Suspected arsonist visits local FOX TV news station, later arrested by police

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Portland Police released these images of a suspected arsonist and vandal who targeted houses of worship. (Portland Police Bureau)

A suspected arsonist is behind bars after police in Portland, Oregon said he vandalized several houses of worship before visiting a television news station. 

Authorities identified the suspect as 34-year-old Michael Bivins of Portland. He was booked in the Multnomah County Detention Center.

Police said between April and May, he vandalized three synagogues in which he broke windows with a large rock and sprayed graffiti. Bivins is also believed to have set fire to a mosque.

He’s charged with criminal mischief in the first and third degrees as well as arson in the first degree.

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Authorities said they arrested Bivins, with the assistance of Beaverton Police, after he visited KPTV FOX 12-a television news station, demanding to speak to a reporter. 

"On Wednesday, Bivins came by the FOX 12 station asking to speak to a reporter," the news station wrote on its website. "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."

"After he left the station, FOX 12 contacted authorities, sharing the information he had provided. Meanwhile, police say he went back to Beth Israel and threw a large rock through a library window," the station added. 

Police said the investigation continues, and federal investigators may also get involved. 

"This is certainly noteworthy that someone would contact a news station and want to discuss crimes they committed," Kevin Allen of Portland Police told the outlet. "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."

This story was reported from Los Angeles.