stelianos_psaroudakis
Trail Sabotage News

Barbed Wire or Fraud: The Bragg Creek Incident

Words Cam McRae
Date Jul 13, 2017

From the very beginning Stelianos  Psaroudakis' story didn't add up. He was apparently riding a downhill trail when he hit barbed wire strung at neck height across the trail. I asked Stelios (the name he goes by) how fast he thought he was going and he estimated 40-50 km/h (although he he was quick to add that he didn't have a 'speedometer' on his bike). He said he and his dog were thrown from his bike, which is certainly consistent with being clotheslined at high speed, but the injury to his neck is more difficult to explain. The images make it difficult to determine if the wound required stitches but Stelios told me the doctors at Foothills Hospital in Calgary determined no sutures were required. It seems obvious that hitting barbed wire with your neck at even 5 km/h would produce a wound requiring more than just a little Polysporin, but perhaps this was some kind of anomaly?

I managed to get in touch with a physician at Foothills who related that Stelios' injuries were 'minor' but that he was indeed admitted to hospital. I was unable to confirm any other information. In our conversation Stelios told me his liver had been severed, a serious situation indeed! I suggested that perhaps it had been lacerated and he agreed that sounded correct. As a result Mr. Psaroudakis says he will be unable to work for three months. Or perhaps a month. He referred to both of those intervals in our conversation. 

Stelios FB

I sent several questions to Stelianos  Psaroudakis and several hours later received these responses. You can also see a selection of the photos he shared with me in response to me asking for a shot of him riding his bike. That photo never came.

The first head scratcher in the initial news reports was the reported value of the bike. The 10-year-old Specialized Stumpjumper photo he gave to media outlets seems to have come from the pinkbike buy and sell, where the owner was asking $1700. Stelios seems puzzled about there the $8000 number came from but he told me this;


I never give a value of $8,000 for any bike the bike new in 2008 was $5,700 USD I'm trying to raise $8,000 to help pay for food for me my daughter my wife because I'm the main supplier of the house and won't be able to work for a while for rent another mountain bike and deer cams to donate to people that are responsible for these trails to help make them safer for other writers in the future and catch people that are vandalizing and sitting up traps

I asked him where he purchased the bike and how long ago but he didn't respond to those queries. I was also interested in speaking to the friend Stelios was riding with at the time of the barbed wire incident. I asked him his friend's name directly and he was evasive from the beginning. The first time I asked he changed the subject. The second time he told me he was "trying to get his number." The third time he told me a story about his phone getting broken in the crash and being repaired. I asked again and he finally told me this story;


His name is Mack I don't know his last name I met him a few weeks ago at a gas station I I saw his bike on a white pickup and ask him where he rides in Twin for me next time he goes out that like to go with him he called me that day I jumped on the opportunity right away had him come over to my place and through my bike in his pickup and followed him with my car

Despite all the photos of Stelianos' neck (I have seen at least 10), neither rider thought to take a photo of the barbed wire. As far as we know there is no physical evidence from the scene; no photos and no barbed wire has been recovered. Local riders have also been quick to point out that this is the busiest trail in the area and that this section of trail likely sees over a hundred riders on a slow day, and yet there have been no reports of other riders spotting barbed wire or seeing Stelios and his new friend Mack hiking out.

stelianos_psaroudakis

No stitches were required to close this wound, despite the fact that Stelios tells us he struck barbed wire at "Around 40 50 kilometers."

The previous Gofundme campaigns this gentleman initiated raised the suspicion of many riders; one was to get his dog out of the pound, one for those affected by the Fort McMurray fires. And now this one to cover expenses for his wife and daughter and purchase 20 wildlife cameras for the Bragg Creek trails. And perhaps buy Stelios a new bike. The tally is currently $851. (update - the gofundme campaign now says "Campaign is complete and no longer active" which sounds to me like he decided to take the money and run).

I left a message with RCMP Constable Amy Lahoda who had this case land on her desk but she was off duty. She returned my call later and while she wasn't able to tell me much she did confirm that no physical evidence had been recovered because the scene of the incident hadn't yet been identified. Contstable Lahoda was also able to confirm that the complaint had been called in by Mr. Psaroudakis on Wednesday July 5th, the date of the incident. I asked Constable Lahoda what the penalty was for filing a false report and she told me that, if proven, an individual could be charged with public mischief. While it doesn't sound like much it is a criminal offence and can be considered indictable meaning a jail term of not more than five years. It can also be considered a summary offence which stipulates a less severe penalty.

My conversation with Stelios took some unexpected turns. Without prompting he began to tell me about his Audi TT and he drew a parallel between haters underestimating the car's capabilities (close to 800 hp!) and doubting his barbed wire tale. I tried to ask him a little about his mountain biking experience and that lead to him showing me a photo of his vintage bmx. He also sent me several shots of his Audi's motor and of his injuries, all seemingly shot with a cell phone despite his being in for repairs. 

Stelios seemed quite proud of the fact that he had invested $50,000 is his TT and I pointed out that perhaps he might think about selling the car rather than asking for money on Gofundme. He assured me he had tried as you can read in the excerpt of our conversation below. 

severed liver

It's important to note that Stelios was using speech to text (but not on his phone) so the typos aren't his. 

But what about his injuries? An astute Redditor in the /r/calgary Subreddit pointed out that Mr. Psaroudakis' neck trauma bears a remarkable resemblance to the wounds sustained by the teen in the news report below. It's pretty clear that the wire that caused Taylor Yach's injury was not barbed, unless there was some kind of miraculous intervention here as well.

Wounded teen

Sixteen-year-old Taylor Yach was riding her ATV on private property when she hit a wire strung across the road. Her injury looks quite familiar to us, albeit less severe. 

After all of the twists and turns this tale has taken in just one week, that leaves us with Stelios $851 richer (and counting) while the RCMP continue the investigation. Constable Lahoda assured me that, in light of the media interest, a full investigation into the allegations would be undertaken. 

If it's determined that our Audi-driving, bmx-owning, decapitation-surviving 800 horsepower Albertan friend isn't being entirely up front about this incident where does that leave us? There is absolutely no evidence that Stelios is part of the mountain bike community, and yet his actions could affect all of us. If he's lying that could undermine legitimate reports about trail sabotage in the future. Sadly we know the action reported by Stelios happens, here on the North Shore, in Oregon, and virtually everywhere mountain bikers ride trails. 

Kudos to the riders who saw possible holes in this story. Without those who raised the alarm about the inconsistencies of Mr. Psaroudakis' report this likely would have just faded away, as the Gofundme continues to accrue cash.

Comments

coexist
+7
COEXIST  - July 12, 2017, 10:49 p.m.

Great work cam. You did 100 times the work any other media outlet did.  Thanks for your diligence. 

It appears the go fund me page has been closed.  I look forward to the rcmp finishing their investigation.

Reply

CadenMac
+1
CadenMac  - July 13, 2017, 12:58 p.m.

Another thing I find unbelievable about this whole bs story is in order for someone to steal his bicycle, they would have to go through a lot of time and effort to do so. The thief would have to leave his own bicycle behind (risking it getting stolen) and ride the stolen bike out, and then walk back on foot, some 7kms?!?! to get his own bike back and ride his own bike back out.  And do it all while nobody sees a thing.

Reply

CadenMac
0
CadenMac  - July 21, 2017, 12:38 p.m.

07/21/2017

"An Alberta cyclist that claimed to have been clothes-lined on a trail in West Bragg Creek and later started a GoFundMe campaign is now facing charges, RCMP say. 

RCMP said investigators spoke with other cyclists, residents in the area and Psaroudakis himself. Through those interviews, police determined the incident with the barbed wire “never took place.”

Police have issued a warrant for his arrest and are hoping he will contact Cochrane RCMP to turn himself in.

RCMP ask that anyone with information about the crime or Psaroudakis’ whereabouts to contact them at 403-932-2211 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously."

Reply

hbelly13
-4
Raymond Epstein  - July 13, 2017, 5:04 a.m.

Yeah, eff this guy. Str8 up crook. Everyone would have been better off if there had been real barbed wire there to simply finish this schmuck.

Reply

Geoff
+4
Geoff Nash  - July 13, 2017, 9:18 a.m.

That's harsh. You'd prefer that his story be true and that he be dead ... meaning, he would be innocent and dead. His story is suspicious, but to prefer him to be dead? Harsh.

Reply

hbelly13
0
Raymond Epstein  - July 13, 2017, 11:43 a.m.

My itinerant nihilism is running higher than usual. Perhaps some sort of cruel twist of justice (highly unlikely) will befall him and everyone will feel better just like in the movies.

Reply

AlbertaMTB
+1
Jason Wannamaker  - July 13, 2017, 6:31 a.m.

I woulda asked him when he put his phone in for repairs, what type of phone, and how badly was it broken. I have the metadata for the gofundme photo see if it adds up

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AlbertaMTB
0
Jason Wannamaker  - July 14, 2017, 10:31 a.m.

I also had some of his facebook friends reach out to me and discuss his business dealings. I forwarded those conversations to the RCMP.

Reply

CadenMac
+1
CadenMac  - July 14, 2017, 7:36 p.m.

He was interviewed by CBC today. He's now changed his story.  Saying "I made a mistake. It’s not Merlin Trail".   When absence of witnesses and Strava data don't support your story, you change the story.

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AlbertaMTB
0
Jason Wannamaker  - July 13, 2017, 6:38 a.m.

Also the GoFundMe was shutdown, and the funds put on hold pending the outcome of the investigation.

Reply

Dilusion56
0
Brian Debenham  - July 13, 2017, 10:59 a.m.

Good to hear about the hold on funds!

Reply

tbkfan
+1
tbkfan  - July 13, 2017, 7:29 a.m.

Sure would have liked to have heard his description of Merlin...

Reply

Robbster
0
Robbster  - July 13, 2017, 1:32 p.m.

Conveniently, he would have claimed to have been concussed and forgotten about what it looked like.

Reply

CadenMac
+1
CadenMac  - July 14, 2017, 7:39 p.m.

Nobody saw him or his friend on Merlin.  And today, he's changed his story to say he was mistaken, and that it wasn't Merlin after all.  How convenient.

Reply

Idaridesayeti
+3
Mike Anderson  - July 13, 2017, 7:38 a.m.

Thank you Cam for doing what our local mainstream media would not.

Reply

bux-bux
+1
Bux Bux  - July 13, 2017, 8:27 a.m.

This guy is obviously a pro scam artist. Keeps changing the subject due to he had no answers because he was never on those trails.

I will say it again... if he hit a barbed wire it would have torn his neck to bits, causing probably a major if not life ending injury.  He said " Barbed" to make it more dramatic.  What a dickhead.

Reply

cbass2010
+1
Christian Flammenspeck  - July 13, 2017, 3:55 p.m.

I would suggest he's anything but a pro with all the holes in his story

Reply

jitenshakun
+2
Jitensha Kun  - July 13, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

Great work Cam!

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - July 13, 2017, 10:41 a.m.

As much as it would pain me, if push came to shove, my three bikes would be sold in short order to put food on the table/ roof over the heads of my family. Bikes can be replaced. As such, I am surprised when he doesn't consider selling his TT, regardless of the loss, especially since he is unable to work for one or three months. 

The variations in his responses, a plethora of problems which revolve around money, the apparent refusal to sell a serious chunk of personal capital (TT), no photos of the incident, and the Go Fund Me campaign cumulatively raise serious questions of legitimacy.

If it walks, sounds and looks like a duck...

Reply

grambo
+1
grambo  - July 13, 2017, 10:45 a.m.

Great work Cam. It's blatant from the way he responds to your questions that this guy is a pathological liar and scammer. No doubt about it.

Reply

Mungbeanz
+1
Mungbeanz  - July 13, 2017, 12:14 p.m.

Audi TTs are great family cars.

Reply

Robbster
+2
Robbster  - July 13, 2017, 12:37 p.m.

I told my Wife the other day that I doubt you will ever hear from his friend, because the friend likely doesn't exist.  And sure enough, this pretty much confirms it.  It's clear that he was feeling the heat on him and removed his GoFundMe campaigns because he figured that if he withdrew any of that money under false pretenses it would a more serious charge than just Mischief.   Someone on one of the Facebook Groups coined a fitting nickname for him:  Barbed Liar

Reply

cerealkilla_
+1
jdt  - July 13, 2017, 12:38 p.m.

Rest assured, there is no TT. This is pathological lying. Chances are he can't distinguish between reality and the things he makes up. I'm not sympathizing with him, even if he has a profound personality disorder, but this guy probably has no clue how to live an honest normal life.

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cerealkilla_
0
jdt  - July 13, 2017, 12:38 p.m.

.....

Reply

CadenMac
+2
CadenMac  - July 13, 2017, 12:55 p.m.

"Sure, let me give you my friends number... Hold on a second...Oh darn, my phone is broken and getting repaired.  Let me give you his name... Oh darn, I don't know his last name.  He told me his name was... um... ah.... Mack.  Yeah, Mack!"

Reply

beaudurrant
+1
Beau Durrant  - July 13, 2017, 1:09 p.m.

I ride this trail once a week, the fastest I've ever had on those trails is 35k/hour, he was probably doing about 15-20 km/hour depending on where he was.

I don' t supposed you use dropbox, google drive or facebook to back up your pictures, keep them all on your phone?

I guess the bruises on his back and lacerations to his liver are all fake too? He just walked a few hours up the path with injuries to get a few bucks.

Writing an article like this, I'd hope you are right!

Reply

Robbster
+1
Robbster  - July 13, 2017, 1:30 p.m.

He was likely riding an ATV on private properly like the girl who was injured in a similar way, and figured if he made an elaborate story involving being clotheslined by barbed wire on a bike trail he'd use the media exposure to pimp out a GoFundMe campaign, which he's certainly no stranger to doing.  Zero evidence backing up his claim of even being on Merlin that evening, or any other part of his story.

Reply

Robbster
+1
Robbster  - July 13, 2017, 1:47 p.m.

He says he followed his new friend Mack in his car and that after the accident Mack took him to the hospital.  So, who took him back the following day to retrieve his car?  His new friend Mack?  How did he get a hold of him if he didn't have his number? Anybody witness him walking back on the trail the following day to retrieve his bike?  Pretty sure riders would notice a guy walking on the trail with a serious neck injury. And if he has a serious injury to his liver as he claims, there is no way he would be healthy enough to walk 6kms off the trail the day of the accident, and then return the very next day and walk another 12km (6km there and 6km back) looking for his abandoned bike.  Complete and utter nonsense!

Reply

bux-bux
0
Bux Bux  - July 13, 2017, 2:25 p.m.

This is by far the best material we have had on NSMB for a while. What a crazy story.

Reply

rvoi
0
rvoi  - July 14, 2017, 5:52 a.m.

by my calculations, he could cover that up with a neck tattoo that says "hustle every day"

Reply

CadenMac
0
CadenMac  - July 21, 2017, 12:24 p.m.

07/21/2017 

"RCMP have issued an arrest warrant for the Calgary man who claimed his neck was sliced by barbed wire on a popular mountain biking trail west of the city and then asked for donations online.

Cochrane RCMP said Friday they have charged Stelianos Psaroudakis, 37, with fraud under $5,000 and public mischief after investigating his claims in the West Bragg Creek area."

Reply

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