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Comedian arrested over Japanese auction-and-steal bike thefts

Alleged perp put pics of friends bike collection on auction site then stole them when he sold them

A man has been arrested in Japan in connection with the theft and sale via an auction website of a Japanese bike magazine editor’s bikes.

But in a twist on the usual bike thief modus operandi, the thief was advertising the bikes on an auction site - complete with photographs - and then stealing them to sell them to the winning bidder.

On Tuesday, police arrested 39-year-old comedian Nobushige Kaneshima on suspicion of the sales and thefts.

He is alleged to have taken photos of nine high-end bikes, which were stored in the parking area of local bike magazine editor Hiroshi Tamura’s house, and then advertised them.

When the auctions finished, he is accused of stealing the bikes on June 17. At around midnight on that date Tamura’s wife called the police after noticing a suspicious figure outside the house.

Police found three bikes had been stolen, and when Tamura checked the parking area at 7am the next morning, he found another six were missing.

The stolen bikes are valued at around 2.2 million yen in total (around £15,000) and include a Japanese-made touring bike worth 700,000 yen (around £4,500) and a US-made bike worth about 300,000 yen (£2,000).

Keneshima’s user ID at the auction site led police to him, but he has denied the allegations and told investigators he does not know why he was arrested.

Tamura is believed to have been acquainted with Keneshima, a well-known ballroom performer who goes by the stage name Kaneshima Dancing.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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