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April 24, 2014

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‘Bike Bandit’ saga ends in hotel suicide

Source   Marin IJ

A twisted saga involving allegations of statewide bicycle theft, drugs and child pornography seems to have ended Tuesday night in suicide.

Jason Kurt Fashimpaur, the man accused of being the “California Bike Bandit,” was found dead wearing a breathing mask connected to pressurized tanks in an Antioch hotel room.

Antioch police Lt. Scott Willerford said he didn’t know if Fashimpaur, 41, of Sausalito left behind a suicide note when he was discovered dead at the Ramada Inn. Fashimpaur had recently been accused of a string of expensive bicycle thefts stretching from the North Bay to Santa Barbara.

In one theft typical of his alleged technique, Fashimpaur is accused of visiting Sunshine Bicycle Center in Fairfax last month asking to test ride a $2,800 bike. With only a temporary ID (bearing the name “Cerri Kurtis”) with no photo, the shop let Fashimpaur take the bike for a spin, but sent a shop employee to ride along with him as a security measure.

During the ride, Fashimpaur complained about a clicking noise and brought the bike back to the shop for adjustment. He was recognized by an employee who remembered him from a crime bulletin photo distributed by SFPD.

The shop’s manager called another bike shop and confirmed the alias “Cerri Kurtis” was used there in a recent bike theft. The clerks kept Fashimpaur waiting while they fixed the clicking noise, until police arrived and detained him.

He was then identified by an employee of yet another Bay Area bike shop that was hit, City Cycle in Corte Madera, and subsequently arrested on suspicion of burglary and using a forged ID, said Fairfax Police Chief Chris Morin.

While searching Fashimpaur’s home, police say they found what appeared to be methamphetamine and evidence linking him to the theft of a $6,700 racing bike from Fastrack Bicycles in Santa Barbara. The expensive Cervelo R5 had already been returned to Fastrack by another Sausalito man who purchased it on Craigslist for $2,300.

After further investigation, Fashimpaur was labeled a suspect in other bicycle shop thefts in Marin County, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Berkeley. Authorities suspect he was selling what he stole on Craigslist.

Fashimpaur was out on bail when Sausalito police uncovered evidence that he possessed child porn. Police were in the process of getting a search warrant for Fashimpaur’s computer when they learned of his apparent suicide, said Sausalito police Lt. Kurtis Skoog.

The suicide investigation was turned over Wednesday to the coroner’s division of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office.

Fashimpaur is listed on Manta.com as the President of Kurt Fashimpaur Inc, a photographic enlargement company based out of Sausalito. According to his LinkedIn profile, Fashimpaur listed himself as a freelance photographer, retoucher and videographer, as well as a senior retoucher at Interpublic Group.

Source   Marin IJ
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