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Suspected shoplifter nearly hits pedestrians while attempting getaway in stolen car, crashes into vacant storefront

Video captured by employees at a nearby store shows a man driving up onto the sidewalk and into the building before running from the stolen car.

PORTLAND, Ore. — On Friday morning, Portland police said a man who shoplifted from the Gateway Ross tried to make a getaway, but instead drove up onto the sidewalk and crashed into an empty storefront while witnesses filmed the entire scene. 

"Next thing I know I hear my staff just going crazy," said Robert Powers, a manager at the T-Mobile store in the shopping center. "They’re like, 'You got to come out here' — he ran into the building ... he literally drove through the building."

"I think that the customer I was working with was like, 'Oh that guy is stealing something.' I was like, 'Oh that's normal — people always stealing stuff from Ross,'" said Jacy Banco, who also works at T-Mobile. "Then we saw someone drive up behind this car and kind of stop him from backing up."

Blocked in and unable to back up, video showed that the driver decided to instead to hit the gas and drive forward, up onto the sidewalk. While initially driving down the sidewalk, he suddenly veered right and smashed through the windows of a storefront before he got out of the car and ran.

Officers said that the suspect jumped onto a bus that wasn't in service, which is where they caught up with him and arrested him. 

Portland police identified the man as Nigel Davis. Court records reveal a long history of criminal activity in the Portland area, dating back to the mid 90s. He pled guilty to a similar crime back in 2020.

Both T-Mobile employees told KGW that some of their coworkers are still shaken up, though they said this shopping center see its fair share of crime. 

"It could've been just another typical day where a person got away but now, we got the news here and we've got destroyed property and we've got some pretty shaken up people — my coworker almost got hit as well," Banco said. 

"I'm just really glad that our store was fine, no one was hurt, and at the end of the day, it was an empty building so ... glass can be repaired, lives that are lost can't," said Powers. 

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