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Man accused of stealing girl's bike hours after being released from jail

Man who'd just been released from jail is stopped while riding a small pink bicycle, police say.

May 12, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • Michael Toplin (Courtesy of the Glendale Police Department)
Michael Toplin (Courtesy of the Glendale Police Department)

SOUTH GLENDALE — A 31-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after police spotted him wearing a black inmate jumpsuit and riding a 10-year-old girl’s stolen pink bicycle — just hours after he was released from a Los Angeles County jail.

Michael Toplin, who was on parole for receiving stolen property, had been released from jail earlier that day, but allegedly wasted little time in taking advantage of an opportunity crime, according to Glendale police reports.

Special Enforcement Detail officers, whose duties include monitoring parolees, reported spotting Toplin about 7:30 p.m. riding the pink bike on a Central Avenue sidewalk, a code violation.

The same bike had been reported stolen 10 minutes earlier from an apartment in the 100 block of Louise Street, according to police reports.

The alleged offense likely resulted from Toplin needing some mode of transportation, Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

“They have no ethics, and they are willing to take from others,” he said.

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After they stopped him, police noticed Toplin was wearing a county jail jumpsuit given to inmates who don’t have their own clothing to wear when they are released, Lorenz said.

Toplin allegedly told officers that a friend had given him the bike, and that he had just left the Home Depot on San Fernando Road.

Police arrested Toplin on suspicion of receiving stolen property and petty theft with a prior conviction.

The bicycle was returned to the girl.

Lorenz said residents — who often report stolen barbecue grills, bicycles and recyclables — should keep all their valuables secured.

“Another man’s trash is another person’s treasure,” he said.

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