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How a Portland man helped police catch ‘Santa Claus’ bike thief

Still from Kevin Collier’s video.
-Watch it below-

Last week the Portland police arrested Robert Charles Dady, who they referred to as a “prolific bicycle thief.” We now know more details about one piece of the case that helped make that arrest possible.

Kevin Collier was one of Dady’s victims. His bike was stolen on the night of July 25th from right out in front of 24HR Fitness in the Pearl District. Collier did not take the theft lying down. He committed himself to catching the person responsible. And one week later, he did. As it turned out, his bike was stolen by a team that included Dady (who Collier refers to as “Santa Claus”) and another man.

Here’s Collier’s story of how he helped lead the Portland police to this notorious bike thief.

“I had my bike stolen from the Pearl 24 HR Fitness on July 25th where it was locked up in the bike parking area close to the front door. I filed an online Portland Police Bureau report, a 24 Hour Fitness incident report, and I started checking Craig’s List the next day. I also began analyzing biking patterns of every rider that I saw, taking in information, and eye-balling if my bike was on the streets.

The night I caught the thieves I was riding in the neighborhood after getting some pizza for my girlfriend and saw a suspicious looking rider. He was traveling the wrong direction on a one way street pedaling against traffic. He was hiding from streetlights by riding on the sidewalk underneath the canopy of trees blocked out the light. He purposely put himself in the dead of night. While he was riding underneath a blanket of darkness while going the wrong way, and on the sidewalk, he was also going uphill with no lights on the bike. He looked like he was riding the hard way in order to avoid anyone being able to follow him in a car. Since he was less than 10 blocks from where mine was stolen I simply had to track him.

I didn’t want to spook the rider or drive the wrong way on one way street. So I had to start off heading the wrong direction to turn around and track him from the next block over headed his direction. I accelerated quickly one parallel block over to catch him. I finally caught up and saw him in an intersection after five blocks and then I lost him. The next street was Burnside so I decided to take a left and headed his direction where I though he might be. I decided to circle the block behind Burnside and didn’t see anything. That is until I took a right back onto Burnside and saw my bike looking awesome like when it was stolen.

I walked right up to him and snatched my bike out of his hands and told him “give me my bike back thief!” He was startled from the confrontation and immediately stepped back. He saw there was not going to be a discussion and that I was intent on immediately taking the bike. He said he bought it off Craig’s List and he believed that it was my bike. I didn’t say anything but I couldn’t believe him because I’ve been checking Craig’s List everyday and it was not on there. I told him I’m calling the cops as I was putting it into my car trunk and he said he would stick around to talk.

Now as I’m on Burnside in the street with my car running, bike in hand, grabbing for bungee cords, keeping the man from walking off, and calling the cops, I asked him when he bought it and he said a week ago. My bike was stolen on Sunday. I asked again what day and he said he wasn’t sure. Red flag! I then noticed he was sweating really hard and asked him “if you didn’t steal my bike why are you sweating so damn hard!” He responded and said he just came back from the gym and pointed to his back pack. No he didn’t! I laughed inside because that was where my bike was stolen from. Simultaneously, I was talking over the phone to the Portland Police Bureau and they inferred that they were not coming anytime soon so I pulled out my phone to shoot video.

What you see in the video is him saying this is getting weird and walking off. He never came back and I couldn’t follow him because it took too long to put my bike in my trunk to follow him and I was still in the middle of Burnside so I didn’t want to leave my car. The cops called me back 25 minutes later and came to talk. I told him the story and emailed him the video which clearly shows his face. Later that night I was riding my bike because I was happy to have it back and relaxing myself before I went to bed. I was riding on 19th and Johnson and saw an old man in a blue shirt who had a big white beard hold a really nice bike while he was walking it down the street. He definitely looked suspicious so I took photos of him him.

I called 24 hour fitness the next day and they said a guy in a striped shirt and a old guy who looked like Santa Claus both stole my bike working as a team. I’ve since found Santa Claus is notorious for stealing bikes. I snapped pictures of him the same night I got my bike back but I didn’t know that Santa and the guy in the striped shirt were partners until I called 24 hour fitness the next morning. They said a guy in a striped shirt and a old guy who looked like Santa Claus stole my bike together.”

And here’s the video Collier shot of that confrontation on Burnside:

Nice work Kevin! It’s people like you that are spreading the idea among local bike thieves that we are onto them and they would be better off working in a different city.

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