Bicycle thefts

Back in September, I wrote a column on the Case of the Stolen Bicycle. If you recall, the owner of a high-end bicycle store in Arlington, Va., tracked a stolen $8,000 carbon-fram Specialized SL2 racing bike to a rowhouse on Cross Street in Federal Hill.

Police from Baltimore and Arlington posed as bicycle enthusiasts on the Internet, befriended the suspect and then arrested Barry Pugh, 26, and charged him with larceny in connection with the case in Arlington and another stolen bicycle case from Baltimore. He was accused of stealing a $3,500 bike from Light Street Cycles.

Today, the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office said Pugh pleaded guilty to theft in Baltimore Circuit Court and received a five-year suspended prison sentence and five years probation. He still has a theft case pending in Baltimore County Circuit Court and a larceny case pending in Arlington County, Va., General District Court.

The Virginia case stems from the stolen SL2. According to the court's Internet site, the case was postponed yesterday and has been rescheduled for Dec. 17. His attorney in Virginia, Mina J. Ketchie, declined to comment when reached this afternoon.

I got back in touch with the owner of Conte's Bicycle and Fitness store in Arlington and she had just heard the news from Baltimore. "It made me very excited," said Jody L. Bennett.

Bennett said she went to court in Arlington and was happy the case was postponed until next month. "Yesterday, the man didn't have a record and probably would've gotten off pretty easy," she said. "Now, when he goes to court he'll have a record for bike theft."

So what happened to the expensive bike?

That's a sad story. Bennett had displayed the returned bike in her store but put a sign on it explaining its underground journey to Baltimore. She had reduced the price to $6,000, below her cost. A few weeks ago, Bennett said a customer agreed to buy only the frame. "He didn't want the bike because of all the problems," the owner said.

The final cost without any accessories: $2,400.

"We're asking the suspect for $6,100 in restitution," Bennett said. "We'll probably never see it."


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