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Bike thief who poses as police officer has struck at Giant Bromley
BIKE shops have lost thousands of pounds worth of bikes after a man claiming to be a police officer takes them for a test ride and never returns.
When the grey-haired man visited Giant Bromley in Widmore Road to look at racing bikes the staff said they had no reason to suspect he was not a genuine customer.
He told them he was looking to get into triathlons after just coming out of a relationship and showed them a police warrant card with his face on and the name of David Lanning as proof of identity.
It was getting dark outside so Giant’s manager Cedric Crooks fitted the Giant TCR Advanced SL 3 racing bike with lights so the man, who is believed to be in his late 50s, could take it for a quick test ride.
Mr Crooks thought this ride would only take about two or three minutes but the man never returned.
He said: “He seemed quite clean cut and well presented and I did not think he looked suspicious.
“I thought I saw flashing lights of the bike going out of a turning and up the hill.
“I walked down to the junction and thought I’d go up to the other junction and then I ran to the other junction.
“Then I thought he had gone.”
Through posting an account of what happened on bike forums the Giant staff discovered the thief is responsible for several bike thefts.
They took a picture of him when he was in the store and shop staff at other outlets have confirmed exactly the same man visited their businesses.
On the day he stole the £3,500 bike from Giant he had already stolen a bike from Addiktion Cycles in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and one from Cycleworks in Leatherhead, Surrey.
Three days later he stole a bike from Ben Hayward Cycles in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, and he has also stolen one from Cheltenham Cycles in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
Mr Crooks added: “We are trying to get the word out there amongst the traders.
“There are other dealers who will have been done and we are hoping we might have some success in catching him.”
The suspect is said to be around 5ft 8in or 5ft 9in tall, slightly overweighed and aged in his mid-50s.
He was wearing glasses when he visited Giant Bromley but it is believed he may not always wear them.
Bromley police has released the photo of a man they would like assistance in identifying as part of their enquiries.
Anyone who recognises him should call the police on 020 8284 8859 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.