Thief who stole $5,000 test ride bike brings it back to shop - and gets arrested

Paul Verdugo Jr faces charges of grand theft and identity theft after stealing bike in California

A man who went for a test ride on a $5,000 bike in California and stole it has returned it to the shop he took it from.

The story of the brazen thief who stole the bike from family-owned business The Cyclist in Costa Mesa made headlines around the world, partly thanks to CCTV of the theft.

> Thief gets away with $5,000 bike during test ride

ABC7 reports that this week, the shop’s general manager, Anthony Karambellas, took an unexpected phone call.

"The person who stole the bike was on the phone and wanted to speak with us,” he said.

That person turned out to be 42-year-old Paul Verdugo Junior, who after half an hour on the phone agreed to come to the shop with the bike.

"This story has gone nationwide and across the pond and everywhere he goes he saw his face on TV," said Karambellas.

"He came into the shop and I greeted him at the front door shook his hand, he had the bike.

“I was blown away that it was the bike. I was blown away that he actually came here."

The police were also there, and Verdugo now faces charges of grand theft and identity theft, the latter related to the ID – not his – that he left as collateral when he took the bike.

ABC7 reports that a man wishing to remain anonymous will receive the $1,000 reward the shop had offered for identifying the suspect.

Meanwhile, the business’s CEO, John Macroni, says that the episode shows the value of investing in CCTV.

He said: "You can't have enough cameras you know, initially on some of the small bike shops video surveillance is expensive, it made it happen."

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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