You might have seen the story Andy Crump and Jeff Wize posted on Facebook regarding their failed trip to Park City. Their van was broken into, they lost gear and credit cards, then they lucked out and got everything back. However, there were several things they failed to mention.
It’s true they took bikes and biking gear. It’s even true that they snapped photos of themselves riding. But the real reason they left town in a nondescript rental van is because Crump had a serious financial problem. This wasn’t a late mortgage payment or a one-month skip on the PUD bill. This was the kind of financial problem that could leave you with injuries that would make it difficult to pedal a bike.
Despite what he might have told you, Crump – who is known in the mountain biking world as Chunky Spice because of his uncanny resemblance to former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer – sells pharmaceuticals. He loves his job because it is so easy. People love opioids, and he is happy to supply them to physicians who eagerly write scripts for their patients. All part of the plan to make American great again, one addict at a time.
His employer was unaware that Crump frequently bypassed doctors and took a portion of his generous monthly samples of percocet, fentanyl, and oxycontin to a Portland dealer named Robert “Rash” Nielsen, who paid Crump handsomely for the drugs. Rash did not earn his nickname because he engaged in rash behavior. In fact, for a dealer he was notoriously well-behaved. The moniker was the result of year-round rashes he sported as a result of the wide range of STDs from which he suffered.
The pair had been doing business for a year, and it had gone reasonably well until now. Crump had requested to be paid in advance so that he could purchase a carbon Pivot 429 Trail.
“This is a special deal, or I wouldn’t ask,” Crump said. “I’ll get the cash back to you at the end of the week.” But he hadn’t. Instead, he used the loan he’d taken out to pay Rash to buy an executive membership in the merlot-of-the-month club. Some things just can’t wait.
Another week had passed, and Crump had artfully dodged all of Rash’s attempts to contact him by turning off his phone. But when he’d come home from work one night, there was a note stapled to his front door. It read, “I want my money, asshole.”
Crump shared his dilemma with Wize who came up with a plan. Wize, who has never been confused with the homonym for his name, decided they should forego reason and flee to Park City. They’d stay in Utah and do some riding until the new month began. Crump would be resupplied with opioids, and – if he could scrounge additional sample drugs from his fellow sales people – he would be able to pay Rash back. Voila! Crump would have both the 429 Trail and the merlot-of-the-month membership, as well as all of his body parts.
The next day, they rented a van – they believed that Crump’s lavender PT Cruiser would call too much attention to themselves – packed their bikes and gear, and headed for Park City with grande soy lattes from Dunkin’ Donuts in hand.
Rash Nielsen was aware that he was not dealing with Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein. He checked Wize’s Facebook page and discovered that the pair had left town in a white Dodge van that screamed, “We’re from the ‘burbs!” Imbecile that he was, Wize even included their itinerary.
Rash knew he could wait until the nitwits returned and exact justice at that time. But he didn’t want clients getting the idea he could be taken advantage of. For that reason, he decided he needed to make an example of the Latte Brothers. Besides, he was still pissed about the time that Wize, who seemed to accompany Crump like a ventriloquist’s dummy, had advised him to start using condoms on a regular basis.
If they’d stayed in Portland, Rash would have called his regular leg-breaker, but crossing state lines created complications. The good news was that Rash’s uncle Floyd lived in Salt Lake City, and he had plenty of connections. Rash had a soft spot for his uncle because Floyd had taught him much of what he knew about the drug business before moving to SLC.
When Rash called, Floyd was happy to help. “Problem is, it’s a busy week, kid. I got my main guys runnin’ down losers all over this shit-hole of a state.”
“There’s got to be someone you can call on,” Rash said. “I want this taken care of now.”
“Well, if you insist. But the guys I’m thinkin’ of ain’t exactly Grade A Prime.”
The Park City police were well-acquainted with Virgil and Desmond Moran. The pair earned special notoriety when – armed with a butter knife and a rubber hatchet – they tried to burglarize a homeless shelter. They were nearly beaten to death by the residents, after which law enforcement began referring to the Moran brothers as the Moron Brothers.
The Morans didn’t get a lot of referrals, so they were ecstatic to hear that Floyd Nielsen was willing to pay them $300 apiece to harass a couple of spandex-wearing mountain bikers.
This is where things began to go awry. The Morans were not intelligent enough to operate without a detailed script. All Floyd had said was, “No bodily harm. Just cause them some inconvenience.” He’d provided directions to the seedy Motel 6 on the outskirts of Park City where the unknowing victims were staying. The problem was how to get there from Salt Lake. Virgil’s ’96 Geo Metro had gone tits-up the previous week, a minor detail they had neglected to mention to Floyd Nielsen when they took the job.
“We could take an Uber,” Desmond suggested.
“Fuck that,” Virgil said. “What kind of criminals travel by taxi? Let’s check the lot at the 13.”
Six blocks from the Morans’ tenement was the Lucky 13, an upscale bar that was always hopping. Virgil and Desmond had virtually no skills between them, except one – Virgil could hot wire cars. Desmond suggested something discreet, like a Honda Civic or a Ford Focus.
“No way,” Virgil said. “We’re going to travel in style.” He pointed to a blue 2017 MX-5 Miati convertible on the far side of the lot. Ten minutes later, they were on their way to Park City.
“Don’t you think this is a little consnicuous?” Desmond said.
“That’s conspicuous, dipshit,” Virgil said. “And it won’t matter. We’ll get the job done in Park City, drive back, and dump this beauty. Three hours tops and we’ll be good.”
Luck was on their side when they pulled into the lot of the Motel 6 at 5:17. Crump and Wize were loading their bikes into the soccer-mom van and heading for an evening ride on the Lost Prospector Trail.
By now, the Miati’s owner had discovered that her prized possession was missing. And Detective Alexis Garner of the Park City Police Department was seriously pissed off. She vowed to inflict pain on the low-life mouth-breathers who had stolen it. She got on her cell and told the desk sergeant to put out an APB to the city, county, and state agencies.
Meanwhile, the Morans had followed Crump and Wize to the Lost Prospector Trail parking lot, where they watched their victims unload their bikes, strap on their helmets, lock the van, and ride off in a cloud of dust. Virgil popped the trunk and got out the tire iron. They waited 10 minutes, but there was no activity.
“Time to do the deed,” Virgil said. He gleefully smashed the rear window, then moved down the right side. Desmond reach in, popped the lock, and opened the passenger side door while his brother continued to wreak havoc on the windshield and driver side glass.
“That should send a message,” Virgil said. “Let’s get the hell out of here.” He was surprised to see Desmond carrying two duffel bags.
“Take a look at this!” Desmond said. “Those dumb fuckers left us a bonus.”
They hustled to the Miati, crammed the bags into the tiny trunk, and drove three miles to a roadside park. They rifled through the bags, and Virgil gave a whoop. He held up a VISA card with the name Jeffrey Wize.
“When we get back to Salt Lake, we’ll dump the car,” Virgil said. “Then we’re going to ring up some purchases on Jeffrey’s card.”
Desmond was picking through the clothing. “It’s kinda smelly, but I like some of these shirts.”
At the same time Virgil and Desmond were admiring the Latte Brothers’ clothing, Crump and Wize were on the line with Park City Police to report the crime. Twenty minutes after that, the Utah State Patrol pulled over the Moran brothers on I-80. Grand theft auto is serious time, so Virgil and Desmond decided cooperation was the best strategy.
The patrolman confessed later that these were first thieves he’d arrested who were caught wearing the victims’ clothing.
Desmond, who was a medium, wore one of Wize’s shirts. It read, “Perfect Vision – Trump 20/20.” Virgil, who was a jumbo, sported one of Crump’s. On the front it said, “Fritz for City Council!” On the back, “I Don’t Ride River View!”
Back at the Motel 6, Wize was on the phone with the Utah State patrolman who had made the arrest. He informed Wize that the perps had been apprehended and that the credit card, clothing, and gear would be returned by morning.
“The dumb shits don’t know who hired them,” the officer said, “but they were told that their job was to send a message to you and your friend.”
Later that evening, Crump and Wize were drinking beer in their bacteria-ridden room.
“I guess Rash didn’t blow it off like we’d hoped,” Crump said. “Turns out your plan was pretty stupid.”
“At least I had a plan, fat boy,” Wize replied. “You need to stop worrying about me and start thinking about how you’re going to make this right without losing a leg. Maybe you should sell the Pivot.”
“That’s the dumbest fucking idea I’ve ever heard.”
Crump was quiet for moment. Then his tiny brain began to turn. “Maybe it’s time I started using public transportation. How much do you think I could get for the PT Cruiser?”