Wednesday, July 18, 2012
(07-18) 16:58 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — Bicycle thefts in San Francisco have gone down “very drastically” since an 18-year-old man was arrested in connection with 114 allegedly stolen bicycles that police found in his possession, authorities said Wednesday.
Police saw a large increase in the number of bicycles taken from home garages beginning in November, but the number of thefts has dropped since Irving Morales-Sanchez of San Francisco was arrested in May, said police Capt. Dan Mahoney of Ingleside station.
Morales-Sanchez’s arrest capped an investigation that saw undercover officers infiltrate the city’s stolen bicycle operations. They purchased bikes off of Craigslist and made contact with those selling stolen bikes or those who actually did the crime, Mahoney said.
From those interactions, police were able to secure search warrants, one of which led them to the Silver Terrance home that Morales-Sanchez shared with his father.
Officers said they found eight bikes in his kitchen. A search of two storage lockers he was renting in Oakland turned up 106 more bicycles, 80 tires and a frame.
Mahoney did not provide exact numbers, but said bicycle burglaries, which were almost unheard of when he took command of Ingleside station in May 2011, began skyrocketing last November.
“What I can report is that ever since we had the seizure here and made that arrest, our burglaries have dropped very drastically,” he said.
Of the 114 bicycles, 20 were reclaimed by 19 victims and served as the bases for 20 felony charges against Morales-Sanchez. Mahoney said about 10 bicycles police confiscated following other raids have also been reclaimed at Ingleside station.
Morales-Sanchez pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 20 counts of buying or receiving stolen goods.
Deputy Public Defender Roberto Evangelista, who is representing Morales-Sanchez, said his client’s family was in the business of refurbishing bicycles and reselling them, but had no idea they were stolen.
Morales-Sanchez’s bail is set at $75,000. He is scheduled to return to court on July 30.