Utes basketball coach stops suspected bike thief on campus

Posted at 11:04 PM, Sep 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-01 08:05:29-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- As the head of the Utes basketball team, it’s not like Coach Larry Krystkowiak is lacking any action in his life, but his Saturday morning, off the court, proved to be just as exciting.

“It was a real interesting morning,” said Krystkowiak, who is in his third season at the University of Utah.

Before he began the day in the office, Krystkowiak decided to change uniforms, delaying his duties as coach to check out a suspicious man on campus.

“I was kind of excited, thinking maybe we got somebody that had done a lot of damage around here,” he said.

Just as Krystkowiak was heading into the Huntsman Center, he spotted the man riding a bicycle while pulling another one alongside of him. Due to recent bike thefts in the campus community, Krystkowiak decided to question the man.

“Had he been a smart thief he probably would have just outrun me on his bike, but he stopped and talked to me,” he said, “He got into how it was his girlfriend’s bike and they had a flat tire, and once it got a little suspicious, I asked him to get a little closer to the Huntsman Center.”

The coach then decided to call police and told the man not to move.

Krystkowiak said, “He actually asked me the question, ‘Well, if I take off running, are you going to chase me?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m not only going to chase you, but I’m going to tackle you. So, you don’t want to run.’”

Campus police arrived soon after and brought the man in for questioning, at which point officials said he confessed to taking the bike from the Honor’s Housing, next to the Huntsman Center.

“Like we say, if you see something, say something. And he did a little more than that by stopping this guy and calling us to help,” said Sgt. Garth Smith of the U Police Department.

Authorities also recovered five cell phones on the man, as well as wire cutting tools.

“One was his and the other four, he said, were given by friends,” explained Smith.

Police plan to screen theft charges against the man with the City Prosecutor.

“It’s good. It was a good day for the Utes,” Krystkowiak said.