Man busted in alleged Harley thefts |

Man busted in alleged Harley thefts

A Grass Valley man initially detained on suspicion of trying to steal a Harley Davidson from downtown Grass Valley ended up being linked with two other vehicle thefts, after his landlord awoke to find one Harley in his living room and another on a small side patio.

The alleged crime spree began at about 9 p.m. Wednesday, when a Nevada City man called to report the theft of his motorcycle from Broad Street.

The man said he heard his bike being started, and as soon as he came out, he heard it being driven off, according to dispatch reports. The distinctive Harley was described as having purple flames on both fenders and gas tank and purple neon lights under the gas tank.

Officers were unable to locate the motorcycle, however.

Soon thereafter, the California Highway Patrol was dispatched to the Dew Drop Inn on Highway 49 for a report of a stolen Harley Davidson; that motorcycle also could not be located.

But the bike thief apparently tried to push his luck one more time.

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At 11:21 p.m., a Grass Valley Police officer patrolling Mill Street was flagged down by a man who told him someone had tried to steal his Harley Davidson from in front of Gary's Place, said Sgt. Steve Johnson.

The man had last been seen running toward Safeway on Neal Street.

Officers began doing an area check and found the suspect hiding under the library steps in Mill Street, Johnson said.

The man fled, running through the area behind the library and scaling a fence into Elisabeth Daniels Park toward Neal Street. He was cut off by a second officer and taken into custody, Johnson said.

The man, identified as Thomas Michael Morrison, 41, was found to be on parole out of Modesto for several theft convictions, Johnson said. He was arrested and booked into county jail on suspicion of attempted vehicle theft.

Morrison's landlord provided a break in the case when he called Thursday morning to report a suspicious circumstance, Johnson said.

The landlord, who rented Morrison a room in a residence in the 300 block of Mill Street, told officers he became concerned because he found a Harley in his living room.

"He found that suspicious," Johnson said.

He also found a second Harley stashed on a small side patio, Johnson said.

The two motorcycles were linked to the incidents from the night before, recovered and returned to their owners, Johnson said.

Morrison is believed to have been working with an accomplice, and the investigation is ongoing.

He was arrested in suspicion of vehicle theft, vehicle theft with priors and resisting arrest and was being held in lieu of $10,750 bail.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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