Boise police plan to return a $4,500 bicycle to its owner Tuesday afternoon the first of several bicycles recovered after a lengthy investigation into a series of bike thefts earlier this year.
Michael Lawrence pleaded guilty in June to two counts of grand theft in connection with the theft of 13 professional racing bikes just two days before the inaugural Exergy Bike Tour. Ada County prosecutors dropped 12 other felony counts of grand theft and one count of burglary in exchange for the guilty plea.
The 19-year-old stole as many as 50 bikes in the Boise area this past spring, Boise police said. So far, 29 bicycles, including 13 Exergy bikes, have been recovered. The value of the bicycles recovered is an estimated $138,730. Other items recovered including a projector from a Boise elementary school, a bike rack and $9,000 in cash from the sale of stolen bicycles, most of which went to buyers in the Portland, Ore., area.
Lawrence faces up to 14 years in prison on each count of grand theft when he is sentenced at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 26 by Judge Timothy Hansen.
In May, Lawrence stole 13 bikes belonging to the California-based Tibco-To The Top racing team from a locked trailer outside a Vista Boulevard hotel. They were found locked together at different places on the Boise State University campus.
Police were able to identify Lawrence as a suspect when they found his fingerprints on the stolen Tibco bikes and later found a series of color-coded keys in his car that matched the color-coded locks found on the stolen bikes, according to court documents.
Police were just about to arrest Lawrence for the Tibco bike thefts when he got caught the night of June 21 trying to steal $800 worth of car tires from the Les Schwab store at 1805 S. Cole Road, police said.
By then, police had identified Lawrence as a suspect in as many as 50 different bike thefts - saying he used tools to break through locks and doors to steal expensive bikes from businesses, homes and bike racks across town. When police searched Lawrence's home in June, they found computers and TVs reported stolen from area businesses, according to reports.