May 24, 2017

SCPD Returns Not One But TWO Bikes To The Rightful Owners - An Awesome Community Member and Police Work Gets It Done!

Bike #1- On May 21st, 2017, a thief stole a $5000 Santa Cruz brand mountain bike from its owner in the area of Ocean and Felker Streets. As the suspect bike thief fled on the bike, a passing bicyclist who witnessed the theft followed the suspect. The witness caught up with the suspect on the railroad tracks near Encinal Street and took pictures of him with his phone. The suspect then escaped and rode off into to traffic.

Real follow through on this community member’s part, as the witness then delivered the photo of the suspect to SCPD. Using the photograph taken by the witness, officers were able to identify the suspect as John Walkenbach, a 44-year-old transient from Santa Cruz.

Photo taken of suspect John Walkenbach on the stolen bike.

The next day, SCPD located the suspect, John Walkenbach, riding a different bicycle in the same area where the first theft occurred. SCPD arrested Mr. Walkenbach for grand theft.

Bike #2- During the arrest of suspect Walkenbach for stolen Bike #1, another witness unrelated to the first case approached SCPD officers. The witness asked if SCPD had seen a red-colored, stolen $3000 Specialized Epic brand bicycle. As it turns out, a Santa Cruz Park Ranger who was at the scene recently found that very same bike abandoned in the bushes near San Lorenzo Park.

SCPD Officers continued to track down the stolen Bike #1 and interviewed associates of the suspect. Friends of the suspect were able to recover the stolen bicycle and returned it to the Police Department.

Bike #1 and Bike #2 got returned to the proper owners without delay.

Thank you to everyone who pitched in and did the right thing. The owners of both the bikes rely on them for everyday transportation.

The Santa Cruz Police Department continues to encourage everyone to be partners in public safety. Anyone with information regarding criminal activity is encouraged to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department at (831) 420-5820 or Anonymous Tip Line (831) 420-5995.