A Sausalito man linked to thefts of high-end bicycles across Marin and the Bay Area was arrested at his home Friday on suspicion of stealing a $6,700 bike in Santa Barbara, police said Sunday.
Jason Fashimpaur, 41, was arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property and suspected methamphetamine in a case in which the San Francisco Police Department dubbed him the California Bike Bandit earlier this month, according to Sausalito Sgt. Steve Veveiros.
Fashimpaur by the on April 24 for allegedly stealing a high-end bike from City Cycle in Corte Madera earlier this month. Fashimpaur was arrested as he tried to take a $2,800 bike on a test drive at Sunshine Bicycle Center in Fairfax and Sunshine employees connected him to earlier bike theft reports and called police. Fashimpaur posted bail Thursday.
In the latest arrest, a Sausalito man bought a Cervelo R5 road bike on Craigslist for $2,300 and later became suspicious of the transaction when he saw a posting on Facebook that described the bike, and said it had been stolen from a store in Santa Barbara, according to Veveiros.
On March 13, the man reported the incident to police and sent the bike to the Santa Barbara store, Veveiros said. Detectives from Twin Cities and Sausalito police departments investigated the cases further and went to Fashimpaur’s home and was given consent to search the home by his wife. Veveiros said detectives found another possible stolen bicycle, train tickets to Santa Barbara from around the time of the alleged theft at the bike shop there and the suspected methamphetamine.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that Fashimpaur is connected to burglaries in San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto and Santa Clara in addition to the Marin thefts.
Fashimpaur’s apparent downfall began on April 24 when he tried to take a $2,800 bike on a test drive using using a temporary driver’s license without any photo ID attached under the alias “Cerri Kurtis,” according to Sunshine Bicycle manager Tony Merz.
Merz said one of the shop’s employees went out on the test drive because of the ID concern and Fashimpaur left and came back later to try the bike a second time and was again allowed to test drive with an employee.
Fashimpaur said the bike was making a clicking sound and as he waited for a mechanic to fix it, store employee Emile Mulholland recognized him from a crime bulletin flier from the San Francisco Police Department. Merz then called the Missing Link bike shop in Berkeley and confirmed that the alias was the same as the one used at that store in a bike theft.
According to Merz, there have been other bike shops in Marin that have been hit by thefts, including Village Peddler in Corte Madera, California Bike-N-Bean in San Rafael and Classcycle in Novato. In the Classcycle incident, the shop owner chased down the thief with the help of a customer on a motor scooter.
“In the last few years, we’ve heard of a lot of bikes being stolen," Merz said. "Thieves take them out of the county and sell them elsewhere or they strip them and sell them for parts."
Tracey Ruiz and Bay City News Service contributed to this report.