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Bicyclist Faked Car Crashes for Cash, Police Say : Crime: After arrest for causing collisions, and demanding money, man resumed ramming automobiles, authorities say.

November 04, 1994|JULIE TAMAKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three days after bicyclist Richard Siddons was released pending trial for allegedly faking a dozen collisions with motorists and demanding money for repairs, he was at it again, authorities said Thursday.

Siddons, 33, an unemployed plumber, was arrested at a Tarzana hotel and charged with eight new counts, bringing to 20 the theft and attempted theft charges filed against him.

After he pleaded not guilty to the original counts Friday, Siddons went to the Van Nuys police station and asked for his impounded bicycle. Both the front wheel and the seat of the bike could be adjusted so that unsuspecting motorists would think the impact caused the damage, prosecutors said.

Police refused, saying the bike was being held as evidence.

After Siddons' case was publicized, eight more alleged victims surfaced, including one woman who reported her car was rammed by a man she identified as Siddons at an Encino intersection on Oct. 31, according to the Los Angeles city attorney's office.

Police had launched an investigation that led them to Siddons after they received several complaints between Sept. 9 and Oct. 22, from motorists who reported they had been involved in accidents with a man who asked for $41 to $75 to repair his bicycle, Deputy City Atty. Robert Orlich said.

The motorists included a married couple who apparently had separate accidents with the same bicyclist four days apart, Orlich said.

Detectives used a driver's license number Siddons had given to some of the victims to track him down at a Tarzana hotel where he was living and placed him under surveillance Oct. 26, Los Angeles City Atty. Jim Hahn said.

Siddons allegedly left the motel room with a red bicycle with a bent front wheel which he put in a car and drove to the De Soto Avenue off-ramp of the Ventura Freeway in Woodland Hills, where he adjusted the seat and front wheel of the bike so that they would fly off upon impact, Hahn said.

Siddons then began riding his bike along De Soto between Clark Street and the off-ramp and subsequently rammed into two cars as they were exiting the freeway and making a right turn on to De Soto, Hahn said. Siddons was taken into police custody after the second crash and released after his arraignment.

But following publicity of the case, the additional victims came forward prompting a judge to issue a $25,000 warrant for Siddons' arrest, authorities said. He is scheduled to be arraigned on eight more counts of theft and attempted theft today in Van Nuys Municipal Court.

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