Wayne Cron busted for theft thanks to bike-porn video

The camera pans slowly, lovingly over every gorgeous curve and line -- lingering here and there to appreciate the beauty of the video star's frame.

Bicycle frame, that is.

The aforementioned footage of a pricey Cannondale Scalpel (see it below) is flat-out porn for bike lovers. But it also provided investigators with evidence against one Wayne Willet Cron, who's been arrested and charged with stealing it. Get the weird story below.

The story comes to us courtesy of the CU-Boulder Police Department, which we featured in April in a post about the use of social media to solve crimes.

In that case, items on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube resulted in the arrest of a fraud suspect just three hours after the information first went public. This time around, it took grad student Nicolas Bayou considerably longer to get police-assisted satisfaction -- months, in fact -- but a website once again proved key. It's called eBay.

According to CU-Boulder police spokesman Ryan Huff, "The bike was stolen on January 17" after its cable lock was snipped, "and that same day, it was taken to a pawn shop in Denver" -- allegedly by Cron, who signed paperwork stating that he'd owned the bike for a year and acknowledging that providing false information on the document was a felony.

In the weeks and months that followed, Bayou checked assorted online sites, including Craigslist, to see if his bike turned up -- and in March, his persistence paid off.

"He saw what he thought was his bike on eBay," Huff notes. "And he was fortunate that the video happened to go over the serial number."

Here's a look at what was likely a key frame in the video:

Turns out Bayou knew the serial number of his Scalpel, which retails in the $3,000 range, and while the clip's resolution wasn't sharp enough to confirm a match, "we were able to see that most of the digits lined up," Huff says. "And after further investigation, and our detectives talking to the pawn shop, we were able to determine it was his bike."

Unfortunately, there was a problem: The bike had been sold (for $1,050) to a buyer on the East Coast, who'd then made a separate transaction with someone else. Eventually, though, "our detectives contacted the person in possession of the bike and explained the situation," Huff continues. And while he's not sure about matters of compensation, he's certain about the most important fact: "He mailed the bike back to our department, and we were able to get it to the rightful owner."

Granted, the bike was missing a few parts -- specifically the pedals and the seat. "But," notes Huff, "the frame and the wheels and most of the bike were intact."

Cron wound up in considerably worse condition. He was named in an arrest warrant for the theft, adding to a stack of previous accusations. Huff points out that he's got a record of arrests for crimes such as burglary, larceny and (surprise) pawn-shop violations that stretch across five states.

Huff sees a number of lessons in the tale. For one thing, "cable locks are easily defeated," he allows, "and U-locks are a better option. We find it's pretty rare that a U-lock is cut on our campus just because so many people use cable locks and they're so much easier to snap in seconds with bolt cutters, versus having to use a power tool to cut a U-lock."

Also, knowing the bike's serial number is important -- which is why CU-Boulder offers bike registration at a station just east of the University Memorial Center. Huff explains that "if you register your bike and it's stolen, we can look it up and enter the number into a national database. Then, if it becomes found property in some other state, that agency will contact us and we can reunite the bike with its owner." Moreover, the registration sticker "can be a deterrent itself, because thieves know it will be easier to track."

Of course, it doesn't hurt if your ride stars in its own bike-porn video. Here's the one featuring Bayou's Cannondale Scalpel, followed by the booking photo of Wayne Willet Cron.

More from our Tech archive: "Javier Silva-Acosta busted 3 hours after crime video post in latest social-media-aided arrest."