Segway Sleuths

A bit of detective work in California and New Jersey recovers Segway ordered with stolen credit card.

Published: 22-Jan-2005

(PRWEB) January 22, 2005 -- A would-be thief was nabbed before he could get away with a Segway i Series model rented from Segway of Oakland on a stolen credit card.

The alleged thief was caught thanks to the work of the Teaneck, N.J. Police Department, Steve Steinberg of Segway of Oakland and the powerful Internet search engine, Google.

“We had a Segway stolen just before Christmas,” explained Steinberg, co-owner of Segway of Oakland. “We took a reservation for a weekly Segway rental to New Jersey. The person identified himself as living in Las Vegas, but he said he was going to be in New Jersey with his kids at Christmas.”

Steinberg said the individual supplied a local fax number - in addition to credit card number - where the rental agreement would be faxed.

“We called on Dec. 21 to verify shipment and the person said it got there fine, in great shape, and he was already riding it and his kids loved it,” Steinberg added. “Two days before the end of the rental period I phoned him to arrange the scheduled pickup time and I got an answering machine. I left the information to return it. Then on Dec. 29 I got a phone call from the person whose name it was rented to asking what was a Segway and why was there a charge for a weekly rental?”

The true owner of the credit card turned out to be a resident of North Carolina.

“We realized we had rented a Segway on a stolen credit card and shipped it to New Jersey,” Steinberg said. “We went to Google and typed in all the names, telephone numbers and addresses we had for the transaction and it came up with a small list of clues to finding the missing Segway. We then called the Teaneck, N.J. Police Department and were put in contact with Detective Sgt. Michael Falvey, who seemed really interested in following up on it.”

According to Steinberg, the detective first visited the residence where the Segway had been shipped, but a woman at the home said the package was not addressed to her and she had returned it to the shipping company. However, the shipping company had no record of any package being returned from that address.

“At that point, Steve gave us the contract he faxes out and we tracked that number to a doctor’s office in Hackensack,” Detective Falvey explained. “The person we talked with the night before at the home was same person who worked at the doctor’s office. We called the doctor and she finally volunteered to come in. She partially admitted that her boyfriend at that time had delivered a box but she claimed she didn’t know what was in it. She gave us the name of the boyfriend, we picked him up and he admitted to it. He said he used to work at a mail-order electronics store and that’s where he’d stolen the credit card number from. He said he had always wanted to try a Segway.”

Falvey said he now wants to hire Steinberg as a detective with the force because of his diligence in tracking down his missing Segway.

“We were very pleased with his detective skills,” Falvey said. “He really did an excellent job. He had information anytime we called him and he was outstanding.”

In an attempt to minimize the problems, the couple quickly sent the Segway rental back to the Segway of Oakland office at 212 International Blvd.

“We were a little disappointed we didn’t get the Segway here because we wanted to try it out,” Falvey added.

The couple was charged with fraudulent use of a credit card, theft of a Segway and lying to detectives investigating the case.

“We’ve sent a bill for three weeks rental…to the correct guy this time,” Steinberg added. “We want to thank Detective Michael Falvey and the Teaneck Police Department, Google and the sloppy work of the credit-card thief.”

The Segway HT (Human Transporter) is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The high-tech machine is a self-balancing personal transportation device designed to go anywhere and do just about anything. It provides the user with the ability to move faster and carry along more weight, allowing you to commute to work, run errands and shop more efficiently while also making these otherwise mundane chores fun again! The Segway is in use by progressive cities like Seattle and Spokane, by companies like Disney, Google, Remax Realty and Thrifty Car Rental, and by a wide array of others including the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, the U.S. Postal Service and the nonprofit Big Brothers, Big Sisters. www.segwayofoakland.com

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