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From Second City Cop:
A Chicago man is facing felony theft charges after police allegedly found him hauling $14,263 worth of stolen sewer lids in the back of his pickup truck Thanksgiving morning on the West Side.
Lashawn Powell, 52, admitted that his friend pays him to collect the sewer lids from city streets so he can sell them to scrapyards, prosecutors said.
Cops responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle carrying stolen sewer lids in the Garfield Park neighborhood around 4:55 a.m. Thursday. It wasn’t long before they spotted Powell allegedly driving around with 31 manhole covers in his truck bed.
In case you’re wondering, sewer lids weigh about 249 pounds each, according to Wikipedia. So, 31 lids would weigh about 7,700 pounds. The city values them at $460 each, prosecutors said during Powell’s bond court hearing Friday.
Docking With A Death Star-A Rerun
Everyone who drives has seen an overloaded pickup truck on the road like the one in the photo. Portland police officers call them Death Stars.
When a Death Star is on the move and for whatever reason goes from 40 or 50 mph to 0 mph in less than two or three seconds some of the objects in the bed of pickup keep moving at 40 or 50 mph and like meteors that break up when they hit the earth’s atmosphere some of these objects separate from the truck. These objects keep moving until they come to rest, sometimes without hitting anything, or until they are stopped by something like the front end of your car, windshield, or a pedestrian. Hence the name Death Star.
This is a story about docking with a Death Star while working the streets on a Friday night in North Precinct.
At about 2300 hours I see a pick-up truck about six blocks ahead of me. The truck moves through pools of light cast by street lamps, from light to dark as it moves down the street. As the truck moves a shower of sparks follow the truck. Maybe it’s just his muffler. I give my car a little more gas and as I get closer I find out I’m following a Death Star. There is a motorcycle in the back of the truck and attached to the motorcycle is a chain, attached to the chain is a manhole cover bouncing off the pavement. On go the red and blues and when the truck stops on go the take-down lights. Time to get on the radio.
Dispatcher: 484 go.
484: at N. Columbia and Portsmouth with Oregon plate number (I won’t use a plate number for the story because somebody might actually have that plate number.)
Dispatcher: 484 Copy
On my way to the driver’s door of the truck I stop at the back of the pick-up and light up the manhole cover with my flashlight. “City of Portland” is engraved on the manhole cover. Before I get to the driver’s door the dispatcher calls me.
Dispatcher: 484 10-51 (Can your subject overhear this.)
Me: Go ahead.
Dispatcher: 484 the RO (registered owner) has anti-social tendencies.
Me: Let’s have another car come to my location.
Dispatcher: Copy 484.
Anti-social tendencies means the subject resists arrest. I don’t know at this point if the RO is the driver but I know the manhole cover doesn’t belong to the driver and the Harley that is attached to the manhole cover does not have a license plate.
I tell the driver I need to see his license, registration, and proof of insurance. The inevitable question comes from the driver. Is there a problem officer? I like to keep things simple so once more I say license, registration, and proof of insurance. He hands me his license and registration. He doesn’t have insurance. My cover car arrives so I have the driver, who is the RO, get out of the truck. He sees the second officer and asks me why there is two of us. I tell him we always work in pairs because one of us knows how to read and the other knows how to write.
I walk him back to the manhole cover and ask him to read the engraving on the cover. I’m met with silence. I tell him, this is your lucky night because I’m the officer who knows how to read and what I’m reading states; “City of Portland”. More silence. Do me a favor and tell me where this manhole cover belongs. You wouldn’t want someone to get hurt in a traffic accident, or falling into an uncovered manhole. More silence. You’re under arrest put your hands on top of your head. We handcuff him and then I Mirandize him. Now he wants to talk.
Subject: I just bought the bike and the owner couldn’t find the key for the padlock that he used to chain the bike to the manhole cover.
I said; Let me see the paperwork on the bike.
Subject: The owner said I could get the paperwork tomorrow.
Did the owner give you a key for the bike?
Subject: No I have to get that tomorrow.
Well, how much did the bike cost you?
So you paid $6,000 for the bike but you don’t have a bill of sale, title, or keys to show for your $6,000? How about an address for the owner then you and I can go talk to him and verify what you just told me. Silence once again.
I arrested him for theft of the manhole cover and forwarded a copy of my report including information on the Harley to detectives. I had his truck towed to the police impound lot, or as police officers call it, Seizure World. I had radio check the VIN number of the Harley for a stolen report. There was no stolen report at the time of my traffic stop. That doesn’t mean that someone wasn’t going to find their Harley missing on Saturday morning.
It was a quiet ride to booking. Luke Skywalker and me, keeping the universe safe from Death Stars.Published in