Citizen's arrest gone wrong - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Citizen's arrest gone wrong

MADISON (WKOW) -- Kelley Howe of Madison spotted his brother's stolen, Trek bicycle, tried to detain a man who was on the expensive bike, and ended up arrested and charged with a felony.

"This is a perfect storm of disaster to me,"   Howe told 27 News.

But the cloud over Howe's head may be clearing.

Howe, 50, said he confronted the man July 6 with what appeared to be his brother's stolen, $1,600 road bicycle in front of a business on South Park street.  

Howe says he kept a grip on the bicycle as he talked with the man and his father.   Howe had no cell phone, and said he resorted to tossing a muffler from a nearby automotive business' sales display onto the street to try to stop a passing police officer and get help.  Court documents state the tossed muffled caused a passing car to get a flat tire.

An officer stopped, arrested Howe and booked him into the Dane County jail on tentative charges, including the felony charge of attempted robbery with use of force.

"I can't believe as a citizen, and I see my brother's stolen property, I can't at least secure that property for the police to come look at it."

Authorities later discovered the bicycle in question had been stolen from the underground garage parking of Michael Howe's east side apartment.

Kelley Howe told 27 News in addition to his legal jeopardy, he's suffered the ignominy of having his jail booking photo appear on another Madison television station's broadcast without the chance to tell his side of the story.

"My mother was really upset and crying."

When 27 News inquired about the arrest and the criminal case against Howe, Madison police lieutenant Stephanie Bradley-Wilson said the felony charge against Howe was going to be dropped.

Dane County district attorney Brian Blanchard confirmed for 27 News the charge is being dropped as a result of further investigation.

"The new evidence involves proof supporting the premise that Mr. Howe believed the bicycle at issue to have been stolen from his brother.   When the case was charged it appeared from all evidence available to this office that Mr. Howe was making it up."

Michael Howe said when his bicycle was stolen in June, he provided police officials with his city of Madison bicycle registration information, as well as original sales receipts with descriptions of the bike.    While his bicycle has been returned, he told 27 News it's missing $500 worth of components and accessories.   Howe said he believes whoever stole it should be brought to justice.

The Madison man, 22, who had the bike when confronted by Kelley Howe, has a past fraud conviction.   The theft case remains under investigation.



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