Search for stolen bike leads uncovers stash of parts in Juneau

A Juneau woman’s search for her stolen bike uncovered a stash of bike parts on a trail in the Mendenhall Valley.

Michelle Norman said the frame of her stolen Mongoose mountain bike was found alongside dozens of tires and wheels on the Under Thunder Trail beneath Thunder Mountain, several feet behind the Coho Apartments.

“There’s literally dozens of bikes and bike parts right there 20 feet behind the apartments in the woods,” Norman said Friday. “I don’t know what the idea is behind it or what motivation they have to be stealing these or taking them apart.”

Norman’s bike was stolen Oct. 4 when her daughter’s friend borrowed it and didn’t lock it up before going into Safeway with friends. Another one of the girl’s had her bike stolen as well.

Norman said the girl’s stepdad felt horrible that the bike was stolen and tried to track down leads. He received a tip on the Juneau Buy, Sell, Trade Facebook page that there were some bikes located behind the Coho Apartments, which is where he found the stash on Tuesday.

Police were notified and met with Norman’s husband at the scene. Officers let him take Norman’s bike frame home.

Norman lamented that she’s still missing her bike’s handlebars, front forks, both wheels, the gears, pedals, shifters and brakes.

“So pretty much everything except the metal frame itself,” she said. “They stripped everything off of it.”

She bought the mountain bike from Fred Meyer for about $330 about two months ago. She said she will probably be better off buying a new one, despite the fact the frame was recovered.

“I can’t do anything with a bike frame,” she said. “It will probably cost me more to buy all the parts to make it a complete bike than it would to buy a new bike.”

Norman said police are investigating her stolen bike case and have reviewed video surveillance footage from Safeway.

A police spokesman, Lt. David Campbell, said he was not familiar with the case. He said that he has never heard of finding a stash of stripped down bicycle parts before in Juneau.

“I’ve seen piles of other stuff before, but I’ve never seen … a pile of bike parts before,” he noted.

In his 19 years with JPD, Campbell said it’s been his experience that bike thefts are crimes of opportunity — people steal bikes to get around and then ditch them somewhere.

“Typically, it’s like a one-shot throw away deal,” he said. “It happens quite a bit.”

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