PORTLAND, Oregon – Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced that JJ Ben, 28 pled guilty to Robbery in the Second Degree with a Firearm and Felony Attempt to Elude on Thursday, December 29. A Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge sentenced him to 60 months in prison.
In January 2022, Ben committed a series of robberies in Vancouver, Washington. He subsequently crossed state lines into Oregon. Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) alerted Portland law enforcement to an incoming red Jeep Patriot, occupied by Ben, responsible for robberies in the Vancouver area. A Portland Police detective responded by driving in the area of North Portland, in anticipation of a potential threat to public safety.
Moments later, dispatch alerted the detective of a reported robbery in the area of Northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard and Northeast Mason Street. Ben drove up to a woman walking to her vehicle. She became concerned and entered her car and locked the doors. Ben then exited his vehicle and attempted to open the woman’s driver’s side door, which was locked. He then pointed a firearm at her, later found to be unloaded, and demanded her purse. The victim handed over her wallet, which was attached to her phone. The victim then used her “Find My Phone” application and relayed its location to responding Portland Police officers.
Officers located the red Jeep Patriot in the area of North Terry Street and North Kerby Avenue. When officers turned on their lights and sirens, Ben began driving the Jeep at a rate of 50-60 miles in an attempt to elude police before crashing into another vehicle at the intersection of North Lombard Street and North Commercial Avenue. Officers then took Ben into custody. Portland police returned the stolen items to the female victim. Ben will serve 60 months for his Washington charges concurrently.
“Mr. Ben intentionally placed his robbery victims in fear for their lives and recklessly endangered the lives of motorists and pedestrians during his elude. Mr. Ben’s series of robberies came to a swift end thanks to the quick actions of the victim, the Vancouver Police Department, and the Portland Police Bureau, Deputy District Attorney Eric Palmer said.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office thanks the members of the Portland Police Bureau, CRESA, and the Vancouver Police Department for their work on this case.