Man climbs into backseat of unoccupied police car, falls asleep, goes to jail

Man climbs into backseat of unoccupied police car, falls asleep, goes to jail
Ruben James Turner III.

PORTLAND, Ore. - "pleH".

That's the word ("Help" written backwards) that a Portland Police Bureau officer noticed Tuesday morning, written in the condensation on the back window of a police cruiser that was parked at the Southeast Precinct parking lot on East Burnside Street.

Inside, there was a man hollering to be let out.

The man, 30-year-old Ruben James Turner III, told police he was looking for a place to sleep, when he found the police car unlocked. Police say it appears he rummaged through the cruiser's glove box and detached its Mobile Data Computer.

Then he climbed into the backseat.

Turner apparently didn't realize the back doors of police cars can't be opened from the inside. Turner was trapped all night.

But police say Turner didn't just fall asleep and wait for someone to let him out. They say he tore into the backseat's headrest and cushioning, causing extensive damage.

The Southeast Precinct is not staffed 24 hours a day. Turner had to wait until Tuesday morning to be let out.

The car suffered enough interior damage that it had to be taken out of service and sent to the city's repair lot.

Turner was arrested and transferred to another police car, so he could be taken to the Multnomah County Jail. He is charged with First-degree criminal mischief, second-degree trespassing, and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle.