One of the most outrageous Portland, Oregon area street characters is Jeffrey Dwayne Wilson, 44. He was arrested for the second time this year since January, this time facing serious charges in connection with a church burglary where a church was so damaged and vandalized by him that they were unable to hold Sunday Holy week services. Police now say that they suspect Wilson of more church burglaries. Churches can rest a little easier knowing that this guy is in custody. Holy week for many churches can now go on as scheduled.
Jeffrey Dwayne Wilson had only had previous arrests way back in 2001, appearing to most persons only to be some mentally ill street person. But, in the past year, he began to show up at numerous convenience stores, often run by Asian owners, acting like he was hungry and needed to sell a few belongings to buy something to eat, hence he earned the outrageous nickname of “Lucky Bargain Man”. Most businesses no doubt either told him that that they weren’t interested, to go away, or a few gave him something to eat, and then asked him to leave. But, “Lucky Bargain Man” was a mostly annoying personality that seemed like he was deeply disturbed and needed some serious psychiatric help. He looked like one of those people who fell through the cracks of the system with so many budget cutbacks.
Like many mentally ill persons, previous arrests for this guy only seemed to include mostly nonsense charges of trespass, as homeless persons usually look for some abandoned building to sleep in for a night or longer until they kicked out. Absentee landlords who leave property vacant for years help to contribute to problems like this as they buy a junk piece of property and hold on to it for years in hopes of selling it for a real high price to be torn down to a developer as a new business site.
But, in January, things started to turn against “Lucky Bargain Man” when he faced a more serious arrest for Theft III. Now, a surveillance tape at the church that Wilson was suspected of burglarizing yielded a pretty good tape of Wilson caught in the act riding his bicycle away with stolen property from the church after causing extensive damage by breaking off door knobs and smashing and grabbing whatever he could, leaving a wide path of destruction behind him. Like almost any church would, the pastor said that that he would have gladly have helped out Wilson with some sort of aid if he would have only asked.
Wilson’s descent from from just a merely annoying homeless person into a burglar probably stemmed from his admission that he was was using meth recently. This drug seems to spur a lot of crime and to make persons who aren’t that great much worse.
Holy Week is now looking better for many churches. They can have less fear that they will be hit by burglary or vandalism before Easter now. With “Lucky Bargain Man” probably off the streets for a while now, things are looking better for churches to go back to the business of charity to the poor and for uplifting the spirits of the faithful.