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Vancouver cop busts thieves on bikes after spotting purse swinging from handlebars

* Do not ride bikes with a stolen bright-red purse swinging from your handlebars.

* Do not "immediately" hide the purse behind your back at the sight of a cop.

* Do not hurriedly pedal off when the police officer flips on his vehicle's blue lights.

But according to police, Jerrick Thies and Mikyle Lederbrand did all of those things, preceded by snatching the red leather bag from woman's grocery cart.

Margaret Call was pushing a cart away from WinCo Foods, 905 N.E. 136th Ave., and toward her car at about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday when Thies allegedly came from behind her and grabbed the purse from the cart's basket. She watched as he ran to the other side of the parking lot where Lederbrand had been eating a sandwich and allegedly serving as a lookout, according to a police report. The two hopped on bikes and pedaled off.

Unbeknownst to them, Vancouver Police Sgt. Keith Hyde was around the corner, and spotted the 21-year-olds pedaling near Leroy Haagen Park even before Call reported the crime.

According to Hyde's police report, he saw Thies and couldn't help but notice the purse "swinging back and forth under the handlebars as he rode."

Furthermore, when Thies saw him, he "immediately took the purse from his left hand and put it in his right hand away from me," according to the report. "He then sat upright on the bike," placing the purse "behind his back, as if he was trying to conceal it from me.

"It was very odd to me that two guys, riding bikes and carrying backpacks, would also be carrying a brand-new-looking red ladies' purse."

The oddity of what he saw and knowledge of "several purse snatches from the (WinCo) parking lot lately" led Hyde to make a U-turn and seek to have a conversation with Thies and Lederbrand.

Hyde hit his lights to signal he wanted Thies and Lederbrand to stop. "Neither of them did so," he wrote.

He sped up, pulled ahead of the bikes and into a break in the sidewalk, where he cut them off and took both men into custody.

Another officer brought Call to the park, where she was asked to identify her purse and finger the man who took it. It was Thies, she said, and she was certain.

Thies was read his Miranda rights and then he inquired, according to the report, "Couldn't we just give the purse back, apologize and call it good?"

Er, no, Hyde told him.

"Well then, I did it," Thies said. "I took the purse."

Thies and Hyde were both booked into the Clark County Jail, where Thies was still in custody Friday. Reports have been forwarded to prosecutors, who will decide whether or not to file criminal charges.

Regardless of what happens going forward, police spokeswoman Kim Kapp touted the arrest as an example of a police officer's taking initiative when something seemed out of place. Being observant is one way the public, too, can play a significant role in keeping the community safe, she said.

She added: "Even before a crime was reported, we were able to solve it."

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