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Joplin Police Investigating Unusual Case of Stolen Bicycles - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Police Investigating Unusual Case of Stolen Bicycles

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Joplin, MO -

Joplin police say they're investigating a different type of case involving stolen bicycles.  Investigators say usually, criminals seize opportunity and steal bikes not locked to racks.  This crime involved more planning.

Some crimes seem to strike a more sensitive nerve.

"It's the stealing candy from a baby,' says Sarah Haskins, who lives across the street from North Middle School.  Police say two bicycles were stolen from a bike rack there.

"I mean, you shouldn't be stealing from anybody," says Haskins.

"There's not a good victim to victimize," says Corporal Trevor Duncan with the Joplin Police Department.  "But anytime you victimize a child, it kind of puts a different perspective on things."

The JPD says a surveillance picture released to the public shows the suspect, who apparently came to the school prepared.

"One of the bicycles was locked up, and he cut the lock off it," says Duncan.

Police say nearby parents took other pictures of the man.

Later that evening, Haskins' husband saw something unusual.

"He saw two men, one was walking a bike, and the other was carrying a bike.  He thought that was suspicious," says Haskins.

Haskins' husband told a police officer about what happened.

Two days later, arrests were made in a different case just a few blocks away from North Middle School.

"An alert resident had heard some glass break in her neighborhood, then saw people leaving on some bicycles.  Through investigation, they determined that two different burglaries occurred in the area.  One of them was on a stolen bicycle," says Duncan.

Police are still trying to determine if the stolen bicycle matches one taken from the school.

Haskins wants the pedals in motion towards preventing something like this from happening again.

"The deal with the school is a bit different.  They actually went and targeted more than one bicycle.  The motive is not clear right now," says Duncan.

The message to kids is the same, though:  Still lock up those bicycles.

Police say this case is one more example of how community involvement makes a big difference.  Investigators are going off many leads and pictures given by parents who were by the school.

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