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Arrest makes Segway history

Incident might be first-ever recovery of stolen scooter

By Jeordan Legon
CNN

Segways have a hole in each wheel so that they can be tied to bicycle racks or other objects with a chain.
Segways have a hole in each wheel that allows them to be chained to bicycle racks or other objects.

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(CNN) -- In what might be a law enforcement first, a New York City college student was arrested on suspicion of stealing a $5,000 Segway personal scooter, authorities said.

Yili "Eddie" Wang, 24, was charged with possession of stolen property. He was released without bail and has a court date scheduled for October 22.

Wang was arrested outside of a Starbucks in Queens on August 12. He was found with the Segway, which did not run because it was missing its computerized key, police said. Wang told The Smoking Gun Web site that he bought the 83-pound gizmo for $75 from a man who was pushing it down the sidewalk in East Harlem.

Wang said he had gone to the coffee shop to meet a Segway expert who had agreed to help him get the two-wheeled contraption started. The expert called police instead.

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"[Wang] did not have permission to posses it," New York County District Attorney spokeswoman Sherry Hunter said Tuesday.

The Segway's owner reported it stolen June 23 in Manhattan. It was at least the second reported Segway theft since Dean Kamen's invention became available to the public nine months ago.

Their steep price and laws restricting use of the scooters on sidewalks have kept some buyers away. The company is reportedly nowhere near selling the 40,000 units that its factory in Bedford, New Hampshire, can build each month, but President Bush's widely covered tumble from a Segway during a recent trip to his family's vacation home in Maine put images of the scooter before millions of potential buyers.

Theft in Washington

A 62-year-old man in Kent, Washington, who plunked down money to be among the first in town to wheel around on a Segway might have been the first to have it stolen.

Robert Ballantine's "unique motorized two wheeled walking machine" was outside his home when it was taken April 28, according to a police report. Ballantine has since bought a new Segway, Officer Paul Petersen said.

"The owner here wishes we had arrested somebody," Petersen said. "His just disappeared into the night."

Segway.com offers a front-page link for buyers to insure their machines, and a $17.95 lock appears at the top of its list of accessories.

But Petersen offers this bit of unsolicited advice: "Take it inside if you can."


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