At approximately 2:37 p.m. on Sunday, April 24, 2016, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the area of the Oak Grove Fred Meyer after an employee reported that a man stole two customers' bicycles that were parked at a bicycle rack in front of the store.
The employee followed the suspect as he drove away in a red Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Deputies arrived within about two minutes -- and contacted the suspect as he walked around his parked car in a residential neighborhood close to the Fred Meyer.
The suspect was identified as Austin Taylor Cook, 33, of Washington.
The bicycles were plainly seen in the utility portion of the Mr. Cook's Jeep, along with drug paraphernalia around the interior.
After Mr. Cook gave deputies consent to search the Jeep, the bicycles and a helmet were recovered, along with drug paraphernalia and a small amount of methamphetamine.
Mr. Cook initially told deputies he purchased the bicycles at another local store, but eventually told deputies he stole the bicycles to potentially sell them to get money for gasoline and/or drugs.
Mr. Cook was lodged at the Clackamas County Jail on charges of Theft II and Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine). Mr. Cook's complete booking information can be found here: http://web3.clackamas.us/roster/inmates/inmate.jsp?id=2016010913
A representative of the bicycles' rightful owners contacted the Sheriff's Office that same day, after seeing pictures of the bicycles on the Sheriff's Office Twitter account ( https://twitter.com/ClackCoSheriff/status/724362908793073664 ).
The next day the lead investigating deputy met with the bikes' owners -- who turned out to be exchange students from Thailand living and working in the Milwaukie area. Arrangements were made for the bicycles to be returned to them. They were reportedly grateful and excited their bicycles had been recovered.