Bike Theft Crew Caught in the Act
Los Angeles: Detectives arrested three 19-year-old men Thursday evening after they cut the locks on two bicycles outside the Evans Adult School, at Sunset Boulevard and Figueroa Street.
“Witnesses called police after they saw the trio ride up on bikes, cut the locks, then ride away, guiding the two stolen bikes beside them,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, who oversees detective operations for downtown. “The detectives happened to be across the street at the CVS drug store when they heard the radio call.”
At that moment, an off-duty LAPD officer, who was working security at the school, started chasing the thieves, followed closely by the detectives. “It must have been a bit overwhelming for the thieves because they gave up pretty quickly,” Lt. Vernon said. One of the arrestees had bolt cutters hidden down his pant leg.
The detectives returned the two stolen bikes to their rightful owners, who were both students at the school. At the police station, the detectives found a driver’s license number etched on one of the thieves’ own bicycles. “Putting your driver’s license number on property like bicycles is a great way to help the police get your stolen items returned to you,” Lt. Vernon explained.
The driver’s license number returned to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy who reported that bicycle stolen in 2004 from Whittier, California. That bicycle was valued at $800. Detectives will hold the other bike to determine if it too was stolen. One of the suspects had a receipt for the $3,000 bike he was riding.
Josue Bran, Jessy Guerrero, and Hugo Ascencio were booked for Grand Theft, and bail was set at $20,000 each. All three men reside in Hollywood and attend Hollywood High School.
“We’re going to keep chipping away at this bike-theft trend,” Lt. Vernon explained. “The public can help by remembering to lock their bikes with quality locks, and etch their bikes like the deputy did.”
The public is encouraged to report tips, anonymous or otherwise, to Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.