Thief Uses Stolen Polka-Dotted Mini Cooper to Steal Bicycle

For the past three days, John Caulfield's flamboyant Mini Cooper has drawn the ire of bicyclists in Southwest Center City, Bella Vista and South Philly.

It wasn't because the sherbet-colored, polka-dotted convertible wasn't sharing the road with them, but instead, carting bikes away.

A thief broke into Caulfield's home at 10th and Delhi streets through an unlocked door overnight Wednesday and jacked a number of items including two bikes and keys to the Mini Cooper.

"The burglars started opening the door to my bedroom while they were in the house, but I thought it was my daughter who was in the house and didn't really think of it," Caulfield told NBC10 Friday night. "I'm feeling extraordinarily lucky."

The thief then left, found the car parked two blocks away and used it — and the attached rack — to scope out other bikes and steal at least one.

Surveillance video posted to a Facebook group dedicated to finding bicycles stolen in Philadelphia shows a man using bolt cutters Wednesday night to break the lock on a bike attached to a pole at 12th and Dickinson streets in South Philly. He then rolls it over to the stolen car and attaches it to the back.

A number of people, including Caulfield's friend, said they spotted the car driving through the neighborhood. Each time they called police, but the car — however distinctive — and its driver eluded authorities.

That is, until Friday night.

A man spotted the car parked near Fitzwater and Hicks streets and called police. Inside, officers found the alleged suspect sleeping. He was arrested and the car will soon be returned to Caulfield.

The bright colors and pattern covering Caulfield's Mini are actually vinyl decals on top of black body paint. They could've easily been peeled off and with them the chances of getting his car back.

"The car is pretty noticeable. It's the only pink, yellow, blue Mini with orange polka dots in the city and so I was surprised that whoever had the car was still driving it around," he said.

Police continue to investigate the case. It's not yet clear what happened to the bikes.

John Caulfield
John Caulfield stands with his bright-colored Mini Cooper.
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