Joshua Lamb broke into the wrong car, according to Portland police reports.

Lamb was issued a summons Monday to appear in court on misdemeanor charges of burglary to a vehicle and theft after he was accused of breaking into a pickup truck in the One City Center parking garage.

The pickup belongs to a Portland police officer who was working a paid detail in the neighborhood on Monday and one of the stolen items was a medallion of St. Michael, patron saint of officers, said Lt. James Sweatt, head of the criminal investigations division.

Lamb, 25, of Portland, was spotted by a security guard leaving the garage at Monument Square with a pair of Nike sneakers. The guard recognized him as a suspect in previous car burglaries. Lamb dropped the sneakers and walked away, Sweatt said.

Police were called and interviewed him, but at that point, there had been no report of a crime.

The off-duty officer – whom the department would not identify other than to say he is new to the force – returned to his pickup and discovered the medallion, sneakers, pocketknife and a small amount of cash missing from the truck. Police suspect the thief stole the items by opening the small sliding window at the rear of the cab.


The officer reported the theft and patrol officers tracked down Lamb again. This time, he cooperated and produced the missing medallion. The engraving on the back identified the officer and Lamb realized that the two had grown up together, Sweatt said.

Lamb became extremely apologetic about breaking into the officer’s car, Sweatt said.

They had been friends but had taken different paths, he said.

Lamb has had scores of contacts with local police, including several arrests for car burglaries and drug possession.

“He said, ‘I feel bad about what I did,’ and wanted to apologize personally,” Sweatt said. Lamb has a court date scheduled for June 25.

Car burglaries have been an ongoing problem in the city’s parking garages, which often are targeted by thieves because they have many cars in one space partially sheltered from witnesses, and because it is commonplace to see people walking through a garage.


At about the same time Lamb was being confronted, another suspect was seen opening car doors in the same garage.

A customer spotted a man with a red bandanna on his head trying door handles to see if they were unlocked. The customer reported it to a security guard, who notified police and followed the man when he left the garage. Police got the man’s identity and confirmed he was carrying items that appeared to have been stolen from cars, including compact discs, sunglasses, a baseball hat, umbrella and a baggie with Band-Aids.

The man was not charged because nobody at that point had reported a burglary. Such reports are sometimes delayed until the victim realizes some items are missing. The man will be charged if police learn someone’s car was broken into and those items were taken, police said.


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