BOISE -- A Boise woman is thankful and happy that police were able to return a $4,200 bike that was stolen from her front porch earlier this year.
Michele Kitzmiller said she was not insured and ended up buying a new bike after theft, believing that old bike was gone for good. She said a dropper post worth $300 is still missing from her old bike, which she now plans to sell.
Detectives with the Boise Police Department's property crimes division returned the bike Tuesday afternoon. It is the first of several bikes being returned to their owners after an extensive investigation into a series of local bicycle thefts, including 13 bikes stolen from the TIBCO bike racing team last May. They were in town to compete in the Exergy Tour. The bikes were taken from a locked storage unit outside their hotel near the Boise Airport. The bikes were recovered the next day on the Boise State University campus.
Michael Lawrence, 19, of Boise, was arrested in June and charged with burglary and 13 counts of grand theft.
Investigators say they have recovered a total of 29 bikes valued at $138,730, a bike rack worth $800, one of six projectors stolen from a Boise elementary school, and $9,000 in cash, money that is from the sale of stolen bikes.
Detectives believe that Lawrence stolen as many as 50 high-end bikes in the Boise area last spring and sold most of them for just pennies on the dollar via the Internet. Many of the buyers were from the Portland, Oregon area.
Many of the stolen bikes that were sold have not been recovered.
Lawrence reached a plea agreement with Ada County prosecutors in August. He pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft and the other charges were dropped. Police and prosecutors say Lawrence is cooperating as they try to recover the stolen bikes, and make full restitution for the other victims.
Each grand theft count is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Oct. 26.