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Valentine's Day in Portland: 'No, honey, I said M&Ms!'

February 15, 2012 |  1:36 pm

Portland Valentine's Day lovers
Keep the government out of the back of my Subaru!

By now you've no doubt read or heard about the Portland couple arrested after an attempted bit of Valentine's Day, uh, romantic role-playing went awry.

Seems that 26-year-old Stephanie Pelzner was in the back seat of a Subaru Legacy driven by 31-year-old Nikolas Harbar and, well, Pelzner was tied up, and had duct tape over her mouth, and was, well, yes, naked. And someone at a New Seasons Market spotted her, and I guess that even in a Portland market parking lot this seemed a bit odd. 

Now, perhaps Harbar went to the market looking for roses and candy for his sweetheart, and they were sold out, so being a man, he said, "I know what sounds romantic," and Pelzner, being a woman, didn't want to hurt his feelings and say, "No, really, a card is fine," and ...

Anyway, in a kind of screwball comedy of errors that Hollywood once turned out by the dozens, concerned citizens called the Portland police and the police dispatched nine cars and the officers tracked the couple down to their residence and Harbar explained they were just having a little Valentine's Day fun and Pelzner said she was fine (I guess someone removed the duct tape) -- but the police booked them on charges of disorderly conduct in the second degree, which is apparently what the charge is for in essence annoying the police in Portland.

And to think, I got M&Ms for Valentine's Day.

Now, I've heard of the "broken windows" policy of policing, but this is my first experience with "peeping Tom" policing.

Like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle, did I fall asleep for a year and now it turns out that Rick Santorum is president?

Are there now little drones flying around the nation's skies equipped with cameras that sense body heat and alert police to those being naked and naughty in mid-priced Japanese imports?

Have lovers' lanes been outlawed?  After all, they are a kind of gateway drug; unlike Vegas, what happens there doesn't stay there. Just ask Bristol Palin.

Or perhaps this is the latest example of the class warfare sparked by the Democrats?  Would Harbar and Pelzer have been OK if they'd been in a BMW or Mercedes?

So many questions, so little duct tape -- and clothing. 

Really, though, I understand the concerns of the citizens who called police. I lived in a small town once. Your business is everyone's business. Plus, you can't be too careful these days.

And I applaud the police for taking it seriously, I do.

But why the charges?  Why the mug shots?  Once the truth became known, wasn't embarrassment punishment enough?  Do we really want to make "hanky panky in a moving vehicle" a criminal offense? Wasn't Prohibition bad enough?

I visited Portland recently.  Nice place.  Has dirt streets, with street signs and all, right in the middle of town.

What it doesn't have, I guess, is a police department with a sense of humor.

So my advice to Stephanie and Nikolas -- and all you other crazy lovebirds in Portland: Try M&Ms next year instead.


Valentine's Day: When love hurts

Valentine's Day: Symbiotic love connection

Pension spiking: Turning sick days into retirement pay

--Paul Whitefield

Photo: Nikolas Harbar, left, and Stephanie Pelzner. Credit: Portland Police Bureau

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