PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a five thousand dollar reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.
Wednesday brought some scary moments for a homeowner and mail carrier in Portland's Overlook neighborhood after a porch pirate stole a package, then pepper-sprayed both men when they chased after him.
Ben, the homeowner, did not want his last name or face used in this story. He said that on Wednesday evening, someone stole a package from his porch. He lives in the area of N Willamette Boulevard and N Gay Avenue.
"I'm thinking, 'I'll just find the person, call the police and let them do what they do,'" Ben said. "I'm walking down the street, I see the mail carrier, he gets in the back of his van and I was going to chat with him ... someone approaches him from the back, grabs packages, they get into a scuffle and he starts chasing him."
Ben said when the mail carrier gave chase, that's when he started running after the thief as well. Ben said he assumed it was the same guy who stole packages from his porch. During the chase, Ben said he and the mail carrier were both pepper-sprayed by the thief.
"(The thief) maces the mail carrier, sprayed something in his eyes, then I started chasing him, he sprays mace towards me," Ben said. "Luckily I turn my face, it got me more in the side of my face and not directly in my eyes. I chased him for a couple of blocks and then called police."
Police said there were several calls from the neighborhood about someone stealing packages. The U.S. Postal Service confirmed that the mail carrier did return to work on Thursday.
Ben said he's glad that the thief wasn't armed with a knife or a gun.
"Maybe they fell on hard times," Ben said. "I'm not here to judge, but we cannot be macing each other in the streets."
The suspect is described as a male between 5'9" and 5'10" with a slim build. He was last seen wearing black clothing, a black hooded sweatshirt and a black backpack. He ran from the scene heading west towards north Delaware avenue.
A five thousand dollar reward will be offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455 with reference case number 3918047.