By Robert Moran
The Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA — The thief wiped sweat from his brow as he approached the unsecured bicycle in South Philadelphia, clearly marked "Police."
He paused next to the bike as the wheels — or tumbleweeds — spun in his head. He pulled up his sagging pants and quickly glanced over his shoulder, then walked the police bike around the corner and out of view of the surveillance cameras that caught the entire July 9 incident around 11:30 a.m. in the 1800 block of South Broad Street.
Forty-five minutes later, the Trek bicycle was recovered in the 1300 block of Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia.
The officer's helmet and saddle bag, also marked "Police," were still attached.
The police bike was abandoned only after the thief attempted unsuccessfully to sell it to a man he approached on the block, said Detective Mike Zanetich of South Detectives.
The bicycle had been left unattended by an officer performing a security check inside a property at the Broad Street location.
Police described the perpetrator as a thin black man, about 30 years old, 5 feet, 6 inches tall, with short hair and a goatee, wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants.
Anyone with information about the theft can call 215-686-8477 (TIPS) or Zanetich at 215-686-3013.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer