PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A SE Portland neighborhood says they’ve been targeted by a man on a bike who has been smashing their windshields as they’re driving.
After two people shared their own stories online, other neighbors came forward to them to say they’ve also been targeted in Portland’s Sunnyside neighborhood just west of Mt Tabor.
The attack came out of nowhere, according to victims. Last weekend, Steve Magnuson was driving along SE 49th near Hawthorne, when a man on a bike smashed his windshield — all caught on dashcam.
“He stood up and sort of steadied himself and just took a big swing with a rock or something hard, right into my windshield,” said Magnuson, who went on to add he didn’t see where the man went off to but later found the same bike with a cart attached in a nearby homeless camp.
When he contacted police, they say they recognized the suspect, identifying him as 51-year-old Robert Casey McClatchey.
“I took it kind of personally like, ‘oh, there’s a mark,’ he reeled it back and swung,” said Magnuson. “Apparently he’s done it to a lot of other people in the neighborhood.”
Another neighbor — who wished to remain anonymous — says the same thing happened to her a few weeks ago near 42nd and Belmont. She says she saw a man on a bicycle pulling a cart and pulled over to give him room. She says the man threw what appeared to be a coffee cup at her car, which she says she later found had paint in it, splattering near her tires.
She says as he got closer, he raised his hand, and she thought maybe he was going to wave and thank her for pulling over — not expecting what came next.
“Instead, he took something like a really heavy glass bottle and he just started smashing at my windshield, right in front of my face. My windshield shattered. It didn’t break through but there were shards of glass everywhere,” said the woman. “It was a violent attack, completely unprovoked.”
She says her daughter is a teen driver who also drives in the neighborhood and she worries for her family’s safety while pointing out that violence like what she experienced should have harsher penalties.
“I went home and called the police and when the officer came, he said, ‘well even if we can find him, he’ll just get a $100 citation,'” the woman told KOIN 6. “When people talk about why they’re leaving Portland, it’s not because there’s too much traffic, it’s not because it’s too expensive, it’s not because their favorite coffee shop closed. It’s because it’s too violent. I have lived in Portland since 1996 and I’ve lived through a lot of ups and downs. It has never been this openly violent.”
Magnuson says he was also frustrated at the seemingly low charge for the crime, but at the same time, expressed sympathy for the homeless and says he recognizes they need help and until that happens, instances like this will only continue.
“I know the system doesn’t work for them. Just to have a regular job, you have to have a brain that works and be willing to go to work and function at your job,” said Magnuson. “That’s a bar right now that’s too high for a lot of people and without that changing, things are bound to get worst.”
The suspect, McClatchey, has a long criminal history according to court records, including a similar 2021 case, involving throwing heavy items at a windshield. Portland Police say McClatchey faces second-degree criminal mischief in this case, as well, and is expected in court soon.