The Portland Police Bureau has been sweeping homeless camps out of downtown parks since Mayor Charlie Hales' big crackdown last month.
Today, the cops netted a high-profile item in Chapman Square: A stolen bicycle owned by the Portland Bureau of Transportation's new director.
PBOT director Leah Treat wrote on Twitter today that police recovered her blue bicycle, named "Beatrice," during a sidewalk sweep—when the new owner rode it into the middle of the camp eviction.
"Beatrice is back!" Treat tweeted. "PBOT crew was cleaning homeless camp with Portland Police. Man rode up on my stolen bicycle. Busted!"
The Oregonian reported this week that Treat's blue Breezer Greenway bicycle was stolen from a street bike rack outside PBOT offices in the Portland Building on Sept. 5. (Beatrice had also been stolen in Treat's two previous hometowns, Washington, D.C. and Chicago.)
The thief, who Portland Police arrested but have not yet publicly identified, did not get far.
PBOT spokeswoman Diane Dulken says police spotted the bicycle during this morning's sweep of Chapman Square—across the street from the Portland Building, at Southwest 4th Avenue and Madison Street.
"A man with with a bicycle rode right into the midst of that activity," Dulken says. "One of the officers said, 'Wait a minute.' They gave it back to her this morning."
UPDATE, 3 pm: Portland Police have released the name of the man arrested for stealing Treat's bicycle: He's Jason Lee Elmore, 39.
They've also released a photo of Beatrice, taken minutes after she was found. (The cops knew what she looked like, they say, because Treat had tweeted a "Missing" photo.)
UPDATE, 3:30 pm: This is the second time this week that people suspected in crimes around downtown camps have accidentally turned themselves in to police.
On Sept. 10, Alexandra Chanel Barrett, 24, ran after police arresting two campers at Terry Schrunk Plaza. When she kicked the door of the Police Bureau's Central Precinct, officers recognized her as a suspect in the attack on homelessness activist Michael Withey.
"She came to the door of the police station and presented herself in an unusual way," Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said Tuesday.
"Sometimes," he added, "the fish jump in the boat."