Duluth woman takes stand against bike thieves

Amber Marshall had to take a stand. You don’t steal an 8-year-old’s bike off the front porch. Not in Duluth, anyway.

“We left his bike out on the front porch overnight. … It was still there when he left for school. But at about 11 my husband called me to say Jack’s bike was gone,” Amber Marshall told the Duluth News Tribune. “I couldn’t believe someone would walk up there and do that in broad daylight.”

Outrage led to action.

When she found out her kid’s bike was stolen, she left her job and started searching in her Lincoln Park neighborhood. She drove down every street, and up every alley. And why wouldn’t she? The kid had saved his money to buy that bike.

Besides, when she reported the bike stolen, the cop who responded took down all the information, and then told her not to expect much.

Then she saw an older teenager riding her kid’s bike.

The bike was still in the yard, but so was a woman and one of the teenagers she had seen riding minutes earlier. The bike had a reflector in an unusual place and a Stewart’s sticker in a specific place. There was no doubt it was Jack’s bike, she said.

“I didn’t think I could just take it without saying something. So I asked if they happened to see a blue bike, which was sitting right there. … The woman told me to just take it. It’s like she knew it was stolen. The teenager tried to say it was his, but I kind of got in his face and told him he was lying,” Amber Marshall said.

Amber Marshall said the woman, apparently the teenager’s grandmother, asked her to call the police and that the woman essentially admitted her grandson had been stealing bikes.

As Amber Marshall was dialing 911, the teenagers and an adult male left in a large van. They apparently were moving out, Marshall said.

“I think I just got there in time. I think they would have taken Jack’s bike with them,” she said.

They found parts of 20 or 30 bikes, all of them probably stolen.

“It seems like everyone at the house knew what was going on, but nobody did anything until we stumbled into our son’s bike,” Eric Marshall said.

The paper says no one is likely to be prosecuted.

Archive: After bike theft, an effort to fix kids’ bikes