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Suspect ID'd with facial recognition software, held in string of SoCal bike test-ride thefts

Published December 14, 2018

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Police here have arrested a suspect in a series of thefts at Southern California bike shops in which fake identification and credit cards were used to take high-end bikes out on test rides and never return them.

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Anthony Negreary was arrested in Santa Monica and is being held in Los Angeles County Jail on charges of grand theft. Negreary was identified using facial recognition software on security camera footage taken at Newbury Park Bicycle Shop, where a $6,600 MSRP bike was stolen on a test ride. The Conejo Valley retailer subsequently recovered the bike through a Craigslist ad, owner Ben Cox said.

Det. Paul Ferruzza of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said Negreary used stolen identity information to create fraudulent credit cards and identification bearing his own photo. Santa Monica police arrested Negreary in connection with two thefts in the coastal city.

Retailer Cox has compiled a list of as many as 14 shops in Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties who have had bikes stolen in the same or similar fashion in recent months.

Mike Franze, owner of Fullerton Bicycles and Buena Park Bicycles in Orange County, said Negreary left one of his managers a credit card, driver's license, wallet, set of keys and a cellphone before making off with a $4,900 Santa Cruz Hightower LT. "He had on a Fox shirt and had cash in pocket to make a deal," Franze said.

Authorities are encouraging retailers who have experienced similar thefts to contact their local law enforcement agency.

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