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Another bike shop catches a thief: Is the ‘Window Pane Bandit’ next?

Posted by on February 23rd, 2012 at 1:16 pm

PPB making the arrest this morning.
(Photo: Michael Kloeppel)

Earlier this month we brought you news of a bike theft from Seven Corners Cycles in southeast Portland. A thief had made off with a Surly Long Haul trucker by removing the window pane near the front door, lifting the window out, and then riding away on the bike. Now we’re happy to report that the bike has been recovered and the thief has been arrested.

The recovery came thanks to Michael Kloeppel, a close friend of Seven Corners’ owner Corey Cartwright. Kloeppel spotted a bike on Craigslist on Tuesday that matched the description. After a few emails with the seller, “there were all these funny things that stood out,” said Cartwright.

Kyle Elliot Holcomb

The thief, whose email address included the name “bobbysimpson,” signed his emails with a different name, Kyle Holcomb. With suspicions that the bike was stolen from Seven Corners, Kloeppel and Cartwright looked up Holcomb’s name on PDXMugshots.com and sure enough, they found a match.

With this information, Cartwright contacted the Portland Police Bureau (he said he called the non-emergency number and twenty minutes later a detective arrived at his shop!).

With the cops looped in and standing by, Kloeppel arranged a meeting with the seller to take a closer look at the bike. During his test ride, he verified a match on the serial number, and by the time he looped back, the cops were already arresting Holcomb. Turns out he had outstanding warrants and the PPB would have nabbed him regardless of the bike theft.

While bike thieves keep the PPB busy, it’s not new ground for Kloeppel either. Back in July 2007 we shared his tale of how an eBay listing of some bike parts he’d gotten stolen led him to a similar rendezvous with a thief and police detectives.

Back to what happened this morning… According to Cartwright and Kloeppel, questioning of Holcomb by PPB detectives has revealed information that could lead them to another thief, the “window pane bandit,” who is allegedly responsible for a string of thefts back in November.

For now, Cartwright is just happy to have his bike back. “It’s a little worse for wear, a bit beat up, and it smells like cigarettes,” he said on the phone today, “But other than that, it’s a great day here at the shop!”

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  • captainkarma February 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Join the League of Craigslist Stolen Bikes Monitors!

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  • Tommy B. February 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Excellent outcome! After the theft I took Corey a condolence six pack. Would it be rude to ask for the beer back?

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    • Shetha February 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Time for a celebratory six pack, now! Tecate, right?

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      • Tommy B. February 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

        I guess that would seem the kinder thing to do.

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      • Art Fuldodger February 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm

        yes, only Tecate in the can – the CC Special.

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  • bhance February 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    ha! so so so so awesome! big ups for nailing this moron 🙂

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  • 9watts February 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I suppose we should be thankful that some thieves are not very circumspect when it comes to their reselling tactics.

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  • bhance February 23, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    HA! I just realized this was the same bike flagged in the comments of the “Two years later, police sting and Craigslist help get stolen bike back” thread from two days ago.

    And the fact that the thief put “it is in showroom condition” in his CL ad.

    This story just keeps on giving…

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  • redacted February 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    This guy sounds pretty awesome: Kyle Elliot Holcomb, of Portland, 19, in “Teens arrested after stolen car crashes” in 2001 — http://www.nuggetnews.com/archives/20010808/front06.shtml

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    • Chris I February 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      If only we could just send these repeat offenders to an island or something. I think those British colonialists had the right idea.

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  • craig harlow February 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Jonathan, many of the comments previously added to this post have just disappeared.

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    • craig harlow February 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm


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      • craig harlow February 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

        Sorry for the false alarm. I confused this thread with that for the older Mike Kloeppel story.

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  • unotache February 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    big props to the PPB for responding so fast.

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  • Chris February 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    No mercy for bike thieves! Cane him!

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  • Mork February 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Well crumb: they released Mr. Holcomb today. From a quick check of court records, it appears that this young man has been battling with heroin since at least 2001 and he may be funding his little habit by taking things that don’t belong to him. Lock your garages and turn on those security cameras, Portland.

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  • pdxpaul February 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    This sucks. I have a good friend I grew up with in Ohio named Kyle Holcomb. This schmuck sullies the name.

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  • mh February 23, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    big props to the PPB for responding so fast.

    If you give them a little help, the police seem to be more responsive on bike thefts than on stolen cars. Perhaps that’s because this community is wide awake and giving them that help. Cheers and beers to all the good guys in this.

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  • Marsh February 25, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    AWESOME!! Corey, you are one of the nicest people I’ve met. Glad you got your property back!

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  • middle of the road guy February 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Seems like a nice enough guy. Who are we to judge 🙂

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