Police are questioning three boys after a man collapsed and died in a town centre following a confrontation with a three teenage boys who tried to steal his bike.
Josip Jovanovic, 57, collapsed just minutes after he was seen rowing with a teenage boy and two other youths who tried to grab his bike at 2.30pm on Wednesday.
Horrified witnesses looked on as the three youths approached the man and one boy tried to steal his bike before fleeing the scene.
But minutes later Mr Jovanovic collapsed lifeless on the Embankment of the River Great Ouse at the rear of the Borough Hall building in Bedford town centre.
Croatian-born dad-of-three Mr Jovanovic was rushed to Bedford Hospital where he died a few hours later.
Three boys aged 12, 13 and 15 have been arrested and are being questioned by police at Greyfriars police station.
Mr Jovanovic, from Bedford, is believed to have gone fishing alone during the afternoon at a spot on the Embankment behind Borough Hall.
The incident happened on a footpath just 100m from the town centre frequented by shoppers walking to a nearby carpark.
Officers carried out forensic tests yesterday and have now reopened the stretch of Embankment as detectives continue to make enquiries.
A post mortem was carried out this afternoon to determine the cause of death.
Mr Jovanovic has three adult daughters – one living in Bedford – and a partner.