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Skeptical Mechanic Helps Recover Rare Bike

Published November 10, 2009

DANA POINT, CA (BRAIN)—The instant Mike Mayefske saw the man pushing a $12,000 Pinarello Prince signature edition into Revo Cycles, he had a hunch. And his hunch proved correct.

The man—wearing board shorts, flip-flops and no shirt—asked Mayefske to install flat pedals on the Pinarello. The man didn’t seem to know much about the bike, so Mayefske reasoned that something wasn’t quite right.

While spinning on some inexpensive Wellgos, Mayefske scribbled down the bike’s serial number and snapped a photo with his cell phone. The bike, a Prince of Spain limited edition, features a distinctive color scheme—yellow and red—as well as a full Campy Super Record set up and Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels.

“When he asked me to put on those pedals, I thought to myself, ‘Why would he want to do that?’ I then casually asked where he had gotten the bike. He told me he had just moved here from Arizona and a friend had given it to him,” the 27-year-old Mayefske said.

After the man left—paying cash for the pedals—Mayefske, suspicious of the man’s story, called Gita Sporting Goods’ local rep, Frank Raduziner. He asked Raduziner to look up the serial number to learn where the bike had first been sold.

Bingo. Raduziner called back within minutes. A store in Tucson, Arizona, had sold the bike to a collector who had also bought a Colnago Ferrari and a custom Independent Fab titanium mountain bike. Thieves had apparently cleaned out the man’s house, taking his bikes as well.

Mayefske alerted the Dana Point police, but without anything more to go on there was little the police could do. And then the stranger showed up again at Revo, pushing the same Pinarello.

The man came back to ask if Mayefske would pump up the tires—he couldn’t get an air hose at a nearby gas station to fill the tires and, apparently, was unfamiliar with Presta valves. Mayefske told him that Revo’s air compressor was off and it would take a few minutes to get the tank filled up. Would he mind waiting?

In the meantime, Mayefske quietly called police. Within minutes, the cops swooped in, confiscated the bike, and questioned the man. John McDonald, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, said they have the bike and are looking into the matter, but no arrests have been made.

—Marc Sani

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