Recruiter nabs burglary suspects
| 12th Marine Corps District | August 22, 2003
RECRUITING STATION PORTLAND, Calif. --
When Sgt. Raymond Strike stepped out on the balcony of his southeast Portland apartment, all he was expecting was a breath of fresh air after a tough day of prospecting and interviews. Instead he found suspicious criminals exiting a neighboring apartment building trying to make a getaway.
"My wife and I went outside ... and we heard a smash," said Strike. "We saw two guys drop off the second floor balcony of another building."
Strike said the two hit the ground running and headed in different directions, one of them passing directly below his balcony. "From the third story, I could only see his jacket and hat," he said. "I yelled at him to stop, but he didn't acknowledge me."
That's when the Recruiting Substation Gresham recruiter snapped into action.
Still in uniform, Strike said he ran through his apartment, grabbed his cell phone on the way out the door and went to see if he could spot the suspects. At first he saw no one, so he ran to the complex office and told the receptionist what he had seen and instructed her to call non-emergency security to investigate. Still curious, Strike walked through the apartment complex to the street. When he got there, he said, he was surprised to see one of the suspects, the one who ran under his balcony just minutes before, calmly walking down the street. "He saw me, crossed the street and started walking the other way," said Strike.
Strike called out to the suspect and again he was ignored. When he called out a second time, asking only for a chance to talk to the man, the suspect's response only served to convince Strike that something was definitely amiss. "He said, 'What? I didn't do anything. I'm not a thief!'" said Strike. "I knew right then something was up."
At that point Strike decided to call the police himself. "As soon as I put my cell phone up to my ear. He started running," he said. And the chase ensued.
Strike decided to follow the suspect on foot and ran after him. "I wasn't trying to catch him," said Strike, "I was just pacing him." Throughout the estimated mile-long chase, Strike kept his cell phone to his ear, explaining the situation to Portland Police Department's east precinct dispatcher and updating his position.
Officer William Hoover of PPD's East Precinct was the first to arrive on the scene. "As soon as the guy saw the cop, he stopped and put his hands in the air," said Strike.
Detective Dan Slauson, the East Precinct detective who took over the case from Hoover, said the suspect would never have been caught if not for Strike's quick thinking and action. "He did everything right," said Slauson. "He went way beyond what we would expect of any citizen."
After questioning both the suspect and Strike, Hoover went to his police car and returned a moment later with a composite sketch of a man the department had been looking for in connection with a series of peeping incidents in the neighborhood. By this time, another officer had arrived on the scene to assist Hoover. Strike said the resemblance of the sketch to the man he had led police to was enough to seal his fate. "There was no doubt about it," said Strike. "It looked just like him."
Strike said the officers seemed convinced as well. "As soon as they matched the sketch to him, they cuffed him," he said.
"The suspect looked enough like the composite sketch to raise the officer's suspicions," said Slauson. Slauson said Strike's eyewitness account combined with the suspect's resemblance to the composite sketch constituted enough probable cause for the officer to make an arrest and bring the suspect in for further questioning, booking and processing.
As the officer took the suspect in for booking and processing, Strike hitched a ride with Hoover back to his apartment complex. Hoover needed to investigate the crime scene and Strike simply wanted to return to his wife and relax. As they were pulling into the complex though, Strike said he saw someone he recognized - the second suspect, standing on the street corner. "It was absolutely stupid that he was still standing out there," said Strike. "He was probably still waiting for his buddy."
Slauson said Hoover did arrest and take the second suspect in as well, based on Strike's positive identification of him. "Strike was being keen as far as making observations," said Slauson, "not just picking people out at random."
Unfortunately, said Slauson, the case has come to a standstill.
Regardless of the final outcome, Slauson said he is glad to have Strike in the community. "It made me proud to know people like him are conscientious enough to do their part," said Slauson. "It's a credit to him as an individual and to the training he received as a Marine."