Off-Duty Cop Refuses To Stop Robbery In Progress, So Shopkeeper Takes Care Of Business


When a Portland man walked into a lunchtime robbery in progress at a downtown Central Drugs store (pictured), he backed out and flagged down an officer driving a marked Portland Police Bureau cruiser a block away. He told the officer there was a robbery in progress just down the street, and what happened next almost beggars the imagination:

According to the Portland Oregonian,

The robbery occurred at Central Drugs at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Alder Street shortly after 1 p.m.

A suspect walked in and said he had a gun and would use it if the staff didn’t give him drugs and cash. He also threatened to kill everyone in the store, police said.

That’s about when Anderson, who works at a social software company around the corner on Southwest Third Avenue, entered the drug store to buy aspirin.

“I didn’t notice anything until the pharmacist behind the counter yelled for us to ‘Get out of here!’ We’re closed! ” Anderson said.

“I thought that was kind of weird,” he said.

He looked around, and noticed, “Everyone in here has their hands up.”

He realized he had walked into a robbery and quickly backtracked out of the store with his parents, who were visiting from Delaware. There were about six people inside the pharmacy at the time.

Anderson started dialing 9-1-1 on his cell phone as he walked east on Alder toward Southwest Third Avenue. He was in the middle of dialing when he saw the police car, stopped in southbound traffic on Third Avenue near Alder.

“I ran around to the driver’s side of his vehicle, and said, ‘Hey, there’s a robbery going on just down the block here,'” Anderson said. “I figured that would be faster than calling 9-1-1.”

Anderson said the officer was in uniform, driving a marked patrol car about a block from the robbery.

“He told me he was off duty and I should call 911,” said Rob Anderson, 31. “He rolled up his window and drove away.”

When the officer declined to help, Anderson did dial 9-1-1.

“I felt that the officer was less than helpful,” Anderson said.

Less than helpful? A soldier displaying such cowardice under fire would be court-martialed or shot, but my wallet says this chickenshit (and unnamed) cop will barely get a slap on the wrist.

Unfortunately for the unnamed robber, pharmacist Gary Lundgren didn’t need no stinkin’ badges to help him. He reportedly distracted the robber with a bottle of medications, then retrieved his own handgun and chased the perp out of the store at gunpoint. Lundgren and an employee captured the tweaker and held him until (other) police officers (eventually) arrived.

TTAG has noted the trend of Americans taking responsibility for their own safety, and smoke-checking the occasional bad guy who didn’t read that memo. Friday’s incident was the third time this week that Portland robbery victims chased down and captured robbers for the police to arrest. Maybe Portland should give store owners the stinkin’ badges, because their current holders don’t seem to be using them very effectively.

This incident highlights a couple of the points we’re always harping on around here. First, situational awareness will save your life. Mr. Anderson was just alert enough to realize he was walking into a robbery, and just clever enough to GTFO and call the cavalry. The robber turned out to be unarmed, but Anderson didn’t know that and his decision to retreat was the correct call under the circumstances.

Second, your safety and security is your responsibility. Police rarely disgrace their uniforms with the laziness and cowardice that this officer displayed, but even the bravest of them might not be able to respond in time to save you.

Your life depends on you. To believe otherwise is to be an accomplice to your own victimization.


  1. avatar spymyeyes says:

    If I were you I would retract that “Police rarely disgrace their uniforms with the laziness and cowardice that this officer displayed” statement because they sure do show on a day to day basis that they don’t earn their pay IMHO.

    1. avatar Ben H says:

      Oh but they do. They sit on the side of the side of the road all day, pull you and me over, collect a back door tax, call it a speeding ticket, tell you it’s for your safety, and use the revenue to keep them selves and their buddies employed.

      Remember what Bloomberg said (in a nut shell) it’s our job to keep the cops safe.

      1. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

        Q: Who orders them to collect taxes?
        A: The taxing authorities.
        Q: Where do the authorities get their authority?
        A: The voter.

        Lets try again: Who orders then to collect taxes? Why, the voters do! The voters who want free stuff hire the cops to collect OPM to pay for it.

        Fact: The taxman killed Eric Garner on behalf of the voters of NYC.

      2. avatar Tommy Hobbes says:

        Several issues back TTAG reported on three Connecticut State Police who tried to ruin a man who was within his lawful rights to protest. This was caught on camera. The ACLU helped him. Does anyone know if the state police were ever held accountable? Hope I’m wrong,but this sordid event may go down the memory hole. with the three police officers collecting benefits, salaries, and generous pensions for violating a citizen’s rights. Anyone?

  2. avatar Nate says:

    It is too bad the situation did not allow for the guy to get the off-duty cop’s car number. Good on Anderson and Lundgren plus employee.

    1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

      After I reported on this (but before it was published) the officer actually came forward and admitted that he didn’t respond to the call. The Portland Police Bureau isn’t releasing his name, but I’m glad he had the stones to step up and take whatever lumps the police union will let the Bureau give him.

      1. avatar Totenglocke says:

        Nothing will happen – he was off duty and unions think that the second a clock ticks over, you should refuse to do any work, no matter how much of an emergency it is.

        1. avatar Michael C says:

          Still, he was in a patrol car. The least he could have done was called the robbery-in-progress in on his radio. He didn’t even do that.

  3. avatar Matt in FL says:

    That’s outstanding. He should be outed, and really punished. Like taking his name off every “free coffee” list in town. That’ll show him.

  4. avatar Bill Baldwin says:

    TTAG, y’all are a little hard and just don’t understand, the Oath required by Title 3, Chapter 3.74.030 has changed. It reads as follows:

    I, (unnamed police officer), do solemnly affirm I will support the Constitutions of the United States and of the State of Oregon, the Charter of the City of Portland and its laws; I will faithfully, honestly and ethically perform my duties as a police officer during my continuance therein…. except when I’m off duty.

    Do some research, will ya? /sarc

    1. avatar ektor says:


  5. avatar ektor says:

    Do you think he read the memos from napolitano and bloomberg????

  6. avatar jwm says:

    as a rule i support leo’s, but i recognize that some are duds. what this shows is that at the moment of truth you can only count on yourself. not that we needed to be told that.

  7. avatar Chas says:

    When seconds count, the police are… well, off duty.

    1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

      You should come work for us (for free, that is); that was actually the title for my first draft of the article!

      1. avatar Chas says:

        Great minds think alike, Chris!

  8. avatar nonnamous says:

    He just wanted to get home to his family!

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    Anderson must have missed the sign on the side of the police cruiser. No, not “To Protect and to Serve.” I mean the sign that says “Will Fight Crime for Donuts.”

    Cops aren’t cops anymore. They’re just municipal union employees. They protect themselves and serve themselves and as long as their allegiance is exclusively to their unions, nothing will change.

    1. avatar Pascal says:


      Ralph, I am correct in saying that the SCOTUS has ruled that the police has no duty to respond? Even in a case like this? And, they bear no liability say even if their non-action results in loss of life and even if the officer knew if he did not respond there would be a loss of life, there is still nothing that could be done. Short of dept rules or maybe suspension or being fired (which the Union would fight), he can allow life to be lost and basically walk away.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Why, yes they have. And recently, I might add:

        There’s plenty of Circuit Court and state court rulings that are consistent with this. The most damning is Warren v. District of Columbia.

        Here’s an article written years ago by my friend (now deceased), Pete Kasler, (a JD) a leader in CCW and RKBA issues in California in the 90’s:

        It was Pete who opened my eyes to the established case law in the mid-90’s that LEO’s have no duty to protect individuals.

        I’m now to the point where I believe we should simply sack every LEO but the county sheriff, arm the law-abiding citizenry and get on with the inevitable results at a much lower cost that paying the pampered pensions and health care for the current batch of “professionals,” who cannot be bothered to read the address on a no-knock warrant before they break down the door.

        1. avatar liquidflorian says:

          Yeah, it kinda blows the whole “1*” crap out of the water.

  10. avatar Silver says:

    Part of maturing as a person and growing into adulthood is realizing that one’s own safety is, ultimately, in his own hands. Now, “mature” and “adult” are not traits associated with gun-grabbers or progressives in general, so it’s no surprise that to them the police are the be all end all. The gun grabber/progressive mind never developed into mature adulthood, for any number of psychological and environmental reasons, so to them, their parents were replaced by the government and their babysitters replaced by the police. Is it any wonder they submit to the absolute authority of government and police? Is it any wonder they blindly believe the government can do no wrong and that their babysitters will always be there to take care of everything? Isn’t that what young children believe?

    This story perfectly exemplifies why one must be his own person.

  11. avatar Bill says:

    Read “Dial 911 and Die” by Richard W Stevens. The police have never been held responsible for not protecting anyone.

  12. avatar Aharon says:

    “He told me he was off duty and I should call 911,” said Rob Anderson, 31. “He rolled up his window and drove away.”
    — Was he really off-duty or lying, and what does it matter? It was unprofessional and irresponsible.

    “I felt that the officer was less than helpful,” Anderson said.
    — That is a total Portland response of let’s all be decent and respectful to each other regardless of the situation. The uniformed cop should be kicked out of his job and refused all benefits.

    BTW, I walked within a block of this place on Saturday.

    1. avatar Aharon says:

      “Anderson said he’s not sure if the officer had a good reason or not for not wanting to get involved. He didn’t get his name or car number.”
      — Knowing Portland, the department and union like most police organizations will play defensive and try to protect their own.

      The more people learn about these incidents the more people recognize the need for owning guns.

      1. avatar Pascal says:

        Yes, but the pro-gun groups need to spin that way and give these examples. Note the current anti-gun crowd is talking about shooting Bambi with 100 round clips — nobody is talking about self-defense.

        1. avatar Aharon says:

          Spot on.

      2. avatar matt says:

        The more people learn about these incidents the more people recognize the need for owning guns.

        And how unnecessary the police really are.

  13. avatar Mr. Pierogie says:

    Don’t they have essentially the same police powers when they are off duty? It was safe to assume that lives were in danger and this guy couldn’t be bothered to at least use his radio and call for backup? Well that’s just great.

  14. avatar Richard says:

    I live in the area and the police officer has turned himself into Internal Affairs. Not suprisingly the officer’s name has not been released.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      If this is true, then this is a good thing. Honestly, I feel better about this than I probably would after a big, blown-up investigation. I still don’t expect much more than a slap on the wrist, but the fact that he owned up to it indicates knowledge of wrongdoing. It’s the difference between “sorry you did it” and “sorry you got caught.” Any parent (or child, for that matter) knows the difference. I don’t remember every time I’ve apologized in my life, but I remember a significant number of the times I did it voluntarily, because I felt it was necessary, even though I hadn’t gotten caught.

    2. avatar Edwin Herdman says:

      Waiting for the “oh snap” moment. At least there’s an admission it was a dumb thing to do.

  15. avatar Todd Price says:

    Being off duty and not in uniform would be one thing, but this guy was in uniform and in a squad car!!!! No excuse for failing to respond to an active felony in progress. The fact that he acknowledges that the issue is worthy of a 911 call before driving away truly is the icing on the cake.

    He should be stripped of his badge and thrown to the curb, not that it is likely to happen in my former home city…

  16. avatar Don says:

    I guess this Portland cop took Bloomberg’s advice to go on strike…

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      And the citizens took care of business like they should.

      Most people just don’t understand that police officers are not personal security guards or body guards. That is up to the individual. If you are wealthy, you can pay someone else to do that. The rest of us have to protect ourselves.

      Along those lines, I had a stunning encounter with a sheriff deputy last night at a car-deer accident scene. Fortunately I didn’t hit the deer … I was hoping to take it home. I decided to tell the deputy that I have a concealed carry license and was armed in case I exposed it while loading up the deer or something. We chatted as the deputy wrote up the roadkill tag for me. I was stunned when the deputy told me he wishes everyone would get their concealed carry license. He was totally serious.

      So the moral of the story: get your concealed carry license and carry all the time … better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Remember law enforcement has no legal obligation to protect anyone much less even respond — however late they might show up to the party.

  17. avatar matt says:

    Why was the cop driving a police car rather than his own? Just pissing away tax payer gasoline. Welfare queens extraordinaire.

  18. avatar MDC says:

    When in uniform and driving a tax payed marked cruiser,guess what,your a mark.If you can’t take the responsibility when in uniform,ditch the car and wear civilian cloths when off.

  19. avatar ST says:

    Considering how yellow big city police leadership can be, this turd of an officer is probably being awarded a medal for “Courageous Restraint”.

    That’s code for “He’s being promoted because he saved the city of Portland millions of dollars in potential legal fees by letting the citizen/victim do his job for him”

  20. avatar ready,fire,aim says:

    to serve and protect

  21. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Man, what is it with these crims not dying? We could use some happy endings up in this biatch!!

    1. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

      I, for one, think it’s fantastically good news that a pharmacist did not have to face the immeasurable trauma of taking a human life. I don’t like it when a LEO has to do it, either. Yeah, they signed up knowing the risks, but I would prefer that none of them ever have to wrestle with the emotional fallout.

  22. avatar Sanchanim says:

    What is this world coming to.

  23. avatar Ken Wilkinson says:

    Last year 140 police officers gave their life in the US to serve and protect.
    We don’t all run.

    1. avatar spymyeyes says:

      Of course that is true Ken.

      The LEO’s that respect the public and treat them fairly will always have my best manners & compliance on display when dealing with such a person as long as my rights are not violated.

      But even you & JWM (another alleged cop who posts here) must admit that there are WAYYYYYYYYY to many of the other kind of cops out there that are on a power trip and let their personal feelings rule their decisions and that is why they get the title of “pigs”.

      If the police union would “police” their own ranks and get rid of the thugs, criminals, and burn-outs instead of transfering them around the country like pedophile catholic priests, then we would not be inundated with stories of police abuses on a daily basis, year after year, decade after decade, and more people would be willing to help the police rather than run from them and get a bullet or two in the back like in california.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        ok. let me try this 1 more time. i’m not a cop. never have been. after a hitch in the service i worked at a federal agency for 10 years. after that 1 year at a stae prison(employyee) and after that 21 years at a city job, not law enforcement related. until i retired. i’m on the record for demilitarizing the police and i think bad cops should be weeded out. but i realize also how foolish it is to say that we don,t need cops at all. people who wish for that have never been in real chaos or anarchy. i’ve seen it up close and it sucks. so i’m not a cop, but if i was in a bad spot i’d call a ccop before i would anyone foolish enough to think they’re not needed.

      2. avatar percynjpn says:


    2. avatar matt says:

      Most police on the job deaths are due to traffic accidents, not cops ‘not running away’ or otherwise being courageous. And 140 is very low compared to almost all other occupations, it is more dangerous to be a member of management or a sales team than being a cop. Some of the BLS 2010 fatal occupational injuries statistics:

      Transportation – 1115
      Construction – 760
      Management – 533
      Maintenance – 351
      Sales – 274
      Farming – 260

      Instead of manning up like everyone else does, these cowards insist on routinely violating our rights in the name of officer safety.

    3. avatar ektor says:

      I know Ken// personally// I know some of the kids here in town and it does worries me because they won’t back down for nothing, they are good and do right or try to/even when the perp is trying real hard to get hurt.

      1. avatar Andromida says:

        That’s also a reporter who has cevored the cops too much: Police canine sheesh. I know wading through cop press releases can turn brains to mush, but this paper is on the slippy slope of printing a story with perps in the lede.

    4. avatar Accur81 says:


      I’m an LEO as well, and respect the sacrifices of those who have gone before me, as I also have in the Marine Corps.

      @Everyone else. This LEO clearly failed, and his behavior was cowardly and reprehensible.

  24. avatar Ken Wilkinson says:

    Ok so we have a few un happy citizens who have little or no use for alleged cops,
    next time you have someone kicking in your door in the middle of the night, call a construction worker, sales agent or farmer for help.

    1. avatar liquidflorian says:

      Will they clean up the mess faster after I ventilate the intruder? Did you miss the discussion where it was pointed out that LEOs have no duty to protect the citizens? …and how exactly is a 10min phone call going to save me from someone actively breaking down my door? The phrase “when seconds count, police are minutes away” rings true for a reason.

      1. avatar spymyeyes says:

        Thank you liquid, I was going to reply along the same lines but I am not as nice as you are and he is already getting mad and childish in his responses so I will not comment anymore to him.

        1. avatar liquidflorian says:

          No worries… I don’t want to piss in anyone’s Wheaties, I respect the job LEOs have to do. It sucks being the sober adult and responding to domestic calls, DUIs and stuff like that. I have friends in Oakland PD that face legitimate threats of violence just for being on duty. And stuff like Gang A is shooting it out with Gang B is a fight I really don’t want to participate in if I don’t have to.

          Its just this “1*” self congratulatory “I’m here to save your ass not kiss it” stuff grates on me, because I know they’re not actually there to “save me.” I’m sure they would if they could, but its just not the case.

    2. avatar percynjpn says:

      “next time you have someone kicking in your door in the middle of the night, call a construction worker, sales agent or farmer for help.”

      So who should you call when it’s a SWAT team kicking in your door without knocking or identifying themselves, throwing flash grenades, aiming multiple rifles and shotguns at your family and probably shooting your dog just for kicks, which these days happens all the time to innocent victims of police incompetence and brutality? Don’t suppose it would help much dialing 911.

    3. avatar Niccolo says:

      Ken, since you are obviously a man learned enough to lecture to the rest of us, please condescend to inform us, what are the odds that it is the police kicking down the door?

      One in ten? One in five? Am I getting warm?

  25. avatar Ken Wilkinson says:

    If all law enforcement Officers were to be declared unneccessary and removed from society, How long would the world as we know it remain in a livable condition?

    1. avatar Liquidflorian says:

      Non-sequitur. …but sense everyone else is tired of you I’ll play along. In perpetuity. I’ll cite the James-Younger gangs illfated raid on Northfiled MI and let you fill in the blanks.

    2. avatar Joshua Dale says:

      Probably pretty long given that local communities would do what local communities did for centuries before the birth of “professional” LEOs, i.e, put together volunteer police forces and/or hire private security.

      I’m getting really tired of “professional LEOs” who retire at 102 percent pay at age 50 chiding us on how much WE need THEM. You want our respect, you earn it, you don’t whine about how you deserve it.

    3. avatar matt says:

      How long would the world as we know it remain in a livable condition?

      It would actually get better. Cops are some of the biggest criminals out there. Just today, a NYPD gang detective was found to be kidnapping people, and holding them for ransom in his garage.

      And what happened to him? He was suspended from his job, not fired! And he was not charged with a crime! I wish I could get away with felonies because I had a badge.

  26. avatar Ken Wilkinson says:

    Thank you for all your well thought out responses, maybe need to cut back on the coffee.

    1. avatar Joshua Dale says:

      We’ll cut back on the coffee. You cut back on the donuts.

  27. avatar Greg in Allston says:

    One would be wise to conduct one’s affairs under the supposition that you are well, truly and completely on your own. Prepare, train and plan accordingly.

    Regarding the police, whom we pay dearly for, to serve and protect us: Seriously? As this case points out all too clearly, when seconds count the police are only minutes away. Even when they’re at the scene at the exact moment when the deal is going down, you rely on them at your peril, not theirs. This particular cop is a disgrace to himself, his fraternity, this country of ours and to humanity.

    Sadly, this gutless wonder, this “Only One”, is the embodiment of all we have come to expect from our Public Payroll Parasites (P3, pee cubed). If he were my son I would be deeply ashamed.

    Yes, case law is replete with decisions giving cops in particular, and public servants in general, almost complete and utter immunity from the repercussions of their failure to uphold the fundamental responsibilities that they are sworn to. Unfortunately, that’s how the game is played, not how it should be played. It’s a hard life wherever you go, get over it.

    In the civics classes that I took, I was taught that the law is in every law abiding citizen’s hands. Far too many of us have outsourced that essential aspect of the social compact that is our responsibility to uphold and maintain. Hey, it’s not my job; I don’t want to get involved; let the professionals handle it, that’s what they are paid for. Sorry, but from my perspective and in my opinion , that kind of rationalization just doesn’t cut it. That kind of rationalization has gotten us to the very sad state of affairs that we currently enjoy.

    I don’t know about y’all but this kind of story makes my blood boil.

    BTW, if you want to raise your blood pressure a few points, please read this story by Victor David Hanson over at PJMedia;

    1. avatar matt says:

      In the civics classes that I took, I was taught that the law is in every law abiding citizen’s hands. Far too many of us have outsourced that essential aspect of the social compact that is our responsibility to uphold and maintain. Hey, it’s not my job; I don’t want to get involved; let the professionals handle it, that’s what they are paid for. Sorry, but from my perspective and in my opinion , that kind of rationalization just doesn’t cut it.

      The problem is that when you take the law in to your own hands, the cops will arrest you, and the states attorney and judge will give you more time than the perpetrator. Look at what happened with George Zimmerman, he is facing life in prison, Treyvon Martin because he was a minor, probably would have gotten probation if he survived.

      The police, prosecutors and judges deliberately attempt to create a monopoly on the legitimized use of violence, in order to protect their over paid positions and status is society. Nearly everyone is willing to take the law in to their own hands, they aren’t just realistically able to.

      1. avatar Greg in Allston says:

        Matt, I’m not talking vigilante justice here but the fact that under the American social compact and our form of governance, we citizens have enormous power. The fact that this has been turned on its ear over the last five or six decades notwithstanding. The Massachusetts AG, Martha Coakley, is infamous for stating that here in the Commonwealth “we discourage self help”. Sadly, that position is all too common amongst the governing elite and their sycophants.

        In the early 19th century, Sir Robert Peel (for whom the term “Bobbies” was coined) developed a simple set of principles for policing. Number 7 states; “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence. ” This is where we need to return.

    2. avatar bontai Joe says:

      Greg, I read the story in your link and can say with a few minor changes, it describes New Jersey as well. Very sad to read, but all too true.

  28. avatar Jay says:

    I do not blame the cop — who wasn’t a cop at the time. Why risk his life for those Portlanders/Californians? It isn’t his resposibility/duty! He wasn’t on the clock.

    You want protection buy a gun and learn to use it. Grow the **** UP!!!

    1. avatar matt says:

      I do not blame the cop — who wasn’t a cop at the time.

      If he wasnt a cop at the time, then why was he using police assets (cruiser) for personal causes?

  29. avatar philthegardner says:

    In every bushel you may find a bad apple. But that doesn’t make all apples bad

    1. avatar matt says:

      The entire orchard is infested with Venturia Inaequalis.

  30. avatar IdahoPete says:

    I have a wonderful solution for this problem in Portland:

    Install “ON DUTY/OFF DUTY” signs on every police car, just like they do on taxis! Make them really big, and arrange them so they can be seen form the side of the police car. That way, when an officer is off duty, cruising back to the HQ, the citizens will KNOW he is not available to protect and to serve.

    This will save a great deal of embarrassment for both the police and the subjects (oops, civilians).

  31. avatar Niccolo says:

    What was he doing dressed as a police officer in a police cruiser while off duty?

    My Latin is piss poor, but isn’t he ipso facto (in and of itself) on the job if he’s driving around in a marked car while in uniform?

    Mind boggling.

  32. avatar oopsdidisaythatoutloud says:

    Hell he was on scene 90 minutes before the Seatac cops would have been, and he was at least as much help.

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