Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bicycle Thief, Car Thief

Here's a great story posted to the MPD-3D mailing list by Officer Andrew Zabavsky. It highlights the difficultly of prosecuting even a criminal caught red-handed stealing a bicycle chained to a sign, and later items from a car.

Some back-story is in order: The suspect mentioned below was caught by Officer Edwards stealing a bike from a street sign to which it had been locked. He removed the sign face from the post, and then was in the process of lifting the bike and lock over the top of the sign! The man was arrested, but that's not the end of the story. Officer Zabavsky picks it up:

Unfortunately Mr. Teals [sic] case was "No-Papered" by the US Attorneys office the following morning. The US Attorney stated that since there was no complainant for the bicycle theft, they would not go forward on that charge, and as for the Destruction of Property charge, the attorney stated that since Mr. Teal carefully unbolted the signs using a wrench and placed the signs down, that they would not go forward with that charge as well and he was released.

On the bright side, I happened to be traveling in the 1200 block of Massachusetts Ave on Friday night and heard a car horn beep several times. As I looked over at the car, I observed an individual leaning through the right rear passenger window of the vehicle. The individual then looked up and observed my police car, exited the window and walked off. I exited my car and approached the parked vehicles window and observed that the window had been smashed and the vehicle was ransacked. I then got back into my car and stopped the individual around the corner on 13Th Street. The individual that was stopped was no other than Mr.Teal. He had stolen several CD's from the vehicle which had New Jersey license plates. After leaving numerous voice mail messages with his family and friends, using phone numbers that were located in the car, the complainant, who was visiting friends, called me back in the morning as I was heading into court and he wants to go forward with the prosecution. The case was "Papered" with the attorneys and Mr. Teal is being held in jail pending a detention hearing on 8/29/07. I also asked for a stay-away order for most of PSA 307.

Most of the Theft from auto suspects target out of state vehicles because it is very difficult for the police to locate the owner before the case has to be papered. In this case, the owner made himself a very easy target by leaving his I-pod, two large CD cases, 2 suits and other assorted items out in plain view inside his vehicle. Please remind your friends when visiting to make sure all items of value are removed from the vehicle or at least placed out of sight and into the trunk.

Major thanks go out to both Officer Edwards and Officer Zabavsky!


IMGoph said...

who is the US attorney who handled this. maybe we can ask mr. teals to go break into his house, steal his bike, and do some other mischief. if mr. teals does it with a smile, perhaps he'll be let off scot-free.

it's idiot attorneys like this guy who let criminals know that there are no consequences when you commit a crime in the district. EVERYTHING should be prosecuted. maybe then criminals would think twice before doing anything illegal, because they'd know they run the risk of actually being punished.

thanks for making us all victims of a shitty system, sir.

(and a true, non-sarcastic thank you to officer zabavsky for doing a great job! we appreciate it!)

lee.watkins said...

since there was no complainant for the bicycle theft, they would not go forward on that charge,

This is why everyone's bicycle gets stolen here in DC, because the police won't charge you, even if an officer sees it happening.

Stealing CD's (a luxury item) sitting in plain view, will land you in jail, but stealing a locked-up bicycle (transportation of the thrifty and poor) is no big deal.

The consumer is protected, but the laborer is not. These are the values of Capitolist America.

since Mr. Teal carefully unbolted the signs using a wrench and placed the signs down,

If he was stealing the signs it would be a crime, but apparently it's okay to remove them if you're just stealing a bicycle.

Thanks, now we know.

Brian said...


It's only fair to point out that the police had nothing to do with dropping the bike theft charges; the prosecuting US Attorney made that call.

Sergeant Emerman said...

Thanks for clarifying that Brian. Mr. Teals was arrested and charged by the police department. It was the US Attorney's Office, who after reviewing the arrest information and speaking with the officer, who determined not to proceed with the case. In this case, on 2 occassions, officers did observe a suspect committing a crime, and arrested him both times.

ed said...

The attorney on the latest case against Gregory Teal is Joe Spurbor (sp?) (202)514-7688.

Mr. Teal was arrested for at least 3 other crimes earlier this summer, one which I witnessed. Bob Nixon, outreach for AUSU, tells me that as part of a plea deal (cut by AUSU attorney Scott Burke (202)514-4991), Mr. Teal plead guilty to cocaine and making threats this past June. In exchang,e a theft from auto charge was dismissed. The arresting or supervisory officers were not contacted about the plea nor was I ever contacted as a witness to the theft from auto. It should be noted that Officers Santiago and Crowder did an excellent job arresting Gregory Teal who was combative. Under the deal Teal was supposed to serve 120 days followed by probation but obviously he did not since he was re-arrested for the famous bike theft and another theft from auto in August.

How many crimes do you have to commit before you go to jail in DC? Please help keep the pressure on AUSU to make our neighborhoods safer.