• 43°

Bogalusa man charged in Mandeville bicycle theft

Bogalusa resident James Fruge, 31, was arrested and charged Monday with simple burglary by Mandeville Police.

Fruge allegedly admitted to police he stole a bicycle, valued at $5,000, from a store in the city. The investigation led to police finding the bicycle in the back of Fruge’s car, according to Capt. Kevin Covert.

“He broke into the front door and loaded it up in the back of his truck and left with it,” Covert told the Daily News. “He had been arrested for stealing a high profile bike like this before. This was his second go around.”

Mandeville Police said the bike was taken from The Spokesman Pro Bike Works in the Northlake Shopping Center, located on North Causeway Boulevard. The theft occurred at approximately 12:30 a.m. Monday. After police responded to a business alarm, police found the front door of the business broken out.

Covert said the bike was a Felt 1A Carbon Fiber Tri-athlon. He said it was the only item missing from the store.

Later in the day, the owner of The Bike Path, another Mandeville cycling store, called the Spokesman’s owner and said that a vehicle in his parking lot had a bicycle in the back that matched the description of the one stolen earlier.

The Bike Path owner gave police a vehicle description and license plate number.

Covert said police found the vehicle in a McDonald’s parking lot and talked to the driver, who was Fruge. Covert said Fruge gave police permission to search the vehicle. Police found the bike. Covert said Fruge admitted to stealing the bike.

Fruge was apparently no stranger to The Spokesman’s owner. Covert said Fruge took a bike to The Spokesman for service approximately two years ago.

“We were intending on looking at that angle when Fruge pulled up into The Bike Path and the owner called The Spokesman’s owner,” Covert said. “A little later, an off-duty officer spotted the truck at McDonald’s and called on-duty officers. That was when Fruge admitted stealing the bike.”