Michael Lawrence called himself selfish and greedy Friday and apologized to the dozens of people whose bicycles he stole in Boise this year including a team of professional female cyclists from California who almost couldnt race in the inaugural Exergy Bike Tour in May.
Clad in a jail uniform, Lawrence also pledged to not continue to bring others down, when he gets back into society, which could happen in a year.
Fourth District Judge Timothy Hansen gave Lawrence, 19, a 14-year prison sentence Friday, but then placed him on a retained jurisdiction program commonly known as a rider which means he will go to an IDOC treatment program for up to one year.
Hansen will decide when that is over if Lawrence should go to prison or be placed on probation.
If he does go to prison, Lawrence will have to serve three years before he can ask for parole.
Lawrence pleaded guilty in June to two counts of grand theft in connection with the theft of 13 high-end performance bikes belonging to the Tibco To The Top racing team a California-based group of professional female cyclists in Boise to race in the first annual 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 bikes were worth more than $70,000 and without them, the Tibco team wouldnt have been able to race.
Police say Lawrence broke into the teams locked trailer in front of the Holiday Inn off Vista Avenue the night of May 23 and ferried the bikes to the Boise State campus.
While it is still a mystery how Lawrence was able to get all 13 bikes out of the parking lot and across town without notice, Boise police suspect he put them on the bike rack on the back of his Jeep Cherokee three or four at a time.
When the thefts were discovered the next morning, there was a citywide effort to find the bikes. The bikes were found in groups, locked together on the campus a move police later determined was Lawrences modus operandi to hide them in plain sight, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bandy said Friday.
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.
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.
Lawrence has an eye for expensive bikes, police say. They say they have evidence Lawrence stole five bikes worth more than $10,000 total from businesses on Vista Avenue in early June. Police found two of those bikes, each worth about $3,500, in June locked together near St. Lukes Boise Medical Center.
So far, about 35 bicycles, including 13 Exergy bikes, have been recovered. The value of the bicycles recovered is in excess of $140,000.
Other items recovered during the investigation included 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 area through Craigslist sales.
Bandy said Friday he planned to ask for prison time for Lawrence but later recommended the rider because Lawrence cooperated with police about bike thefts, going over reports and letting officers know if he was involved and who he might have sold them to.
Lawrence still owes almost $32,000 in restitution to his victims, which he wouldnt be able to work to pay back if he is imprisoned. That cost is for the bikes that have not been recovered, and repairs on damaged bikes.
Lawrence does have some mental health issues, like antisocial personality disorder, and Bandy said Lawrence would benefit from cognitive restructuring training he would get in the rider program.
The restitution does not include travel costs for victims who went to Portland to recover their bikes.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219, Twitter: @IDS_Orr