Since moving to his home on 55th Street in Gulfport eight months ago, Charles White has had his bicycle stolen three times. Unlike many bike thefts locally, however, White’s story has a happy ending.
The first theft occurred in January; someone took a bike from his open garage in the middle of the day, White says.
“That bike was never recovered. I had not recorded the serial number and the bike shop did not keep records. Neither had I registered the bike with the police. Lessons learned!” he says. He bought a new bike, this time making note of the serial number.
Once again, thieves stole the bike out of his garage.
“Yes the garage door was open,” White admits, “but my wife was in and out of the garage washing clothes.”
White reported the theft, this time giving Gulfport Police the bike’s serial number. Two days later, Gulfport Police Officer Scott Hutsko called him and told him he’d found White’s bike abandoned in a church parking lot.
When White went to collect his bicycle, he registered it with the Gulfport Police Department. This helped him when he went to Atlanta in June and someone stole the bike from his fenced backyard.
When he discovered the bike missing, he again reported it to the Gulfport Police. In late August, Hutsko called to tell him the police had, once again, recovered his bike.
According to White, Hutsko was in the process of serving a warrant when he noted a bike that called to mind the description of White’s bike. He checked the registered serial number, confirmed that it was White’s stolen bike, and arrested the alleged bike thief. He also found drugs and charged the man with possession.
During this process, the suspect’s cell phone rang. Hutsko answered it and heard the caller say he wanted to come get his bike. Hutsko identified himself as a police officer and told the caller to come collect the bike.
When the caller arrived, Hutsko recognized him as the same person for whom he had the warrant. He arrested the man.
“Bottom line?In addition to recovering my first bike,” says White, “Officer Hutsko not only recovered it a second time after three months, but simultaneously he arrested a drug dealer and whoever he had a warrant for.”
White contacted the Gabber to make sure Gulfportians knew about what he called “outstanding police work.”
“It would be great for people to know and be proud of how dedicated and competent our local police force is,” he said.