PORTLAND, Ore. — The young homeless man who accompanied Miley Cyrus to the MTV Video Music Awards has a warrant out for his arrest in Oregon.
Jesse Helt, 22, was arrested on charges of criminal mischief, criminal trespass and burglary in 2010. According to court records, he broke into the apartment of a man who had been selling what Helt believed to be bad marijuana.
Helt, who was 18 at the time, pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and criminal trespass, both misdemeanors, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and probation. The arrest warrant was issued in November 2011 after he violated probation.
Helt moved to Los Angeles and lived on the streets while trying to find work as a model.
He gained worldwide attention when Cyrus let him accept her award for video of the year. Helt, who met Cyrus through the Hollywood homeless center My Friend’s Place, used the platform to call attention to the issue of youth homelessness.
“I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost, and scared for their lives right now,” Helt said. “I know this because I am one of these people.”
Polk County Director of Community Corrections Martin Silbernagel said officials are trying to locate Helt and arrest him. He said Helt repeatedly failed to meet with his probation officer. “He doesn’t make himself available to community supervision, and he takes off,” Silbernagel said.
Linda Helt, Jesse’s mother, told reporters that Cyrus had given her son some money and he was flying home for a visit.
Sheriff’s detective John Williams went to the mother’s Salem home Aug. 26, but did not find Helt. Williams said he spoke with the family and let them know he’s looking for Jesse.
The telephone at the family home was busy. A sign posted outside asked people not to trespass: “Only family & friends & neighbors at this time.”
Court records show Helt was arrested by Salem police three times as a juvenile, for offenses such as marijuana possession and being a minor in possession of tobacco products and liquor.
As Helt’s moment in the sun took a dark twist, Cyrus said via Twitter: “People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included.” She then asked: “Does looking down upon the homeless help people excuse their inaction?”
By Steven Dubois. Jonathan J. Cooper in Salem contributed to this story.