Cops Use Internet to Nab Bike Thief

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 26, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Internet is always watching, so criminals beware.

Last Sunday, a young Alabama boy showed up at a local Walmart to claim a prize for taking the training wheels off of his bike. While the boy and his father were in the store, a man in a Detroit Tigers baseball cap and white T-shirt was caught on surveillance video stealing the bike from the store's parking lot.

What did the police do?

The Powers of the Internet

Hueytown Police promptly posted the suspect's picture online. By 6:30 p.m., a mere seven hours after the theft, police tracked down the suspect following a call from a tipster. The tipster told police the identity of the thief and where he could be found.

The suspect was arrested, and the bike was recovered. However, the young victim probably wasn't missing his old bike too much by then because the police had already bought him a new bike!

Now, the lucky boy has two bikes, and the bad guy is in custody awaiting arraignment.

Bad Guy's Crime

While reports do not state what crimes the suspect was charged with, we are pretty sure he will face a charge of theft of property in the third degree.

Alabama statutes defines theft as "knowingly obtain[ing] or exert[ing] unauthorized control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of his or her property, " and theft in the third degree as "the theft of property which does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500) in value and which is not taken from the person of another constitutes theft of property in the third degree." This is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $6,000 and a maximum of one year in prison.

Could have been worse

Our bad guy is lucky that he stole the bike from the boy's family truck. If the thief had stolen the bike from the boy, yanking it out of the boy's hands or pushing the boy away, the thief would have become a robber.

In Alabama, a person who "uses force against the owner or any person nearby with intent to overcome his physical resistance or ... threatens the imminent use of force ... to compel acquiescence to the taking" is guilty of robbery in the third degree. Unlike theft in the third degree, robbery in the third degree is a Class C felony, punishable by a minimum of one year and one day and a maximum of 10 years in jail.

Next time thief, pick on someone your own size, or better yet, just buy a bike!

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