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, as the suspect, according to Bradenton police Capt. Bryan 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,” he said.
The owner of the Olympic medal, sprinter Demetrius Pinder, won it during the 2012 London Summer Olympics, competing on 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 Pinder’s 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.”
Pinder grew up in the Bahamas and ran track at Texas A&M. He has been living in Bradenton the past four months.
He is preparing for coming 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 for him 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 he 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.