Portland mom finds homeless invader on her son’s bed; violent intruder attacks her, gets off

A Portland mother’s home security footage caught her encounter with a dangerous, homeless Goldilocks in her son’s bed and, thanks to the progressive district attorney, the threat may be far from over.

Warning: Language

On Monday, Kelsey Smith of Northeast Portland, Oregon was on her back deck awaiting contractors when she heard her dogs begin to bark. As she explained to KPTV, the commotion encouraged her to check the front door before her chihuahua led her to her Labrador that had been posted outside her son’s bedroom where a disbelieving Smith slowly came to the realization an intruder was in her home.

“The dogs continued to go crazy, specifically my chihuahua, which was running circles around my legs, which was really unusual,” she explained. “I followed her to where the other dog was into my children’s bedroom. My lab was standing on top of the bed on top of a pile of clean clothes that I had thrown on there. I walked in wondering if she had cornered a mouse or something because she was going crazy and I realized there was a person under there.”

Smith first exclaimed “Oh my God, Justin,” and told KPTV that she had believed her husband was in the bed behind a pile of clothes before she realized it was a stranger. She told her friend whom she was on the phone with that she needed help before the intruder, later identified as 54-year-old Terri Lynn Zinser, appeared to pick up a piece of furniture which she allegedly attacked the homeowner with.

Lynn Zinser, 54, was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Sheriff's jail on charges of burglary and harassment but released one day later
(Source: Portland Police)

“I backed out of the room,” Smith recalled, “talking to my friend on the phone saying I needed help, that there was a homeless person in the kid’s bed. At that point she leapt up, I recognized her as a woman. She hopped off the bed and picked up the ottoman at the foot of the bed and bum-rushed me, threw it at me, and then meandered out the door.”

It was reported that the mother’s 24-year-old son had also been home at the time of the intrusion and called 911 as he followed Zinser out into the street. Portland police confirmed that she was arrested attempting to break into another home on Smith’s street and that the homeless woman was charged with first-degree burglary as well as harassment.

However, under the leadership of Multnomah County DA Michael Schmidt, charges were dropped against Zinser who had been released Tuesday with bail set at $0.

“They said the charges have been dropped and that I can leave a message for the DA and he can call you back,” Smith told KPTV. “I haven’t heard anything and that was two days ago. I have to assume someone heard that message and nobody has gotten back to me. I don’t understand why she is not in jail. She’s not harmless. She proved that. She’s proved that from the stories that I’ve heard from other people.”

Smith reported that others in her neighborhood forwarded her Zinser’s “arrest reports which is a very long list of trespassing, harassment, assault and burglary.” She went on to explain that she “just spoke my mail carrier today who told me she’s started to carry mace because the woman was harassing her, that she couldn’t walk down the street without the woman screaming at her, swearing at her, following her around. She told me she doesn’t feel safe around that woman.”

The reaction from Schmidt’s office, which did not respond to requests for comment, should come as no surprise considering his record which included an aggressive stance against the police during the 2020 riots that led to the entire Portland Police Rapid Response Team resigning in protest and a lawsuit against Schmidt for his alleged culpability in the death of former President Donald Trump supporter Aaron “Jay” Danielson, whose estate blamed the DA and Mayor Ted Wheeler for the “preventable” death.

“We are seeking justice for the preventable death of a young man, gunned down in a city with a dangerous and deadly hands-off approach to public safety,” Danielson’s estate attorney Christopher L. Cauble said at the time. “Time and time again, City leadership and law enforcement have failed to find an effective response to clashing groups of protesters.”

“I feel like the city is declining rapidly and there is a need for more mental health services, more training for the police, probably more police, more community outreach, but I don’t know,” Smith lamented. “I’m not a city official. I don’t know what the answers are, but I do know that what they are doing right now is not working.”


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