True crime stories of Portland

There's been a lot of crime in the news in Portland over the weekend. The musicians who had their instruments stolen downtown last month have gotten them back. The violin and bows were fenced at a local music shop that quickly realized what it had bought. The store owners stopped payment on the check they had issued to the person who sold them the stolen property. And they called the fiddler, who flew back to Portland from California to be reunited with his instrument.

Then Fraser made the four-mile trip in his rental car to downtown’s Shemanski Park, where he’d gone after the theft to talk to anyone he encountered in the area – mostly people experiencing homelessness – to try to get a lead.

Back in November, one of the people in the park told him that he’d witnessed a man haul Fraser’s violin and Haas’ suitcase there and dig through it.

Fraser said he planned this time to tell people that he’d gotten the violin back and maybe play a tune for them in celebration.

But when he got there, he had second thoughts.

“You know why?” Fraser said.”I didn’t want to park the car.”

Okay, he's starting to get it.

His fellow musician had gotten her cello back the same day it was stolen, from a guy who said he had bought it for $40 but then had a change of heart.

A reporter covering the story asked the cops if they had any suspects. Ha! Ha! Even if they did, what difference would it make? D.A. Mikey doesn't do property crime, remember?

Likewise, the cops busted a bunch of shoplifters over the weekend, but so what? There never seem to be any consequences around here for criminal behavior. The thieves tend to get free Starbucks gift cards instead of jail sentences.

I mean, for Pete's sake, even the fentanyl dealers are turned back out onto the streets, over and over again, because they haven't killed anybody yet. If we're not going to be serious about putting those guys behind bars, you can forget about prosecuting smash-and-grabbers, shoplifting gangs, prolific vandals, and reckless drivers. Here's part of the Weed's take on a huge drug bust last week:

On Friday, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office announced its biggest fentanyl bust to date, after raiding two houses in Northeast Portland and Oregon City on Thursday and finding the equivalent of over 11 million doses of fentanyl....

But the fate of the alleged ringleader remains unclear. Luis Funez, 23, was arrested fleeing from his house in the Cully neighborhood of Northeast Portland. He was booked in jail on outstanding warrants—and then released, with instructions to return to the courthouse the following morning. Court records say he did not.

The sheriff’s office says the case has been referred to federal prosecutors, but charges related to Thursday’s bust have yet to be filed. And the whereabouts of Funez, who recently arrived in Portland by way of Sacramento, remain unclear....

An affidavit filed by prosecutors late Friday afternoon says Funez, who also goes by Arteaga-Sanchez, was taken to jail on an outstanding warrant with “new charges to follow.” But, he “was released by [the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice] before the new charges could be filed, however.”

A spokesperson for DCJ says the county followed state-mandated guidelines that determine who can be held in jail while they await trial....

Funez has been on law enforcement radar since at least January of this year, when he was arrested dealing fentanyl in downtown Portland on the corner of Southwest 4th Avenue and Ankeny Street.... He was booked in jail on ten separate felony charges—and immediately released due to court policies that generally prevent the detention of non-violent defendants with limited criminal history.

Who's to blame for the lawlessness of Portland? Some days it seems like everybody in the government – from the lowliest cops to the prosecutors to the public defenders to the state legislators to the governor to the trial judges to the state Supreme Court – is letting us down. A functional criminal justice system is necessary for a civilized society, and I'm afraid Portland just doesn't have one at the moment.


  1. Voters don’t look in the mirror. Individual responsibility disappears when the mob says it’s easy to point fingers

  2. Arrested in January in downtown Portland for dealing but also recently arrived from Sacramento? 11 months isn’t “recent”.

    The finger pointing over who let him out is classic. Just admit the mistake and also call him for what he is - a dangerous drug dealer. We can talk all we want about the war on drugs being a failure but if you want to argue that then all you are doing is endorsing this behavior by the criminal justice system. 11 million doses of fentanyl. That’s enough doses for the nearly the entire population of Oregon and Washington combined (12 million). Let his release and subsequent failure to appear sink in.

  3. I wish you’d run for mayor or DA

  4. Tip of the iceberg. They have no intension of fixing this issue. I wouldn't be surprised if drug busts are largely one gang ratting out another.


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