Thursday, September 3 , 2015, 1:50 am | Mostly Cloudy 64.0º




Police Say Injured Cyclist’s Bike Wasn’t Really Stolen

'Theft' was a 'big misunderstanding,' according to Santa Barbara police

A Santa Barbara police officer talks with injured cyclist Nathaniel Preston before he is loaded into an ambulance. Police originally thought Preston’s bike had been stolen after the accident, but determined Thursday that the theft was a ‘big misunderstanding.’

A Santa Barbara police officer talks with injured cyclist Nathaniel Preston before he is loaded into an ambulance. Police originally thought Preston’s bike had been stolen after the accident, but determined Thursday that the theft was a ‘big misunderstanding.’  (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

By Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor | @tombol |

Police and bystanders were dumbfounded Wednesday afternoon when it appeared an injured cyclist's bike had been stolen after an accident in downtown Santa Barbara.

But it turns out the "theft" was the result of a "big misunderstanding," according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

As the victim, Nathaniel Preston, 25, was being loaded into an ambulance for a trip to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, police looked around for his bicycle.

Several bystanders told Noozhawk they thought the bike had been taken into a store on the 1300 block of State Street for safekeeping, but a search of nearby shops turned up nothing.

Police concluded it had been stolen.

"While the guy was lying on the ground, someone walked off with it," Sgt. Riley Harwood said Wednesday evening.

However, police received a tip Thursday that the bike had been taken by a Good Samaritan to Preston's workplace, Seagrass Restaurant, on East Ortega Street.

"It was erroneously reported as stolen – just a big misunderstanding," said Officer Jaycee Hunter.

The bike actually was turned over to the restaurant's owner, who saw that it got back to Preston, Hunter said.

"All is good," Hunter added.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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