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Sting Operation Nets Bike Thief Outside Ralphs

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, March 15, 2010, at 12:17PM
Bicycle on Brick Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A sting operation set up by LAPD detectives last Friday proved something that any experienced cyclist knows all too well: an unlocked or poorly locked bicycle isn't going to stick around too long.

Police arrested Matthew Mark Mellish, 28, after he attempted to ride away on a bicycle immediately after a detective left it outside the Coffee Bean at 9th and Hope.

“Most of the people had no idea what was happening as they saw the detectives pile out of a car and give chase,” Lt. Paul Vernon noted in a release.

Officers quickly caught up with Mellish, and one was able to kick the bike's back wheel. “Apparently, the thief hit his front break too hard which brought the rear wheel over the front,” Vernon said. “Obviously, he’s not a skilled rider.”

Mellish was arrested on a felony charge for committing a petty theft with a prior conviction. Bail was set at $20,000.

“The best thing about this arrest,” Vernon added, “was all the onlookers high-fiving the detectives after the arrest. Being a bike thief downtown won’t win you any friends.”

Bike thefts Downtown have been in the news a lot over the last few months, with Downtown's bike messengers getting in on the policing action themselves.

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