Parents concerned about 'Spoon Man'
HAPPY VALLEY, Ore. —
There’s growing concern among parents about a registered sex offender.
Mike LaRizza, also known as “Spoon Man,” was sentenced in 2016 after pleading no contest to first-degree attempted sex abuse of a teenage girl.
In the past couple weeks, he’s been seen in shopping center parking lots in the Happy Valley area.
One mother, who did not want to be identified, saw LaRizza in a parking lot of a popular shopping center just a few days ago.
“He’s sitting in the back of his van with the hatch open, and he had spoons and he was playing the spoons,” the mother told KATU on Wednesday.
She was still shaken after learning the man she and her young daughter almost talked to last weekend is a registered sex offender.
“That’s an intentional targeted move, as far as I’m concerned -- sitting in a parking lot just waiting and watching for all these kids to walk up,” she said.
KATU first met LaRizza in 2016. Back then he was known as the Sandy Spoon Man. He was accused of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 14. He told KATU he was a victim.
“She was assaulting me. She was taking advantage of me,” he said in a jailhouse interview.
Later, a Clackamas County judge sentenced him to 18 months in jail for attempted sexual abuse. But he’s out now and Happy Valley police confirm reports of LaRizza in their area.
Parents said he’s been seen in grocery store parking lots, playing his spoons in the back of his van.
Parent Kari Smith said social media helps get the word out. She learned about LaRizza on Facebook.
“The social aspect is great because other parents are warning you about this stuff happening,” Smith said. “But then you have to wonder, why is he being allowed to be in these locations? That’s the piece I think I would be most concerned about is making sure that law enforcement is aware of this stuff and how to keep him away from your children.”
LaRizza’s probation includes no contact with any female or male under the age of 18.
“He broke that by engaging eye contact with my daughter, as well, to me,” said the mother who didn’t want to be identified. “And I don’t know the strict terms of the probation, but when you look at a child and you’re smiling and making eye contact, playing a musical instrument, you are inviting them with your eyes.”
Police said they’re aware of the situation and that they have not been in contact with him.