Community searches for man caught on camera stealing tricycle in Hampden

Posted at 6:59 AM, Jun 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 23:20:48-04
There are plenty of hugs to go around, but comfort is hard to come by since one of Hampden's favorite characters lost his signature three-wheeled cycle.
"I've had mayors, city council people, beauty pageant winners," said Lou Catelli as he began to name the pretty famous people he’s pedaled around as part of his ride service, which pre-dates the more traditional Uber. "It's called the Louber. It's my own little thing. You text me where you want to go and as long as it's downhill, I'm gonna bring you there."
But in a matter of three and a half minutes---the time it took for a thief to ride past Catelli's tricycle thrice, to walk past it twice more and finally to cut the lock and make off with it for good on Sunday, Catelli was left afoot with nothing, but some surveillance video to show what happened to it.
"Monday I went to look for it... usually right there, and I didn't see it there. I'm like, 'I must have parked somewhere else,' he recalled, “I walked up and I walked back down and I still didn't see it. Then I grabbed my bike and I rode around on my bike and thought, 'It's gotta be somewhere. Someone's playing a joke.'"
Even in a time of tremendous loss though, the eccentric Catelli and his quirksome friends have relished in every sighting of the bike on the city's west side.
"We have videos of people on it. We have pictures. It's incredible!" said Catelli.
And on an avenue where anything is possible, those who call Hampden home choose to call this anything, but a theft inviting the so-called suspect to return it with the promise of future employment.
"I just want it back. We just want it back,” said Catelli. “It's part of the neighborhood. It's used for a lot of important things, and if you ever want to borrow it again, I'll loan it to you, but we need it back. Just bring it back in one piece. No one wants to have any problems with the person that took it. In fact, we're hoping to hire the guy to be one of our rickshaw drivers in the neighborhood because he's got some very good skills on those three wheelers."
Catelli says what many have referred to as an adult tricycle is really a workmen's trike purchased when the Sparrows Point steel mill shut down for good about six years ago.
He says replacing the industrial trike with a new one would cost about  $1,600, but the stolen one only cost him about $12.

According to police, the bike was chained up at 5:30 a.m. in the 1100 block of W. 36th Street when the suspect cut the lock, left for a few seconds, and then returned to ride off on the tricycle.

Catelli and his supporters have taken to Facebook since the theft, showing images of tricycle sightings near Mondawmin Mall and on Gwynns Falls Parkway and Braddish Avenue. 

Anyone who recognizes the suspect can contact detectives at 410-396-2455.


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