A reporter in Portland has been arrested in connection with arson and vandalism cases involving multiple houses of worship in the area, according to local law enforcement officials.
Michael E. Bivins, 34, was booked Saturday into the Multnomah County Detention Center on three criminal mischief charges and one arson charge.
The Oregonian reported that Bivins is accused of “spraying an antisemitic death threat” outside one of the synagogues where staff also found “scorch marks from recent fires.” He is also accused of returning to the same synagogue and spraying more graffiti and throwing a large rock through a window, along with breaking a window at a different synagogue and starting a fire at a mosque.
The Portland Police Bureau highlighted the following details surrounding the alleged crimes:
- April 30th, 2022 – Congregation Shir Tikvah 2420 NE Sandy Blvd – Broken Window. Charge: Criminal Mischief in the First Degree
- May 2nd, 2022 – Congregation Beth Israel 1972 NW Flanders – Graffiti on Synagogue. Charge: Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree
- May 3rd, 2022 – Muslim Community Center of Portland – Fire to occupied Mosque. Charge: Arson in the First Degree (Measure 11)
- May 4th, 2022 – Congregation Beth Israel 1972 NW Flanders – Large rock thrown through library window. Charge: Criminal Mischief in the First Degree
BREAKING: Portland reporter Mike Bivins has been arrested over vandalism attacks on synagogues & attempted arson at a mosque. He's been charged w/multiple felonies. His last DM to me in 2020 was a message critical of me posting #Antifa riot mugshots. https://t.co/piHPr2AkUe pic.twitter.com/vbihNL9p6B
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) May 7, 2022
Authorities said that Bivins was arrested after he visited a television news station, KPTV FOX 12, and demanded to speak to a reporter.
“On Wednesday, Bivins came by the FOX 12 station asking to speak to a reporter,” the outlet said in a statement. “He said he was the one vandalizing places of worship, gave names and locations of places he had been to and vandalized, and said he would not stop committing these crimes before stating he would come back to the station Friday afternoon.”
Authorities said that federal law enforcement officials had been notified and that additional charges may be forthcoming.
“This is certainly noteworthy that someone would contact a news station and want to discuss crimes they committed,” Kevin Allen of Portland Police said. “I’m not sure what the motivation there was, but we are certainly grateful to you and KPTV for working with our investigators so we could get him arrested, get him into custody and find appropriate charges for him. It’s important to note too that this is early in the investigation. I know the detective is continuing to work on what charges could be appropriate and we could be putting more charges forth going forward.”