return 10 minutes later, when he grabbed a rival newspaper and proceeded to walk around the store. According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the clerk then heard a strange noise and saw LaMotte attempting to break the chain that anchored the store's Red Cross donation box--marked For Recent Tragedies & Other Disasters--to the counter. Moments later, LaMotte ran out of the store with the box.

The next morning--Thanksgiving Day!--LaMotte allegedly tried to steal the Red Cross box from another 7-Eleven, this time on Scholls Ferry Road. After LaMotte broke the chain to the box, a female employee blocked his path and, with the help of a customer, managed to hold LaMotte until the police arrived.

LaMotte isn't the only Red Cross rogue out there. Portlander Randy Decker was turned in by a family member after local TV news aired videotape of thefts at the twice-hit 7-Eleven store on Scholls Ferry Road and another on Pacific Highway.

Ordinarily, the Rogue Desk ignores petty criminals, especially when they haven't been convicted. But in this case, we've decided to make an exception. (If LaMotte or Decker turns out to be innocent, the Rogue Central staff hereby promises to donate blood until we're all in the multi-gallon club.)

It seems that these two men have double-handedly made Oregon a veritable Rogue state. Out of 3,500 7-Eleven stores that set up Red Cross donation boxes across the nation, there have only been 18 episodes of theft, says 7-Eleven spokeswoman Nancy Lear--eight of them in the Portland metro area. Nice going guys. Way to make a good impression.