New York Man Nabbed In Segway Theft
New York cops record first-ever arrest for Segway theft
HOT WHEELS New York cops record first-ever arrest for Segway theft
AUGUST 18--In a law enforcement first, a New York City man was arrested last week in connection with the theft of a Segway, the $5000 self-balancing scooter, The Smoking Gun has learned.
NYPD detectives arrested Yili Wang, a 24-year-old student, on a felony possession of stolen property charge (a copy of the criminal complaint can be found below). Wang was arrested August 12 outside a Queens Starbucks where he had arranged to meet a Segway expert he had met on the Internet. The expert, who was cooperating with police, had promised to help Wang get the Segway--which was without keys--operational.
The hot Segway was stolen about two months ago on Manhattan's Upper East Side, a theft reported to cops by the scooter's owner. In a TSG interview, Wang, who is known as Eddie, said that he bought the Segway for $75 from a man who was pushing, not riding, the scooter on an East Harlem sidewalk.
Wang, a finance major, claimed that he did not know what the Segway was when he bought it, but purchased the item "because I thought it was cool." Not surprisingly, he also claimed, "I didn't know it was stolen." Wang added that the seller claimed to have found the Segway at a construction site, an unlikely explanation that Wang said he did not challenge prior to purchasing the scooter. Nor did he question why it came sans keys.
Wang told TSG that after he later went online and determined that his new purchase was--lo and behold!--a pricey high-tech scooter, he set out to obtain keys, since he planned on using it "for my own recreation, fun." Wang contacted the Segway expert--who also spoke to TSG--and asked for help in starting the machine, which had been reduced to an 83-pound paperweight.
However, after talking and corresponding with Wang, the expert became concerned that the Segway might have been stolen, a suspicion the expert confirmed after Wang provided him with the machine's serial number. After conferring with detectives from Manhattan's 19th Precinct, the expert arranged to meet Wang at a Starbucks in Bayside. There, Wang was arrested in the parking lot as he removed the Segway from a Chevrolet Suburban.
Wang, who has no prior arrests, was released without bail and faces an October 22 Supreme Court appearance. Wang's bust was actually videotaped by a moderator of segwaychat.com, a news and discussion forum whose members aided detectives in the Segway sting.
This is the second reported Segway theft to come to TSG's attention this year. In April, Robert Ballantine's scooter was stolen from outside the 62-year-old's home in Kent, Washington. The perp in that scooter swiping remains at large.