Some sport bikers linked to theft ring

Print
Email
|

by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on November 22, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 23 at 12:35 AM

News 8 has obtained new dashcam video and police documents from the high-profile death of Preston Cass, who was killed while riding in a group of sport bikers on the Dallas North Tollway in September.

Cass was going too fast, crashed and died. The other riders fled.

Who were those other riders?

In a previous report, News 8 showed that the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is investigating the case, may have failed to run down valuable leads.

"In this case, the case is still open," said DPS spokesman Trooper Lonnie Haschel.

But News 8 has obtained video from Dallas police taken three minutes before the fatal wreck. In it, a rider is seen doing wheelies, evading police.

Then, two more riders exit the Tollway by going the wrong way on an entrance ramp.

Finally, a rider pulls over. It is 27-year-old Gary Joseph Baker. The Dallas officer issues Baker a warning, but does not write a ticket.

Then — 17 minutes after Cass dies — another wrecked motorcycle is found on a Tollway exit ramp to LBJ Freeway. That rider left the scene.

Documents obtained by News 8 show that the abandoned motorcycle was picked up days later at the Dallas police impound lot by 38-year old Michael Kory Pappas of Frisco.

The bike was not registered in Pappas' name, but he submitted a notarized document with a signature from the registered owner that authorized police to release the bike to him.

The registered owner, however, told News 8 she never signed the document.

A number of sport-bike riders have contacted News 8. They are upset that the reckless behavior of a few reflects on everyone.

Some are now sharing information that a small group of about 20 riders have also stolen hundreds of sport bikes in the Dallas area.

One of them, who fears retribution is speaking out. To protect his safety, he’s referred to as "Carter."

"This is most definitely a business operation," he said.

In a grainy video that was posted on YouTube last December, three men can be seen entering an apartment complex at 3 a.m.

"They have bolt cutters. They have ways to get in your garage," Carter said.

The men can be seen climbing a fence. Moments later, a Dallas police squad car pulls up and the thieves get away

"They really feel like they are untouchable," Carter said, adding that the stolen bikes are taken to "chop shops."

Original factory parts — without serial numbers — are stripped and sold on the Internet and, sometimes, at local stores.

"There are some that will actually knowingly buy these stolen parts and put them on legal registered frames with registered motors," Carter said. "They just put all the extra parts on top of it and sell it as whole bike."

And the one thing makes most of this possible is that police will not pursue speeding sport bikes because it puts innocent people in danger.

"They won't even attempt it," Carter said.

Because of that, police sources say sport bikes have become a popular means to transport illegal drugs and stolen cash. And that same speed lets thieves steal and transport stolen bikes without fear of arrest.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

Print
Email
|