The Victim: Troy Patterson
The Crime:
Friday, Feb. 18
6:15 p.m.
9400 block of Spring Branch

An Iron Man Triathlon is a grueling athletic feat. The training is intense, and the actual competition requires unending stamina and effort. Troy Patterson should know — he’s training for an Iron Man being held in Florida in November. Many people would find the details of this type of competition seemingly impossible: a 112-mile bike ride, a 2.4-mile swim and a 26.2-mile run.

As part of his training, Patterson pedals through town on his high-performance Cervelo road bike. When not in use, the sleek machine is hung in his garage, which just happened to be left open briefly on the evening of Feb. 18.

“What happened was that the garage door was inadvertently left open for about 30 minutes,” Patterson says. “Some guys were driving down the alley looking for opportunities.”

One of those “opportunities” included snatching his bike. In most circumstances, the triathlete’s $2,500 would be gone and never seen again. But in this case, a neighbor and Good Samaritan made sure this story had a happy ending.

“A neighbor saw them driving in the alley down the street,” he says. “She basically saw them and confronted them. She saw them going pretty fast and hit a trash can.”

The woman yelled at the men, trying to stop them, and they ditched the bike at a nearby home before fleeing.

“If it wasn’t for the neighbor thinking they shouldn’t have been back there, I wouldn’t have gotten that bike back,” Patterson says.

Patterson and the neighbor attend the same church, and she told him about the experience on Sunday. He was thankful for her efforts and his good fortune.

“My advice: Leave the garage door closed and question anyone in your alley who looks like they don’t belong there.”

Dallas Police Lt. Mackie D. Ham of the Northeast Patrol Division says it always important to be vigilant about people in neighborhoods who look out of place or suspicious in any way.

“We never recommend that citizens directly confront known suspects. Instead, we ask that they immediately report any suspicious activity and get as much detailed information as possible,” he says. “Information such as vehicle description: year, make, model, color and license plate information, if possible. Also, any suspect description: gender, race, height, weight, clothing or otherwise. If the citizen can remain on the line with 911 while keeping the suspect in sight, that is also very good for us.”

Ham says that most times, if a citizen can keep a suspect in sight, police can respond quickly and take the suspects into custody.

“Residents should always report suspicious activity. Don’t be afraid to make the call if something seems out of the ordinary. We would much rather respond and verify that there is not a problem than to know that someone observed the incident and failed to give us a call.”