Police arrest suspected bike thief - FOX 13 News

Police arrest suspected bike thief

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Investigators say stealing bikes was like a full-time job for Daniel Upton.

"He has been up and down, pretty busy the last few months," said Detective Brian Hall with the Holmes Beach Police Department.

Judging by his mugshot, one would think he was happy with his actions.

According to police, he was pretty good at getting away.

"He was going around early in the morning and when it was dark, and sneaking around and stealing them at night," said Detective Hall.

Upton was busy stealing bikes -- many of them. Police in Holmes Beach first noticed an uptick in thefts in May, and they weren't alone.

The phones were ringing at police stations across Manatee and Sarasota counties.

"Once we started getting them, we knew we had a problem," said Chief Peter Cumming with the Longboat Key police department.

It was a phone call from a witness to police in Longboat Key that may have cracked the case.

The tag traced back to Upton, then officers turned to their license plate recognition cameras.

"When there is a violation attached to any license plate, that violation is sent to these computers," Chief Cumming pointed out.

The cameras, located around town, scanned for any and all cars linked to Upton. They found him several times on Longboat Key when robberies were reported.

"When we see that kind of thing, it means we are making real progress in our cases," Cumming said.

The hard part was over. As soon as officers caught him, they said he confessed.

"At one point he bragged about filling a U-Haul truck and selling a U-Haul truck full of bikes," said Detective Hall.

Chief Cumming has a similar story.

"During the interrogation, he indicated that he had committed up to 100 bicycle thefts on the island. I think that is an exaggeration, but we are still working the case," he said.

Officers are also getting help from local bike stores.

"Locals have come into the store telling me their bikes have been stolen and to be on the lookout," said Mark Boyles with AMI Beach Fun Rentals.

With Upton behind bars, bike owners are now the ones smiling.

"Hopefully it will make the island a little more safe and people can be more relaxed," Boyles said.


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