Monday, January 26, 2009

Bicycle Thievery

A lot of you got a text message from me this morning so I just wanted to fill you in on the rest of the situation. And for those who don't know, here's what went down:

I received a phone call at the shop this morning and the caller asked if we bought bikes. We always encourage the person to bring the bicycle in so we can take a look at it. The caller said, "It has Velocity Deep-V wheels and a Tektro brake. I think it's a racing bike." Knowing that most bicycles in Memphis don't have Deep-V's I said, "Go ahead and bring it in; I'd love to take a look at it." After getting off the phone with the caller I sent out a mass text asking about it. Everyone had no idea but Alona replied that Ken's bike had been stolen a while ago. I got Ken's number and called him forewarning that there might be the possibility of recovering his bike. I knew exactly what it looked like because we had built it.

At about 10:45 a guy comes in with Ken's bike. I tell him that I'm going to put it in the stand and check it out and he has a seat on the couch. Hal calls the police and Ken. The police show up in about 10 minutes and ask the guy to stand up and turn around. He shoots me this dumbfounded look as the handcuffs are going on to which I reply simply, "That bike was stolen." He then said that he bought the bike this morning and that he was "just trying to get some extra money for his momma." His mother was actually out in the car and at his request the police went and got her. The verbal melee then ensued: Oh Lord Jesus my baby wouldn't do this countered with he's in posession of stolen property's for about 15 minutes that unfortunately I didn't get to witness firsthand as I was helping another customer.

Ken had also come in to identify the bike and was giddy just to get his ride back. I can't begin to imagine what he was thinking about the situation. As for me, I rode that high of busting a bicycle thief for the rest of the day.

UPDATE: The Commercial Appeal caught wind of this and published a story, along with a nice photo of Ken and his bike.

nbStole1.jpg

Photo by Nikki Boertman for the Commercial Appeal

14 comments:

Kermit said...

Awesome! Good job.

jmgorman said...

Fantastic - glad it sorted out.

Yokota Fritz said...

Nice story!

FMAD said...

haha. that's awesome! great acting Cort!

jmgorman said...

So, can I play the devil's advocate and ask, what if this guy really did just buy it from someone? I know the penalties for possessing stolen property are somewhat less than actually having stolen something, but it seems there was a presumption that the guy was actually the one who stole it.

Could the matter have been handled differently and still resulted in a returned bike?

Yokota Fritz said...

Josh, I had a similar thought especially since the bike was "stolen a while ago." I've seen stories on Craigslist in San Francisco where somebody buys a bike from a streetcorner for an amazing price then gets busted when he tries to resell it on Craigslist.

So maybe the guy is an innocent idiot -- a real bike thief would know not to take his stolen wares to a bike shop, fer crying out loud -- and in any case it's very likely he was released with no charges against him, though he now has an arrest record and, if he indeed bought the bike, he's out the cash he spent on it.

Caveat emptor.

Fix Memphis said...

The guy did have a previous record, however the police were willing to work with him in such case that his story was legit. All he would have to do is tell the police from whom he bought the bike; if that proved fruitful then I'm sure there would be no problem. If he bought it from a pawn shop then they would have a record of who sold it to them.

SiouxGeonz said...

'round here, a fella broke in and swiped a fast bike ... then painted it a bit and what have you... and took it back to the same shop when it needed work, "some time later."
The shop manager made him work off the money.
Heard the story from a friend who'd been told it in the bike shop by the thief, who became a regular shopper there and I reckon was leading a productive life, though that's an assumption. SHop manager had a bit of experience with the bowels of the justice system, which I suppose is why he was reluctant to send a human near its grinding gears. (We were at his memorial service and lots of tales were told.)

jmgorman said...

Cort - You're probably right about the police. When I recovered a stolen bike several years ago, the police gave the guy every opportunity to demonstrate that he was merely a duped buyer of the bike. In the end, he insisted that he had purchased the bike himself years before my bike was stolen (and went to jail for a year because of it).

I'm not saying you handled it poorly (quite the opposite, a bike was returned to its owner with relatively little drama), I'm just wondering out loud. A lot of us traffic in used parts and bikes and, with the amount of bikes that are stolen every year, I wouldn't be surprised if any of us took part at one point or another.

jmgorman said...

Unwittingly, of course.

Fix Memphis said...

Josh, as it so happens that is the situation that Ryan is in right now. I built a bike for Matt Kime last year which was stolen one night from the P&H (we can probably still find the post on this blog). A month or so ago it turned up at Midtown Bikes missing most of its components. Denis had no idea so sold it to Ryan. I recognized the bike and now Matt and Ryan are trying to work the situation out.

jmgorman said...

Wow, so Matt might get his bike back - that would be awesome. That was a great bike - I hate to hear that it was torn down.

Kermit said...

"...gave Percer a special satisfaction."

That just sounds dirty...


And a short video of a poser...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPDtmhK9U4Q&e

Roco said...

Poor momma, had to see her dumb ass son in action.