PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The so-called “kingpin of bike thefts,” Leroy Parsons Jr., who has been booked into the Multnomah County jail about 80 times since 1997, was recently sentenced to prison for violating his 2015 probation.

Over the course of two decades, 50-year-old Parsons has been the subject of more than 200 police reports, the Multnomah County district attorney’s office said. 

His forte? “He’s kind of the trafficker of stolen bikes,” Portland police officer Dave Sanders said in a release from the DA. “These criminals are semi-organized in the sense that they know what they are stealing and they usually use these bikes as street currency a lot of times to trade for drugs. He was kind of the hub for a lot of those transactions.”

Parsons was sentenced to 30 months in prison in December 2015 after he pleaded guilty to three counts of theft. As part of the sentence, any probation he would get would preclude him from possessing a bike, computer tablet, camera or gift card without his probation officer’s approval.

But in July, Parsons was found sleeping in a tent in Northeast Portland and officers saw some of those items in plain view.

He was booked on July 28 for being in possession of stolen property. But in a court appearance August 8, the DA’s office opted to change the charge to a probation violation.

Judge Eric Dahlin sentenced him to 25 months in prison.

Stuart Elgin with River City Bicycles said bike theft is a big problem. 

“We see a lot of bike theft,” Elgin said. “I have to take everything off my bike. All my lights, any bag I have. I have to lock my bike up heavily.”

Portland police has a bike theft task force that investigates stolen bikes, which are often sold to drug dealers. Police advise all bike owners to record their serial number, register their bike and always use a U-lock.

Bike theft prevention tips