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Petaluma Bike Thief Foiled After Hiding In River

PETALUMA (CBS SF) - A man was arrested for stealing a locked bicycle from the yard of a home and then hiding in a river in Petaluma on Tuesday night, police said.

Officers arrested 52-year-old Robert Lee Ball, of Petaluma, near the Lynch Creek Trail late Tuesday night.

At about 6:45 p.m., police responded to a report that a bicycle had been stolen from a home in the 800 block of Holly Lane.

The witness who reported the theft told police a man had entered the backyard, cut the lock off a $900 mountain bike, and rode off in the direction of the Lynch Creek Trail by the Petaluma River.

The witness called out to the man to stop, but he kept riding, police said.

Officers searched the area but were unable to immediately locate the suspect.

At about 10 p.m., an officer on patrol in the Holly Lane area saw a man, later identified as Ball, riding the stolen bicycle.

Ball ignored the officer's attempts to stop him and rode toward the Lynch Creek Trail walking path.

Officers in the area responded to search for Ball. He was located trying to hide in the creek with the bicycle next to him.

According to police, he had submerged his body under the water, leaving just his face sticking out of it.

Ball was taken into custody without further incident and was found to be on parole for a prior burglary conviction.

He was transported and booked into the county jail on suspicion of possession of stolen property, obstructing an officer and on a no-bail parole hold.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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