To some, it’s just a bike. To others, it’s $4,000. To Bradley Nicodemus, it is a piece of joy finally brought back home by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.
On Monday, LASD officials returned the customized bike to its rightful owner.
“He was on the verge of tears,” Sgt. Debra Herman of LASD's Crescenta Valley detective bureau said.
Nicodemus, in his late 40s, was “thrilled” to get his personalized piece of property returned to him, safe and sound, Herman said.
The La Cañada-Flintridge resident had spent time building a bicycle for himself, complete with high-end, independently purchased wheels, brakes, tires and a frame.
The property was plucked from his home in the 4500 block of Castle Road in La Cañada-Flintridge on June 8.
After it was stolen, the resident quickly looked to LASD to recover the sentimental piece of property valued around $4,000.
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After months of searching, detectives found the bicycle advertised on Craigslist and began searching for it. The advertisement, posted with a picture of the bike, convinced detectives that the customized bike was Nicodemus'.
As the investigation began to unfold, detectives made some phone calls and the advertisement was taken off Craigslist.
Detectives traced the thief's IP address to Antelope Valley, where the ad was originally posted.
Although the thief has yet to be apprehended, detectives found the bike more than 500 miles away. The Craigslister had sold the bicycle for $800 to a man in Oregon.
“He thought it was a really good deal,” Herman said.
The man voluntarily handed over the bicycle to the Crescenta Valley detectives after they told him about the alleged theft.
Crescenta Valley Detective Frank Diana kept Nicodemus up to date on the investigation -- up until the end.
Once the bike was recovered, Diana asked him to come to the station. Nicodemus had no idea detectives were in possession of the bicycle.
"He was extremely grateful," Herman said.
According to Herman, it is common for any type of stolen property to show up on Ebay, Craigslist or local pawn shops. However, for stolen property to return to its rightful owner, is "very uncommon."
“It is very fulfilling for us to be able to give peoples’ stolen property back to them,” Herman said.
The LASD encourages anyone with stolen property to contact them immediately. Reporting stolen property makes it easier for LASD to trace crime trends, according to Herman.
If you have information about the case, contact the Crescenta Valley Station at 818-236-4009. Anonymous tipsters may call "Crime Stoppers” at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or texting letters "TIPLA" along with your tip to CRIMES (274637), or the website http://lacrimestoppers.com/.