August 06, 2012 16:10Attachment: VIEW FILES
UPDATE: The image for this release has been corrected.
On Sunday, August 6, 2012 at 10:45 p.m., Portland Police officers assigned to North Precinct responded to a residential burglary to a duplex in the 500 block of Northeast Bryant Street. The property is a newly constructed duplex which is staged with furniture and listed for sale. The owner of the property told police that he arrived to find signs of a burglary and believed people may still be inside.
The house immediately west of the duplex is associated with squatters from the Occupy Portland movement, evidenced by the signs in the front yard and large group of Occupiers standing in the front yard.
As officers approached the duplex they observed a large banner (approximately 15') hanging in from the front porch of the duplex which read, "Together we are unevictable."
Officers were able to search one half of the duplex and determine there was no one inside. When attempting to search the other half, officers discovered that the lockbox had been removed from the front door and another lockbox had been removed from the gas meter. Officers looking through the front door could clearly see that furniture had been moved and there was a grocery bag on the kitchen floor.
Officers and the homeowner entered the backyard to find that all the fencing between the duplex and the house to the west (Occupy Portland) had been removed and was piled up in the backyard of the residence being squatted in by Occupy Portland supporters.
The homeowner was able to allow police entry to the duplex after breaching a window. Once inside officers arrested 24-year-old Derek John Charles Zika, who was crouched down by the front door. Zika had personal belongings in an upstairs bedroom and it appeared he had just taken a shower in the upstairs bathroom. The grocery bag in the kitchen contained 2 new sets of door locks that did not belong to the homeowner.
Zika was arrested and charged with Burglary in the First Degree and Criminal Trespass in the First Degree and booked into the Multnomah County Jail.
The Portland Police Bureau is continuing to work on getting cooperation from owners of vacant properties like the one being squatted in by supporters of Occupy Portland on Northeast Bryant Street. Owners of vacant properties are responsible for securing them and for maintaining them until they are sold or rented.
Owners needing assistance from the Portland Police Bureau should contact the Neighborhood Response Team from their police precinct to arrange for a "Trespass Agreement," which can allow for police officers to immediately take enforcement action against trespassers.
To find out what Portland Police precinct you live in, follow http://www.portlandonline.com/police/index.cfm?c=43598 to see a map of the City.
Attachment: VIEW FILES
Sgt. Pete Simpson