American civil rights activist and writer, Jeff Thomas Black, stands beside a couch located at the Globe Hotel. Black claims his bag containing his U.S. passport, wallet and other items including a 400-page manuscript for a book that he wrote while in county jail was stolen from him while he slept on the couch during the morning hours of Aug. 18. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Man who stole, burned politician’s portraithas manuscript he wrote in prison stolen

Oregon man stranded after backpack with passport taken

Jeff Thomas Black should be on his way home to the United States by now.

Instead, the 51-year-old self-described civil rights activist and writer, who says he has outstanding criminal charges against him and an upcoming court date in Oregon, has spent the last 48 hours searching downtown Nanaimo for any signs of his backpack, which he claims was stolen this past weekend.

“I’ve walked miles around this place,” Black told the News Bulletin outside of the Globe Hotel. “Anything within a mile radius of this place, I’ve been looking.”

According Black, he spent the early morning hours of Aug. 18 sleeping on a couch located in the rear gated area of the Globe Hotel and when he woke up around 6 a.m. his backpack – containing his U.S. passport, $320 in cash, drivers licence, debit cards, legal documents and manuscript he had written while in an Oregon jail – was gone.

“I was planning on leaving on the ferry and the nice folks at the Globe said I could crash on the couch and leave in the morning and so I did. Somebody walked into the gated closed awning area outside somewhere between 1 a.m. when I fell asleep and 6 a.m. when I woke up and stole my bag from about two feet away from my head,” he said. “Everything of mine is gone.”

Black said his cellphone wasn’t taken. He has reported the theft to Nanaimo RCMP and has also reached out to the U.S Consulate office in Vancouver but was told he needed to visit the office or submit a passport application form, which he said is difficult because he has no money.

“I don’t know what to do. I don’t have one penny,” Black said.

He explained that has been vacationing in Nanaimo since July and that he reached out to the News Bulletin in hopes that someone in the community may have come across his backpack. He said what he wants most are his legal documents and his manuscript, which he estimates is about 400 pages.

“My passport can be replaced, my driver’s licence can be replaced and the $320 is gone, but I really just want my writing,” he said. “I want my writing and I need my writing and my legal papers. It is not useful to anybody else on this planet.”

Black describes himself as a civil rights activist, writer and “political prisoner” who works with families he said are victims of police brutality and murder in the U.S. His activism made headlines in Oregon earlier this year when he filmed himself stealing and later burning a portrait photo of former Portland mayor Neil Goldschmidt – who admitted to sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl during his time as mayor but was never prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired – from city hall.

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