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.