Portland's frequent Subaru thief foiled? Police arrest man in connection with … – OregonLive.com
Prosecutors have charged a 40-year-old Portland man with stealing six 1990s-era Toyotas and Subarus after police found him slumped over in a stolen Toyota Sunday, then matched his fingerprints to those found in five other cars stolen and recovered in Portland in the past three weeks.
John D. Lorenz III, a lifelong Portland resident living in Southwest Portland, was jailed Monday and arraigned Tuesday in connection with the thefts of the cars, several of which were found containing stolen laptops, credit cards, clothes and other valuables.
Police fire and rescue workers were summoned Sunday to provide Lorenz medical assistance after a passerby noticed he was non-responsive behind the wheel of a car with its engine running. In the car, police found a brass punch, a ring of eight car keys and other tools that could be used to steal cars. They also found heroin and a pipe.
Portland police had been looking for Lorenz after suspecting him in a rash of thefts of 1990s-era Subarus since late November.
Normally, about 20 Subarus are reported stolen in Portland per month. In December, 90 went missing.
That caused a lot of heartache for their owners and concern among owners of Subarus from that era. Most people who drive 10- and 15-year-old Subarus worth only $3,000 to $5,000 don’t have enough money or insurance to buy a dependable new car. And many are very attached to their cars, some of which are considered almost a member of the family.
Portland Police Det. Chris Brush said Friday that he thinks one man may have been behind 30 or more of the recent thefts. Before the arrest, Brush speculated that the thief was a drug addict who would make a stupid mistake and get caught.
About 36 hours later, police discovered Lorenz and his tools in the stolen Toyota.
According to a probable cause document filed in Multnomah County Court Tuesday, Lorenz’s fingerprints were also detected:
> On a Toyota Forerunner that was stolen Saturday Jan. 10 and recovered Jan. 12. It contained a checkbook and clothes reported stolen by a woman unrelated to the Toyota owner.
> Inside another Toyota, also stolen Jan. 10 and recovered Jan. 12. That car contained credit cards reported stolen by a woman not connected to the car’s owner.
> On the passenger door of an old Subaru that was stolen Jan. 5 and found Jan. 9. Inside were several backpacks containing several laptops.
> On a 1997 Subaru Outback that Kelli Jo Scott of Portland has owned for a decade. It was stolen from the parking lot of the Woodstock Safeway on New Year’s Eve and, according to the court document, was found later that night.
> On the rearview mirror of a Subaru stolen on Dec. 28 and found on New Year’s Eve.
Owners of all six cars told police they had never given Lorenz permission to take or be inside their vehicles, according to deputy district attorney Jenna Plank.
Lorenz was charged with 18 felonies: six counts of first-degree thefts, six of possessing a stolen vehicle and six of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Lorenz, who police said sometimes uses the false name of Tracy Andrews, is being held in Inverness Jail with bail set at $91,000.
— Betsy Hammond