Bradenton police name suspect in theft of Olympic gold medal

skennedy@bradenton.comSeptember 19, 2013 

Nichols

BRADENTON -- Bradenton police have named a suspect in the theft of an Olympic gold medal stolen from the truck of an athlete training here.

Detectives have obtained an arrest warrant naming Allen Nichols, 22, according to Bradenton police Capt. William B. Fowler.

"We have ID'd a suspect, and we have a warrant signed for grand theft," Fowler said. "It's a matter of time before we find him."

Fowler said anonymous tips helped police in the case.

Sprinter Demetrius Pinder won the gold medal during the 2012 London Summer Olympics as part of a relay team from the Bahamas. Pinder could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Bradenton Police Lt. John Affolter said he had not yet been able to reach Pinder, either.

"He is probably training," said Affolter, referring to his ambitious training schedule at Bradenton's IMG Academy.

"I'd be happy if we got him," said Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski, referring to Nichols. "I hope he hasn't melted it down."

The theft occurred in the 4600 block of 66th Street West and was reported to Bradenton police Sept. 11, according to a BPD release.

The 24-karat gold medal, suspended from a purple lanyard, has images representing the 2012 London Olympi

ad on both sides, the release said. On its bottom portion of the front side, "4X400m" is inscribed.

Pinder grew up in the Bahamas and ran track at Texas A&M. He has been living in Bradenton for four months.

He is preparing for international track meets, including the 2016 Olympics. He trains twice a day Monday, Wednesday and Friday and once a day Tuesday and Thursday. Sunday is his only off day. His gold medal, which he said an International Olympic Committee official valued at $42,000, usually goes everywhere with him, he told the Bradenton Herald last week.The medal was taken from the center console of his 2011 Dodge Ram pickup truck around 9:15 p.m. Sept. 10, according to police reports.

At first Pinder wasn't aware the medal was missing, but he called police immediately when he realized it was gone.

"That medal means so much to me," a dejected Pinder, 24, said last week as he stood near his truck parked near his apartment in the gated Springs of Palma Sola in the 4600 block of 66th Street West.

The suspect, Nichols, has a record of drug and theft arrests, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's website.

The most recent arrests involved possession of controlled substances, according to records.

Call Bradenton Police Detective Dennis French, 941-932-9300 with any informaiton about the case. Remain anonymous and eligible for a reward of up to $1,000, by calling Crime Stopper at 866-634-8477, or send an anonymous e-tip to manateecrimestoppers.com.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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