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WL Police preemptively recover stolen bike

Bike worth $900 was found with transient and returned to owner before it was reported stolen

West Linn Police were recently able to recover a stolen bike — before it was reported missing.

On July 4, according to police, a West Linn resident flagged down WLPD Sergeant Oddis Rollins, reporting she had just had an encounter with a possibly intoxicated transient asking for directions to Safeway. The resident went on to say that a short time later, she saw the same man with what looked like a "new, expensive" mountain bike that he didn't have earlier.

Rollins, suspecting that the bike may be stolen, put out a broadcast on the radio and began looking for the man, police said. Moments later, Officers Larry Redler and Peter Seaberg found the man, 31-year old Axel Max Hanson, near Wal-Mart. Hanson was riding a new Trek Mountain bike valued at $900.

Police said Hanson, a transient, claimed that he was borrowing the bike from his brother, but refused to provide the brother's name.

Rollins then seized the bike, believing it to be stolen. Since he did not know who the victim was, he released Hanson after identifying him. The next day, according to police, Detective Tony Poitras contacted the bike's manufacturer and discovered it was actually owned by long time West Linn business owner Will Earhart, better known as Sourdough Willy.

The bike was returned to Earhart, and a warrant for the arrest of Hanson is being sought, police said. Those who know the whereabouts Hanson are urged to contact the West Linn Police.