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Sporting goods store employee awarded commendation for foiling bicycle theft
MARYSVILLE – Mayor Jon Nehring and Police Chief Rick Smith recently presented Play It Again Sports employee Brie Stewart with a certificate of commendation for foiling a bicycle theft from the store on Feb. 17 that ended in the arrest of a Skagit County man.
"In recognition of your calm and courageous quick-thinking actions, it is our honor to present you with this commendation," said Nehring of Stewart, who was on hand at the March 14 City Council meeting along with co-workers to accept the honor that most often goes to law enforcement personnel.
"You acted boldly as an individual cast into the middle of the commission of a crime, and you played an important role in bringing a suspect to justice."
The incident occurred just before noon on Feb. 17 at the Play It Again Sports store near 88th Street NE and I-5 when a man walked in and asked Stewart if he could test ride one of their used bicycles.
Stewart didn't know the man, but said okay, at which time the suspect stole the bike, then rode it out of the parking lot heading east on 88th.
Stewart jumped into her Jeep and pursued of the suspect. Once the man realized he was being followed, he turned south onto a walking path along the east side of the railroad tracks at 88th, police say. Stewart yelled at the man to return the bicycle; if he did, the store would not press theft charges. The man apologized, then gave her the bike.
While Stewart was following the suspect, store Owner Susan Scott called 911 to report the theft. Marysville Police Officers Belinda Paxton and Pete Shove responded. When they arrived, they were told that Stewart was currently following the suspect in her vehicle to try to retrieve the bike. While Paxton was there, Stewart returned with the bicycle.
Officer Paxton confirmed with the store owner that Play It Again Sports was declining to press theft charges. After gaining a suspect description, Paxton went in search of the man because a crime had been committed regardless of whether the store brought charges.
She located the suspect at 80th and State. When she told the man that it was good he returned the bike, the suspect said he should not have taken it. With that bit of information, Officer Paxton identified the suspect as a 40-year-old Skagit County man. A computer check found that he had five outstanding warrants for his arrest for driving offenses, theft, and criminal solicitation.
When the suspect learned he was going to jail on the outstanding warrants, he became agitated and upset, police say.
Once he was in jail awaiting transport to Skagit County, Paxton called a relieved Susan Scott and Brie Stewart to inform them that the man was jailed on the warrants.
"Our Police speak often about the vital partnership that needs to exist between law enforcement and the people they serve – citizens, business owners and others," said the Mayor. "It is an important element in the department's community-oriented policing and problem solving philosophy that ties directly into crime prevention.
"Stewart's bold reaction to do all she could to keep the bike and suspect in sight while police were summoned to investigate is a perfect example of what Citizens and Police can do when they work together to prevent crime — or in this case, bring it to a stop ending in an arrest before the situation escalated, or someone got hurt."