On a drizzly day last February, a young, athletic man in hospital scrubs walked into a triathlon-supply store in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood and said he wanted to buy a very expensive bicycle, and right away.
The man said he was an oncologist, and he looked and talked the part. So the staff at Speedy Reedy Multisport set him up with a $6,800 road bike and a helmet, and he sped off for a test ride on the Burke-Gilman Trail, leaving just his name, which he said was Tony.
He also left behind a Tully's coffee cup — with "Jake" written on it.
When neither the bike nor the man returned, the store called Seattle police. They took that coffee cup and tested it for DNA, which traced back to an unlikely suspect: Jacob J. Bos, a respected 35-year-old podiatrist from Longview.
Police and prosecutors say they have connected Bos to a string of high-end bike thefts stretching across the Northwest. And in doing so, they have left his friends and colleagues befuddled at an apparent secret side to the avid bike racer.
Apparently you don't have to be a rocket scientist to run a bike shop, since the bad doctor didn't steal just one:
Even as police were investigating the Fremont theft, one high-end bike after another was vanishing during test rides. In March, a $4,500 bike was ridden away from a Tacoma shop. In June, a $6,000 bike was taken from a store in Portland. In September, a shop in Bothell lost a $5,800 bike.
Bos even returned to Speedy Reedy in Fremont, according to charging papers in Cowlitz County. In December, he managed to ride off on a $5,500 Scott Plasma by talking store co-owner Reed Sillers — who wasn't on duty during the first theft — into another test ride.
"He knew what he was going to do, and knew he had us completely snowed," Sillers said. "He was a smooth operator."
....In Seattle, John Teeters, the owner of Triumph Multisport, said he won't be burned again.
"We're a really small shop and know most of our customers by name, and for years," he said.
"We assume better of people. Now, I don't care if it's my brother. It's 'Sign here, give me the driver's license and credit card.' "