Devin Woodland chased down and caught up with someone who had his wife’s bicycle. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Red Deer runner and police get their man

Stolen mountain bike recovered

A champion cross-country runner teamed up with a police officer for a 30-minute chase to bring down a bike thief last Thursday.

Red Deer resident Devin Woodland said he recognized his wife’s distinct mountain bike while he was out for a run Thursday morning. A man who was likely homeless had it outside the downtown McDonald’s and rode off on it after Woodland asked him to give it back.

That’s when Woodland, the 2012 Alberta College Athletic Conference provincial champion, gave chase on foot and called the RCMP.

“He started off really fast and was going through a bunch of back alleys. Then he thought he lost me, but that didn’t last too long,” said Woodland, 25, on Tuesday.

The chase took him mostly down walking trails and through parks around the downtown. All the while, Woodland was on the phone with RCMP Const. Trevor Naldrett who was tracking the chase in a police vehicle.

“The guy wasn’t staying on roadways so the police couldn’t actually ever see him. That was frustrating.”

The chase ended in Coronation Park where both the officer and Woodland cornered the thief.

“I think when he saw the police there he sort of gave up.”

The former Red Deer College athlete said he was tempted to give up the chase a few times but his determination to retrieve the bike was stronger. And it felt good to get it back.

The blue bike was spray painted white, but blue paint was still visible. Distinct handlebars and other features also made it easy to identify.

Woodland suspected he first saw the bike while out on a run a few days after it was stolen on Sept. 24, but didn’t stop to examine it.

His wife Anna was happy to get her bike back that had been locked up outside their apartment when it was stolen.

“It was the only time we ever left it out. We obviously won’t be doing that again,” Anna said.

It was their fourth bike to be stolen in about two years.

She said bike theft is a big problem in Red Deer and most of the time police don’t offer much assistance.

“It’s important to note that this officer took my husband seriously and was willing to stay on the phone with him for half an hour until he was able to meet up with him and catch the guy. I was really impressed by the officer’s determination,” Anna said.

In the end, her husband decided not to press charges.

“I’m a Christian and believe God gave me grace. He needed a bike for a while so I wasn’t going to make his day more miserable than it already was,” Devin Woodland said.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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