It took the wrong kind of person a police officer forced from his car and bundled into the back of a squad car.
But a thief who stole a fully-assembled three-wheeled New York City bike from a Port Authority bus terminal turned out to be the most helpful law enforcement official in the city.
Friday, a grand jury indicted two minors, ages 15 and 16, on charges of grand larceny, possession of stolen property and contempt for lying to a police officer in relation to the bike theft. Though the 15-year-old was 17 when the bike was stolen, he remains the only suspect in the case and was in custody until Friday.
He took his first step back into the realm of play on the dollar at the ho-hum week of school and work.
“Unfortunately, due to the significant costs associated with stolen bikes, one of the juveniles also has to pay for the theft, as well as the cost associated with the follow-up investigation and prosecution,” police said in a statement.
It was set up like any other theft. Two men happened by on Oct. 17 while a woman was sitting in her vehicle in the Port Authority Terminal. The suspect approached and demanded her car, which had a key inside and locked the doors. He got into the passenger seat, unbuckled his seat belt and shoved himself into the driver’s seat. Then he drove out of the terminal.
When the victim realized he had left her bike in the car, she asked him for her bike. He said he could not find it.
And then — this was the key — she showed him her license plate. He dialed 911, requested an escort and came back with her bike.
“The clerk assisting the clerk told him she would let him take it home to Canada if he just claimed it,” police said. “The clerk then leaned over the counter and helped the thief dispose of the motorcycle part that was blocking the rear cargo door.”
When the clerk put down the bike and keys on the counter, the 15-year-old hesitated and stammered, “Which one are you going to take,” police said.
“I said, ‘I’ll take that one,’” the 15-year-old told reporters later.
And the 15-year-old took it. Not good.
The next day, the man whose car had been broken into went back to the Port Authority, and the two teenagers came back with their share of the stuff that the woman had dropped, police said.
Of course, he never got the bike back.
But what a great customer service.