Cool bike recovery story from Santa Cruz
Pursuit of "Pinky": Officers rewarded for finding stolen bike with ride - Santa Cruz Sentinel
Pursuit of "Pinky": Officers rewarded for finding stolen bike with ride
By ANDREW MURRAY, Special to the Sentinel
Posted: 05/02/2013 10:46:34 PM PDT
The Capitola Police Department helped recover this Specialized Stumpjumper
nicknamed... ( SCS )
The shouts, hoots and occasional curses were filling the air along with the
dust as our group descended Eucalyptus Trail in Wilder Ranch State Park
just north of Santa Cruz.
This was no hard-core flow track or technical decent -- just an easy fire
road, recently graded and nothing tricky. But these were no ordinary
mountain bikers riding with me either. These were some very green newbies.
They were also seven of Capitola's finest. Yep, the entire A-shift of
Capitola's police department was out of their squad cars, out of their
uniforms and out of their minds with glee bombing a beginner run.
How it is that seven cops and I ended up on a mountain bike ride together
is the most interesting part of this story. It started with a stolen bike
at the Sea Otter Classic a couple weeks ago.
Nothing is worse than discovering your bike has been stolen, especially the
day before a race you've been planning for several months. Yet my
girlfriend, April, and I were faced with that feeling of dread when we
awoke one morning to find her favorite mountain bike, a Specialized
Stumpjumper named "Pinky," missing from our campsite.
But, Shawn Wilson and Kazia Pennino, co-owners of Epicenter Cycles in Santa
Cruz and Aptos, helped salve the hurt. They were on hand at the Trek
factory demo tent April and I came to them asking for a "solid. She needed
a quality bike to race the 20-mile cross country race the next day and
they and the factory rep set her up on a sweet, carbon-framed Trek Superfly
100 in no time at all. The next day she went out and won her Sport Women
But that's not even the best part. Surprisingly, sometimes stolen bikes do
Shortly after we returned to Santa Cruz from the Sea Otter, I decided on a
whim to place an ad in Craigslist pleading for the return of the bike. On
Thursday of that same week, I got an interesting call. The caller let me
know that he had the bike and that I could have it back if I met him at the
Capitola Starbucks in two hours.
"By the way," the caller told me, it would cost me $1,250 to get it back.
Well, I agreed. After all, replacing the bike would cost $4,000. But I also
had a slightly different plan than what I agreed to on the phone.
Officer Kelly Minium was on traffic patrol with his motorcycle when I
flagged him down 45 minutes from the meeting time. I explained to him that
two guys were coming into town with the bike they had stolen from April and
were meeting me at Starbucks for an "exchange." Officer Minium quickly
coordinated a stakeout and sting operation with three other officers,
including his sergeant, Mark Gonzales.
I parked in the Starbucks parking lot and communicated with the officers as
they hid from sight. When a truck with two guys and my girlfriend's stolen
bike in the back rolled into the parking lot, I waved and smiled to them as
four police vehicles swooped in and took the two guys into custody. April's
bike was returned, and the theft plus the large quantity of meth that the
two guys had on them helped pave the way for several nights stay in the
The quick work of the officers who helped get the bike back and kept me
safe in the process couldn't be ignored. So, when Gonzales mentioned his
shift was getting together for a yet-to-be-planned off-duty activity, I
suggested they consider following me around on some of the best trails in
this part of the state.
That's how seven officers ended up outside Epicenter on the West Side of
Santa Cruz at 10 a.m. Tuesday, where Wilson had pulled from his rental
fleet seven Trek 29er Mamba hardtails for the group to ride.
These were true newcomers, so we started gradually, cruising the flat fire
roads around upper campus, then crossing into Wilder to enjoy some of the
extended downhills it has to offer. On one of those long downhills, the
enthusiasm of these guys — the joy of riding fast and on the edge even as
beginners -- was contagious. And seeing that guys, who in their everyday
lives are totally in control and confident, were trusting enough to let me
take them way out of their boxes shows just how much humanity they have.
Yes this was a great amalgamation of two cultures that for the most part
are not very well understood by the public: cops and mountain bikers.
So seven cops, a bike shuttle operator and myself went for a great ride in
the April sun. And the best part:
We got "Pinky" back!
I'm not sure how this works.
Re: Cool bike recovery story from Santa Cruz
Great story! Thanks for sharing it with us.
"You're messing with my zen thing, man!"
Great police work all around!
I had the good fortune of being at the right place at the right time too:
I was feeding on some lunch grinds up at the picnic bench at the overlook at Wilder that day. The cops came by and we had about a dozen of us up there for a while. The officers' stoke was infectious!
A great victory! I can't believe the thieves walked into that trap.
Is it just me or does it sound like the cops may have been speeding in Wilder?
Sweet story! Great reward for the cops too.
2011 Giant Glory 01
2013 Pivot Firebird
2004 Turner Rail - Stoled
QUOTE from MTBR.COM: You have given Brewtality too much Reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later.
Win-win-win! I think we've all learned a valuable lesson here.
Don't name your bike Pinky.
(good one, Josh)
Last edited by dirtvert; 05-07-2013 at 05:17 PM.
Because we like the taste of freedom; because we like the smell of danger. ~ E. Abbey
Great story! Don't often get a happy ending in those situations. And props to
Epicenter...never been in before but I will now
what an awesome story! Thanks for sharing that....
That is really fantastic, thanks for sharing. I tip my helmet to those guys, and maybe there are some new riders in the group as well.
Yeah Andrew! I'm really happy that it ended the way it did.
I'm hoping to get in at least one more Santa Cruz ride before I move. I'll send you an email. Congratulations on bringing the bike home and for getting the officers on mountain bikes!
Great story! It's probably a great way for the police to relax while off-duty.
"Paved roads...just another example of needless government spending"—paraphrased from rhino_adv
Very nice story, I am very glad you got your pinky back!!! Kudos to you and SCPD!!!!! Great job getting them out there riding as well!!!!
That is a great story. Awesome recovery. And how stupid were those thief's/low life scum bags? Crooks=special kind of stupid.
Write to the SC DA urging for the maximum penalty on case #13C-00755
I'm really pleased that Andrew got his bike back, introduced the Capitola PD to mountain biking and took the time to tell us about this tale. I don't want to inject myself into his story but I was in the loop for this entire ordeal from the Sea Otter theft to the PD ride and I would like to share a valuable insight.
Andrew cc'd me his letter to the Santa Cruz district attorney. It's quite good and I'll let it speak for itself:
From: Andrew Murray
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, April 26, 2013 10:31 AM
Subject: Bike Theft and Drugs Case
Hello Sirs/Madam of the Santa Cruz District Attorney's office:
A criminal case involving drugs and and possession of stolen property (case #13C-00755) is currently be processed by Capitola PD that will soon arrive at your office. My girlfriend April Herring and I are the victims. I'd like to express in this email my interest that you prosecute to the maximum extent of the law the defendants John Smith and Jose Royos both of Salinas, CA.
Background: April and I were participating in the Sea Otter Classic bike festival last weekend at Laguna Seca when a $4000 Specialized Mountain bike was stolen from our campsite. Yesterday, a person called me in response to an ad that I had posted on Craigslist about the stolen bike. That person turned out to be Jose Royos. Jose, offered to return the bike only if I produced $1250. I agreed to the amount on the phone and arranged a meeting at 41st Ave Starbucks. I subsequently contacted Capitola PD and asked for their help in apprehending the individuals that had the bike and ensure it's safe return and my safety.
When Jose Royos arrived at Starbucks he had the bike and was accompanied by John Smith. Capitola PD immediately place both Royos and Smith into custody. In addition to the bike, Royos and Smith also had a large quantity of Meth, drug paraphernalia and a concealed and sharpened Machete. Further evidence indicates they were trading in other stolen bikes besides mine.
Theft of any property is never pleasant for the victims but bicycle theft is especially insidious. It takes vital transportation away from folks that either can't afford a car or choose to ride because of the health and environmental benefits. It also dissuades other persons from using bikes as they hear about bike thefts and choose to drive vs using and or purchasing bikes. The bike industry in Santa Cruz is a vital economic sector with both manafactures, retailers and recreational opportunities for locals and visitors. The $4000 bike that was stolen from us represented a serious investment and a long term savings to obtain.
I'm sure that both Royos and Smith will claim they "obtained" the bike from someone else, and were trying to do me a favor. I would also suspect that prosecuting for Theft is probably not possible because of lack of evidence that Royos and Smith actually stole the bike, so possession of stolen property is probably the resulting crime, aside from the drugs. But it is my hope that you will endeavor to prosecute with vigor both of these criminals. Because of my activism in the bike community, and membership in club and race teams, there are already many Santa Cruz county citizens eager to see these men prosecuted, and your efforts will be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely and thank you for your support,
Now for the advocacy part...
Bike thieves suck. Meth dealing bike thieves suck even harder.
Many of you have been victims of bike theft (I have numerous times) yet it doesn't seem to be taken seriously by our public safety officials or our legal system. They look at it as a victimless crime or that stealing an expensive toy from some yuppie is not a big deal. The only way for them to do something is to tell them that you think it's serious.
Bike thefts contribute to the drug trade
I've seen statistics that show that bike theft is part of the criminal currency in the drug trade. Bike thefts are so easy, lucrative and not really tracked and prosecuted. All the incentives are there for thieves to steal bikes rather than rob banks or liquor stores.
Bike thefts discourage healthy and sustainable transportation
I'm a huge supporter of using bikes for recreation and transportation but it's really discouraging especially to new riders to have their steeds stolen from them. Today is bike to work day and we may convert some people to the biking lifestyle. I have heard many stories of folks who try to go car-free in Santa Cruz only to get their commuter bikes stolen. These are not rich people.
The fact that these alleged meth dealers got caught could provide a means to change the way our public safety officials and legal system thinks about bike theft. I urge you to write to the Santa Cruz district attorney and ask for the maximum sentence like Andrew did.
Let's send a message that bike theft should not be tolerated.
(off soap box)
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