AUSTIN -- Bike thefts in East Austin have been cut in half thanks to a young woman recognized this week by the Austin Police Department.
Rikki Hardy, 25, doesn’t consider herself a crime fighter or vigilante by any means, but she can now claim she helped bring down a bike theft ring simply by taking a photo.
On her way to lunch on June 8th, Hardy was waiting at a stop light on Cesar Chavez and San Marcos when she noticed two men standing near a bicycle outside a soup kitchen.
She thought they were acting suspiciously and when she took a closer look she realized one of the men had bolt cutters and the other one appeared to be acting as a lookout.
"We were all kind of joking and we made a comment 'Oh those guys look like they're up to no good' and one of the guys in the car said 'I think that guy is actually trying to steal that bike,'" said Hardy.
After taking the picture she called the church, which hosts the soup kitchen every day at lunch time, and they called police.
When officers called Hardy asking for the photos, she immediately sent them and the officers located the suspects seven blocks away.
"We met them face to face as they were coming around the corner and they had just hidden the bicycle," Officer Cory Ehrler said.
The suspects, Kenneth Davenport and Brad Mayberry were arrested and remain in jail.
This week, the Austin Police Department rewarded Hardy for her help cracking this case.
"Kudos to her for taking that photo,” Ehrler said.
APD said a month before the arrest there were 48 bike thefts reported in the East Austin area and now that number has been cut in half.
"We knew there was a bike theft ring going on around here and we were figuring that they were probably some of the suppliers,” said Erhler.
But now those suppliers are off the streets and police hope more people will consider taking action: or in this case, taking photos.