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Victim, detective nab web-based bike thief

Posted by on July 12th, 2007 at 3:58 pm

Kloeppel’s fork for sale on eBay.

Back in December, someone broke into Mike Kloeppel’s Woodstock neighborhood home and stole four of his “irreplaceable” high-end bikes.

A few months later Southeast Precinct police officers recovered two of them.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.

Out of the blue Kloeppel got a call from someone in Wisconsin who said they just won a bid for a bike frame on eBay. The caller said he suspected the bike might be stolen (it had a low price and the headset and bottom bracket cups were still in the frame) so he Googled it, found Kloeppel’s stolen bike listing and phone number, and gave him a call.

Once Kloeppel heard the description and saw the eBay listing he knew it was his beloved Niner frame.

eBay profile of mussman81

A quick look at the seller’s eBay profile (he goes by mussman81) and Kloeppel easily found the thief’s name (Emil V. Mussman), a photo, and even his Gresham address!

Kloeppel also noticed other parts of his bike listed for sale (like his suspension fork). Once he had mussman81′s phone number he punched it into a Craigslist search and found more items he suspected were stolen.

He then passed all this information on to Portland Police Detective Michael Frome who was working the case.

In the meantime, in order to engage Mussman and hopefully get more of his stuff back, Kloeppel won the bid for his suspension fork and had arranged to meet mussman81 to complete the transaction in a McDonald’s parking lot.

Detective Frome was happy to hear Kloeppel had made these plans because he needed to witness Mussman sell the stolen fork in order to build his case and get a search warrant for his arrest.

So the stakeout was set. Here’s a photo taken by Detective Frome at the McDonalds on SE 92nd and Powell that shows Kloeppel (left) and Mussman.

(Photo: Det. Michael Frome, Portland Police Bureau)

The stakeout went as planned and Det. Frome got his search warrant.

This morning at around 8:00am, Portland Police officers paid Mussman a visit. He was taken without incident to the Multnomah County Detention Center and charged with Theft in the First Degree and Possession of Methamphetamine, as well as a probation violation.

Kudos to the hard work and dedication of Detective Frome, that nice guy from Wisconsin and Mike Kloeppel’s persistence.

Three down and one to go Mike! Let us know if that last one turns up…

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Comments
  • rixtir July 12, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Bravo Mike Kloeppel and Detective Frome! Woo-hoo!!!

    (anybody got a rope?)

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  • Logan 5 July 12, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    That\’s great!

    The guy had meth too, eh? He might even be the one who broke into the house! That will be a nice addition to the charges he already faces.

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  • Cecil July 12, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Rixtir, I second your \”Whoo-Hoo\” but have to take issue with your postscript – I am guessing you were trying for humor, but there\’s really nothing funny about lynching. Perhaps if we didn\’t live in a world where so many people are so willing to exact blood justice, I would not be so sensitive, but frankly I think there are way too many people out there that would take that reference completely seriously (note I am not lumping you in with those people – I am just asking you not to give them ideas).

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  • true July 12, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    wow.

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  • Michael L. Kloeppel July 12, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I\’ll reply later tonight when I have more time, and it\’s cooler in my computer room, but many thanks to Jonathan and this site…

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  • rixtir July 12, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Rixtir, I second your \”Whoo-Hoo\” but have to take issue with your postscript – I am guessing you were trying for humor, but there\’s really nothing funny about lynching. Perhaps if we didn\’t live in a world where so many people are so willing to exact blood justice, I would not be so sensitive, but frankly I think there are way too many people out there that would take that reference completely seriously (note I am not lumping you in with those people – I am just asking you not to give them ideas).

    Cecil, yes, I was trying for humor, and if there were serious suggestions made to do something like that, I would be arguing against it, much as I loathe bike thieving scum.

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  • tonyt July 12, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    I was just emailing with Mike the other day about a Serotta that I saw. He certainly is on it.

    Congrats Mike!!

    Thank you!!!!

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  • Jeff July 12, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Crazy that that guy still has 22 listings up (including another bike frame). Did anyone ask eBay to remove them/cancel his account?

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  • a.O July 12, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    Awesome!

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  • tonyt July 12, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    We could use the rope to tie him up and just push him around a bit right?

    ;-)

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  • Mr. Viddy July 12, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    I am glad he recovered his items and I am especially proud of Det. Frome for putting in the work on his end to bring this thief to justice.

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  • SKiDmark July 12, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    What did I say about bike theives being meth addicts?

    Glad to see the Police detective work paying off.

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  • Michael L. Kloeppel July 12, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    THANKS to people like tonyt who saw a Paramount next to a shopping cart, and skifastchad from WI who alerteted me to the ebay auction for my stolen Niner which started this whole thing.

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  • Cecil July 12, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    This is eBay\’s policy re: dealing with listings of stolen items:

    \”Theft of Property: : If members see an item on eBay that they believe is stolen, the best course is to contact law enforcement immediately. Under eBay\’s privacy rules, eBay’s attorneys will provide important records about pending and past listings with an official request from law enforcement officials. eBay will ask that members inform the police officer handling the case that eBay will be pleased to cooperate in the investigation, and ask the officer to contact eBay using eBay’s law enforcement-specific webform. The officer should include all relevant information, including the case number and any item numbers or User IDs.

    It is important that this webform be reserved for law enforcement use only, as it enables us to respond quickly in case of emergencies. Emails directed through this webform that are not from law enforcement will be routed to the appropriate mailbox or individual accordingly and may cause delays in response time.\”

    In short, Officer Frome should contact eBay . . .using this form, I think
    http://tinyurl.com/37uoa8

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  • Cecil July 12, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    PS People other than law enforcement can use that form, but eBay doesn\’t want them to and their e-mails won\’t get a very quick response . . .

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  • wyatt July 12, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    I went ahead and filled out the ebay form anyway.

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  • tonyt July 12, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    fricken meth.

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  • BURR July 12, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    arrested at 8 AM, out by 8 PM…

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  • Team MW! July 12, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Midwest Represent! People from Wisconsin are often really nice. That\’s just how the MW is – we look out for others.

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  • Steve July 12, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    Cecil,

    Dude, get a grip…hey that\’s it, a pair of vise-grips and a 300amp car battery would better suit this thief!!!

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  • Anonymous July 12, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Doh! Yes Mike, it was a Paramount, not a Serotta.

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  • revphil July 12, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    go cousin mike!

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  • tonyt July 12, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    Doh! Mike\’s right, it was a Paramount, not a Serotta.

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  • Martha S. July 12, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    This is delightfully awesome. I love it when bike thieves get busted.

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  • Cecil July 12, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Steve, I\’m not a dude. Perhaps that\’s why I don\’t find jokes about torture amusing either.

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  • Logan 5 July 12, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Cecil, from a lawyer\’s perspective, was that comment reverse sexism or just plain sexist?

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  • Michaelk July 13, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Awesome. I hope Michael gets all his stuff back. And with any luck, thief-boy might actually get punished.

    Cecil – It\’s the internet. Get over it. Hypothetical fantasy revenge on bike thieves is always funny. ALWAYS.

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  • Steve July 13, 2007 at 6:56 am

    Cecil,
    Sorry about the dude reference, my apologies. Probably off-topic, but seriously, what do you think would stop this kind of behavior?

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  • DK July 13, 2007 at 7:50 am

    Let\’s give some of these thieves what they want. Unlimited amounts of meth, to be used in a public restroom, vacant basement, or under the bridge of their choice. Then we can all watch as they shrivel away into tweeker heaven.

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  • John Boyd July 13, 2007 at 7:58 am

    Decriminalizing drugs would stop this kind of behavior. Give Mr. burgle-for-drugs a lifetime supply of meth and see how many more bikes he steals, or meals he eats.

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  • DK July 13, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Or teeth he loses…if he still has any! I wonder if we as tax payers realize that not only are we getting shived in the back by these losers ripping us off, but we\’re paying for their medical and rehab merry-go-round rides too. If your brave enough to put up with a few infected sores, and able to stare into a mirror without getting scared, this could be your beauhlaland too.

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  • Cecil July 13, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Steve, apology accepted – trust me, you\’re not the first – as for what might stop property theft? Certainly not torture – We\’ll never get rid of crime, but if we assume that a lot, if not most, of property theft is driven by the need for money either for sustenance or substances, then perhaps the answer is more and better programs designed to attack the roots of the problem, such better early education so as to ensure everyone has the knowledge and skills necessary to earn a living; a minimum wage that is a living wage; more and better drug abuse prevention and treatment; more and better mental health services; etc.

    PS MichaelK – I was never under it.
    PPS Logan 5 – I prefer to think of it as a gender stereotype with a fairly solid emperical basis

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  • Spencer July 13, 2007 at 9:12 am

    A little vigilante justice.

    While going to school in Salem I lived in a pretty downtrodden part of town called \”felony flats\”. In the flats there was kinda of a code about theft, you did not steal from within the neighborhood. Being a white bred college kid, I had no Idea of any of this until my room mates Cannondale got stolen.

    We were pretty friendly with everyone on our block and when during a party my room mate\’s bike got stolen, they took it a little personal. A few days later I see some MoFo riding the bike 3 blocks from my house, I screech to a halt and confront the guy. The lettering was all scratched up where he tried to remove the bright pink \”Cannondale\” and he quickly admitted that he had borrowed the bike from a friend. I put the bike and him in the bed of my pickup and tore off for home.

    Getting home, the neighbor hood seeing the bike and cringing guy with it all appeared at once. The Chicano\’s in Action (CIA) next door grab the guy and start talking to him, and quickly find out who is responsible. They walk him down about five blocks away to the house where the guy borrowed the bike. Meanwhile, cool heads prevailed and my room mates called the cops. The cops show up and we point them down the street to the where the CIA had taken the guy.

    A few minuets later the CIA show back up and mentioned how they had talked to people renting the house about theft in the hood. Just as they were leaving the cops showed up and talked to the slightly battered occupants of the house. In it they found like 40 stolen bikes and took the guys off in cuffs.
    Similar story, in that they also were druggies who were out a day later, but they left the neigborhood. The word was spread and they were not to be toleratied.

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  • Ken July 13, 2007 at 9:33 am

    I hope the person from Wisconsin somehow finds out about the result of their taking the time to get involved. It is always nice to know that your actions made a difference in cases like this.

    Regarding the Ebay account, I\’m guessing that if the listing were also stolen they are in the hands of the police and the auctions are will be cancelled. I\’m not sure if shutting down his account will stop anything because I think it is pretty easy to just set a new one up. Even if he has a permanent IP address I doubt Ebay checks them for previous problems when people set up new accounts.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) July 13, 2007 at 9:35 am

    Ken,

    I don\’t think Mr. Mussman will be setting up anything any time soon. The Det. says he likely faces about 39 months in jail.

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  • DK July 13, 2007 at 9:41 am

    Come on Spencer, the guy voluntarily got into your truck too? no way. Sounds like the usual stupid theft safe-house groupie… and a snitch to boot. Poor dude, he probably got a serious drug and alcohol induced whoopin\’.

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  • Jessica Roberts July 13, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Hey, a suggestion — wouldn\’t it be great if the Police Bureau received a few notes of thanks and commendation for these actions? I think it would go a long way towards building bridges and reinforcing good community policing.

    You can call Chief Sizer\’s office at 503-823-0000 or file a comment electronically here.

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  • Jessica Roberts July 13, 2007 at 10:02 am

    OK, it turns out that Chief Sizer\’s office is not set up for receiving comments (even though the website says to call her). So, instead, you can send an email to chiefsizer@portlandpolice.org.

    Also, the person who answered the phone at the Chief\’s office says that you don\’t have to fill out all the \”required\” info on the webform (like date of birth). I haven\’t tried that out, though.

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  • Michael L. Kloeppel July 13, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Ken, Jessica and all..

    Feel free to wander over to my blog and add a thank you

    http://blog.unotache.com/

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    • craig harlow February 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Mike, “404 (Page Not Found) Error “

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  • BURR July 13, 2007 at 11:30 am

    \”I don\’t think Mr. Mussman will be setting up anything any time soon. The Det. says he likely faces about 39 months in jail.\”

    Yeah, but he will be out on bail from now until his trial 6 months (a year?) from now…

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  • tonyt July 13, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Do we have a mugshot yet?

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  • Michael L. Kloeppel July 13, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    yep, check out:
    http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2007/07/emil_mussmann.html

    But note that the reporter got the story here first…

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  • Ken July 13, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    Jonothan, thanks for the heads up on the sentence perameters.

    Michael, congrats on getting the bikes back. I added a thanks on your blog.

    Take a look at the picture from this guys Ebay page and then the picture from the oregonlive report. Looks like a candidate for the anti-meth poster \”before and after\” pictures.

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  • rixtir July 13, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    One thing about this whole story that I\’m curious about. The thief was busted by a guy in Wisconsin who bid on the bike on eBay. But if the bike was listed in the stolen bike listings, I thought that eBay was automatically scanned for bikes matching that description by finetoothcog. Did that not happen with this bike?

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  • rixtir July 13, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    But then again what do I know… I\’m just an amateur.

    Must be nice to be a pro, just sit back and read what the amateurs are writing, then write that story up for your own publication, slap your name on it, and you\’ve got a story…

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) July 13, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    rixtir (and others),

    I had made a comment directed at Noelle Crombie (author of the Oregonian story) that called her out for using this story and not giving what I felt was proper credit.

    I have since decided to delete the comment.

    she does credit me for the story… it\’s at one of the final paragraphs.

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  • Jessica Roberts July 13, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    In case people don\’t visit the Oregonian blog, I thought the quotes from Detective Frome were thoughtful:

    \”Portland has this very passionate bicycle community and Mike Kloeppel describes himself as a bike geek, and when these people stole his bicycles, it\’s the same as stealing a very, very personal item,\” Frome said. \”These bikes have been hand-crafted. It\’s not like he can go out and buy another one.\”

    \”There is a lot of, I guess you could say, love for his bicycle.\”

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  • Michael L. Kloeppel July 13, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Rixtir,

    Chad from WI hit \”buy-it-now\” just hours after the auction was listed, the email address I had registered with finetoothcog is no longer valid (my fault), I have my own key-word search on ebay for the bikes still missing, but Chad contacted me before that email came through.

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  • rixtir July 13, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Wow, that was fast! Chad sounds like a great guy.

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  • Michael L. Kloeppel July 13, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Another good quote, and proper credit given:

    \”I am hopeful to get back my bicycle,\” said Kloeppel, 35, a bicycle sales representative whose story was first reported on BikePortland.org. \”If nothing else, the guy is in jail for a while and is put out of business for a while

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  • Nelle July 14, 2007 at 8:12 am

    Having just had my bike stolen yesterday, I was so happy to open the paper this a.m. and read about your story. My bike is nothing fancy, and I have little hope of getting it back. But it\’s good to know that someone did!

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  • Rob Root July 14, 2007 at 9:49 am

    Nice work!

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  • Andy A July 14, 2007 at 10:41 am

    As part of this little drama too, I need to add my 2¢… I wanted to personally thank Chad (the guy in WI; I\’ve been in constant touch with him too) and Michael K for being so involved in getting this guy shut down. This has been an amazing story that would be hard to script and I think its a testament to our great cycling community here in PDX–and nationally–and a huge amount of credit goes to Jonathan and bikeportland.org for being the resource of knowledge and discussion that it is.

    My home was broken into last summer and I lost a number of bikes, the most valuable was my Pegoretti Duende. (http://bikeportland.org/2006/09/07/)

    On July 3 (I think) Chad and Michael contacted me almost simultaneously that my Peg might be on ebay…
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Pegoretti-Duende-framset-steel-cycling-road-bike-frame_W0QQitemZ230148683165QQihZ013QQcategoryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    After a little bit of back n forth between the seller and someone else on *another* forum who was watching all this evolve, the serial number surfaced: 58 OE5 — which matched my original paperwork. Frankly I\’m surprised it hadn\’t been filed off in all this…

    Aaaaaanyway by the time the (very active and very involved) Portland detective actually got a chance to arrest the seller and go thru the guy\’s stash, the Peg was gone (it had been at the guy\’s apartment only a few days before). Said he had sold it locally here in Portland for $500; ironically, he said he sold it so quickly here cause \”he was feeling funny about it; so many people were asking questions about it that he just felt funny\” and unloaded it. (Whether he actually sold it or stashed it somewhere else, who knows.)

    So in the event that anyone repaints or helps rebuild a steel frame with the signature Pegoretti dropped top tube build (the headtube appears even more extended than is common) or actually *has* this frame, give us a shout!!! I truly wrote off ever seeing this bike or any of my other gear and goods long ago The fact that this story broke and evolved like it did so quickly gave a fleeting bit of hope that it might actually land back in the stable here; but more importantly, I was hoping that Mike would get his Niner back, the stripped Peg might come back– and we\’d have a really amazing conclusion to this little drama that unfolded on the web, helped out in huge way by this blog.

    Serial number again is 58 OE5.

    But on the bright side? There was a box with some odd bike parts laying in this guy\’s place when they raided it: looks like I might get my cranks back! Woohooooo!

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  • Michael L. Kloeppel July 19, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    revphil:

    I assumed you were refering to me, in the general sense of \”cousin mike\” but now I understand.

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    • craig harlow February 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      Mike, is your dad Lee from CHS way back when? If so, I met you when you were like ten years old.

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      • unotache February 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm

        Yes indeed!

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        • craig harlow February 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

          Thought so. I was a symphonic and jazz band geek, and I remember you and your dad coming into the band room in spandex after having ridden over the bridge to get into town. Freakin bike nuts :^)

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  • Andy A July 20, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    ***UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE***

    Can I say \”HOLY SH^T!!!\” in a blog? I mean I only would if, oh, say, I GOT MY PEG BACK. (Mostly.) And I am capable of more impressive word choice usually, but not now… NO FREAKING WAY!

    Just last night, detective Mike Frome called and said the guy they had in jail thought he could \”make a few calls and find the frame\” (in an attempt to win some points). Lo and behold the detective just dropped off the frame, cranks and seatpost at my work this morning.

    It\’s awesome, but it\’s also going to be a lot of work to get it back up again. Beginning with paint cause it is rrrraw: I\’d love to have Dario paint it (*if he\’s up for it*) and I have the beginnings of a \”theme\”… think: \”Pegoretti: Exhibit A.\” I have the Evidence bag, maybe we use some graphics from that, some strategically placed handprints (Dario\’s?)…

    What a surreal story. And from what I understand, Mike K also got about 60% of his Niner back.

    Finally, points to the good guys.

    Meanwhile, anyone got a line on an uncut Ouzo Pro, non integrated, 43mm rake (I believe)? ;-)

    Take care out there. Believe in good things.

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