High end bike thief behind bars

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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, MO (KTVI) – A man charged with twice stealing expensive bicycles from the same Clayton residence found his luck ran out when he took one of the bikes in for repair.

Clayton police say in September 50-year-old Ricky Bell of the 7100 block of Glenmore Ave. in Velda City brought the bike he stole in 2014 to the Mesa Cycles shop on Big Bend in Richmond Heights to get it repaired.

But Sales Manager Christopher Connolly thought the bike looked familiar.  “It was kind a unique bike…in the world of bicycles.. pretty high end bike and it was probably  two sizes too small for the individual.”  That was the first clue.

Connolly described it as a mountain bike of medium size with the seat set high to accommodate the taller man who brought it in.   “The gentleman was probably 6-6.  He was several inches taller than me and he was on a 19 inch frame (bike)  which is good for about 6 foot… six one,” he explained Wednesday.

Another clue: the bike had not been well taken care of.  Police say it was valued at $2,800. Normally owners take good care of such an expensive piece of equipment.  In Connolly’s view, “it looked like it had just been thrown on the ground and disposed of…lots of knicks.”

It turned out the bike’s serial number matched the bike Connolly had sold to the Clayton victim.

Police recognized the alias Bell had used on the bike shop repair order.  They found him locked up in the St. Louis County Jail in Clayton serving a one year sentence for stealing convictions in 2013.  He has an extensive criminal record.

According to court records Bell confessed he stole both bikes from a home on Carrswold Drive.  He said he returned to the home in 2015 after the 2014 theft because “I know it is an easy lick.”