Bound, naked in a Subaru: Valentine’s Day role-playing ends badly


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It was Valentine’s Day in Portlandia -- should anyone have been upset about a little friendly bondage action in the back of a Subaru?

Well, yes. The Portland Police Bureau was plenty upset, and the lovers, identified as Nikolas Harbar, 31, and Stephanie Pelzner, 26, are under arrest on charges of disorderly conduct in the second degree.


Portland may be a city that has always prided itself on its eccentricities, but police said the red alert that went out when Pelzner was glimpsed bound and naked in the back of the car was a Valentine too far.

It began shortly after noon on Tuesday, when someone at the New Seasons Market in north Portland reported that they had seen a naked female with duct tape on her mouth tied up in the back of a blue Subaru Legacy.

The man driving the car had told the witness they ‘were just having some fun,’ police said in their report, but the woman in the back of the car ‘seemed hazy.’

The witness phoned in the license plate to the car, and the search was on.

Authorities in Washington state were alerted, in case the car traveled north across the state line on Interstate 5. Portland police began combing the city’s streets, while a patrol car zeroed in on the address where the car was registered.

By 12:56 p.m., the Subaru drove up, and when officers closed in, Harbar told them the couple was ‘doing some Valentine’s Day role-playing,’ the police report said. Police confirmed from Pelzner ‘that she was voluntarily bound and nude in the back of the Subaru,’ it said.

Not feeling in a loving mood -- especially since at least nine police cars were tied up for 20 minutes during the search -- authorities booked both of them into the Multnomah County Jail.


Since then, the Portland Police Bureau’s Facebook page has been flooded with comments, most from citizens wondering why people can’t be left to their own devices in the backs of their cars.

‘Nothing wrong with that, they were just trying to have some fun, you monsters,’ one man wrote.

‘Keep Portland weird, man,’ urged another.

Others offered helpful suggestions for pursuing the case: ‘She should be booked for not wearing her safety belt.’

Police say they had no way of knowing they weren’t looking for a potential murder victim.

‘The concern is their actions created a pretty substantial public alarm, to the point where you have a 911 caller saying she’s concerned about this person tied up naked in the back of a car,’ Lt. Robert King, bureau spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times.

‘Why would the officers think it was a Valentine’s Day thing?’ he said. ‘This kind of stuff, whether it’s being naked in the back of a car tied up, or running down the street with an airsoft gun pretending to shoot at people, it’s not OK, because it creates a lot of concern from the public.’


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-- Kim Murphy in Seattle