Lost and Found
The Tale of Little Ricky
Text + Photos: Mike Blanchard
Spotlight | Recently, Lance Jackman had his motorcycle and a couple of bicycles stolen out of his backyard in East Sacramento. Unfortunately, this experience is all too common. Most people have a talk with the police, who are generally ineffective in dealing with this type of crime, and then write the whole thing off to bad luck. But Lance’s motorcycle was given to him by his father, musician John “Ricky” Jackman, and it means a lot to him. The bike was built by the well-known motorcycle racer and stuntman Gary Davis, and its loss was keenly felt.
Lance is not one to let a matter like this drop, and therein lies the tale.
He picks up the story.
Jess and I came home and we realized that two of our bicycles were gone. And then I was like, “Oh, shit! Where’s Little Ricky?” I realized the mini chopper was gone. Which was, to me, a real bummer. I could take or leave the bicycles, but the motorcycle, since it was my dad’s, it was devastating.
The motorcycle was built in the ’70s for my dad, who is a musician, and it was part of his stage persona. My dad’s name is John Jackman. But he is the singer for a band called Ricky and the Red Streaks. The bike was named Little Ricky, and my dad’s persona was a biker. An old friend of his named Gary Davis built the motorcycle for him. Gary was known as a really good motorcycle racer. He did flat track. He also beat Evel Knievel’s long-jump record. Was on the cover of Life magazine and all that. He did the “Terminator” movies.
Mike: He is a stunt man and director.
Lance: Yeah. It’s a Z50. Gary bored it out to a 70 so you could get to the high speed of 30 mph. On a wonky bike. It’s actually really scary ’cause it constantly pops a wheelie, no matter what you do. So anyways, after years and years and years, my dad retired the bike, and I finally got it after all these years so I was pretty stoked to have it. So when I saw it was missing, it was a real bummer.
I know that there is a homeless camp right down the street from our house, so I went down there. I saw the rims of my bicycle in the camp. So I started just talking. I went up and I was like, “Hey guys, what’s up? Just seeing if you guys have seen these bicycles or this motorcycle” I’m showing them pictures and they are saying, “Oh man; that sucks.” I said, “I’m sure you have sentimental things,” and they said, “Yeah.” I said, “Well, this is very sentimental to me. I got a reward out for it, no strings attached.” They were like, “OK, well, we will if we see anything.”
Some guy rolls up and they say, “What’s up, Spencer?” Spencer says, “Me and C.J. just got some new stuff.” He keeps going on and on. So I’m just kind of listening to what he has to say to get more information and then Spencer rides off.
I said, “Hey, guys, is that Spencer?” They said, “Yeah, that’s Spencer — Spencer for Hire — he’s kinda … he’s been on a bender right now. He’s been doing some messed up things, but he’s a pretty good guy.” So I said, “Well, Spencer is on my bicycle.” They said, “Are you kidding me? How do you know that?” I said, “Well, there is only one of that bicycle in the area, and my rims are right next to you.”
They went, “Oh, fuck!” So they knew I knew something. I was lying to them most of the time. I said, “You seen that cop that’s been around here most of the day?” They said, “Yeah,” and I told them that was because of me. They were like, “Fuck!” I said, “I’ll call them off; just get me my motorcycle back.” They said they would see what they could do. I told them to meet me here in the morning. I’ll bring beer and sandwiches for you. I said, “You meet me here with my motorcycle; I’ll meet you here with the beer and sandwiches, give you the reward and I’ll call the cops off.” They said they would see what they could do.
The next day I go back with a friend, Jereme, who’s a prospect for the Booze Fighters, and my friend Lennon. I figure I’m going to ramp it up every day, little by little. So we go out to the camp and nobody is there. As you would imagine.
We are driving around and I see James, one of the main dudes I was talking to the first day. And so I said, “Get him,” and Lennon is blasting across these parking lots and we corner him. And I jump out and I ask him, “James, where were you earlier?”
James says, “Oh, sorry.” I said, “I kinda figured you guys wouldn’t be there. I figured I was going to have to come find you.”
James says, “That guy in the back, he looks like he wants to break my hands.” I say, “Well, he does. I had to tell him not to bring his hammer.” It’s funny what people will tell you when you let them talk. So I just let him talk.
He says, “Have you tried the Pit?” So he told me of this huge homeless camp in between Power Inn and Florin Perkins. So the three of us went to the Pit, and it is fucking gnarly out there. It is super weird, stuff everywhere. But nobody was there and we couldn’t find the bike.
I put a thing on Next Door with a picture of the motorcycle and all that. On the morning of the third day I got a message that said, “I think I saw your motorcycle on Florin Perkins across from the landfill being ridden about an hour to two hours ago.
I ran out there and I had my binoculars and I’m going around to all the businesses out there, tow yards and mechanic shops. I gave them all my number and a picture of the bike. Every single one of them said, “Oh, yeah. We saw that here on Saturday” or “We heard it on Sunday. It’s loud, right?”
So I am closing in the circle around the back side of the Pit. Jess called me and said she didn’t want me being out there alone. I went and got her and on the way back I got a call from a guy at the tow shop who said, “I just saw that motherfucker coming down 14th Avenue towards 82nd right now.”
I’m going down Florin Perkins and Jess is on the phone with the cops. The cops won’t do anything until you actually see your property. They said, “Once you see it, give us a call and we will come and help.” Which is kind of a messed-up thing.
I’m racing down there and I see the guy pass me. I spin around and start following him. But I don’t want to follow too close to him ’cause I don’t want to give it up that that’s my bike yet.
The cops are on their way and they said to just keep an eye on the guy. So we are watchi the binoculars from like, 200 yards away. Total “Dragnet” thing. We got there with our Chex Mix and we are waiting and watching. But the police took 45 to 50 minutes to get there.
They roll up and they say that if the guy takes off they can’t chase him. I said, “The bike only does 30; you could run after it.” They said, “No, we can’t do it.” They go out there and talk to the guy and they come back. The cop said, “He says he doesn’t have it so we are going to take off.”
They leave and I get a call from the same guy from the tow yard who says, “That motherfucker is here at the 7-11. I’m trying to stop him. I got a picture of him, though. He went down Fruitridge.” We go down Fruitridge and we can’t find him. I’m thinking this bike does not go fast; why can’t we find him?
As we go past the train tracks, we see a guy down the track. He looks like the guy in the picture; he’s on a bicycle. He rode out from the train tracks so Jess and I got out and walked down the train tracks thinking we were going to find the motorcycle ’cause he probably ditched it.
In the picture from the 7-11 the guy had a giant blue Thermos and we noticed it was way down there on the train tracks. He ditched the Thermos, so it was definitely the guy. Couldn’t find the motorcycle anywhere.
We looked across Fruitridge on the train tracks and there is two beat-up pickup trucks. There was a woman driving the front one and the guy from the picture driving the rear one.
We get in our car and we start chasing them but they lose us eventually. We thought we had lost out on the motorcycle. So we went back to the train tracks to look again. We go to another homeless camp and we’re talking to a guy at the homeless camp who doesn’t know what we’re talking about. We turn around and the truck pulls up. The guy from the picture jumps out to grab his blue Thermos.
He walks toward us and he’s clearly on something. He said, “Hey, uh, I hear that there’s a guy named Lance looking for his motorcycle.” I replied, “Oh, yeah?” He says, “What’s your name?” I said, “My name is Lance.” He said, “I think I might know where it is.” I said, “You do know where it is. We saw you riding it.”
The guy says, “I have warrants; I can’t have the cops after me.” So I said, “Well, get me the motorcycle and I’ll call everything off.” He wanted me to come with him but I just laughed and said, “I’m not going anywhere with you. You go get it and I’ll wait here on Fruitridge, where there is traffic.”
He walks down, way further than we ever went, on the tracks. We are waiting, and sure enough way down there, we hear the motorcycle start up. It has a very definitive sound. I’m thinking, “Oh my god, he is going to bring me back my motorcycle.”
So he rides up on the bike and gives it to me. He says, “So, no more cops?” And I said, “No.” He gives me a handshake and he bolts and I got my motorcycle back. It was a super-weird three days.
We went to a bunch of different homeless camps and I learned the names of a bunch of different guys that were involved. I was trying to be the nice guy but I was fucking furious the whole time. Total Michael Douglas “Falling Down”-style: just driving around aimlessly looking for it. I thought I was not going to get it back.
It’s pretty messed up. What they can do to a motorcycle in less than a week is insane. It’s just so messed up. But I got it back. My dad was so nice about it in the beginning. He said, “It’s just material things.” I called him and told him I got the bike back and he was, “Fuck, yes!” He was so happy.
We were driving home and the cops called and said, “We’re going to send someone out to look for your motorcycle.” I said, “Too late. I let you guys know three days ago. It’s in the truck. I went and got it. It is in my possession. I did all the work.”
They said, “Oh well; it’s stolen property. We need to recover it.” I said, “No; you didn’t do anything. I got it.” They said it is considered stolen and I said, “I don’t give a fuck. You can come to my house but you’re not taking my bike from me.” They kept saying that it was stolen property and they needed to recover it.
They called me up 10 minutes later and said, “Yeah, uh, we messed up the paperwork. Nobody actually filed it as stolen so we don’t have to come out there.” I just thought, “Jesus Christ, guys, can you get it together?” That was my only gripe. I get it, there are people getting shot all the time, but it’s still stolen property.
Mike: Most people wouldn’t do that because I think it would really freak them out. Searching the homeless camps to track down their bike.
Lance: It’s one of those things where if you have to do something, it doesn’t really matter how scary it is. If I didn’t try, at least, to get that motorcycle back I would feel really bad.