Court documents show Terri Lynn Zinzer has a long history of walking into homes where she does not live and making herself at home. Most recently, she’s accused of doing that Friday afternoon, after a woman came home to find a strange woman napping in her bed and wearing one of her dresses.
“My mom yelled for her to get out,” said Drew Doty, who lives at the apartment that was broken into. “At first (my mom) thought it was my sister, maybe my sister had come over if she wasn’t feeling well or something like that. As she got closer, she realized it was a random woman in her bed, just taking a nap under the covers. She even poured herself a cup of coffee from our coffee pot.”
With the door deadbolted, they believe the stranger got in through the side window. Doty wasn’t home at the time but said a neighbor heard Doty’s mom yelling and came to help before the police arrived. By then, the stranger barricaded herself in the bathroom.
“After about 45 minutes, the police used a battering ram to get the door down,” said Doty. “To have someone violate your space like that, it really cuts into your feeling of safety. It was incredibly shocking.”
Most recently, a different homeowner said they caught Zinzer napping in their son’s bed — all of it caught on camera before the person ran off.
“She started by going up to my neighbor two doors down and urinating on their porch, and then she came directly over to my house, came in, crawled up into the bed, and that whole thing happened,” Kelsey Smith told KOIN on September 14. “They actually found her 5 minutes later around the corner trying to break into somebody else’s house.”
Zinzer — whose name has also been spelled Zinser — is homeless, according to court records. A few of the people whose homes were broken into told KOIN it’s likely she needs treatment but worry that won’t happen if she’s continually let back out.
“They’re not doing enough to get help for these people who have these mental health crises,” Smith said last month. “They’re not doing enough to keep these people off the streets, they’re not doing enough for the homeless population.”
Just last week, the Multnomah County DA’s office told KOIN that Zinzer’s similar cases were dismissed because the court can’t force her to go into mental health treatment. Even after recently spending months at the Oregon State Hospital, staff reported not being able to restore her capacity and ability to work with a court-appointed lawyer.
They’re still working to see if they can go forward with prosecution. KOIN reached out to the DA’s office on Monday for an updated response to this newest charge but has not heard back yet.
According to court records, Zinzer was taken into custody last week. She’s been combative and considered a threat to staff. She was also supposed to be arraigned Monday but reportedly refused to come to court. The arraignment is now rescheduled for Tuesday.