LOS ANGELES — Two men — one a Santa Monica resident — were arrested for alleged involvement in a bicycle theft ring, police said Tuesday.
Konstantin Rostovtsev, 51, was taken into custody Friday and Edward Arciga, 43, was taken into custody Saturday, said Los Angles Police Lt. Paul Vernon.
Rostovtsev was picked up at his Santa Monica home by two police officers posing as potential buyers responding to an advertisement for a Sirrus bicycle he had placed on Craigslist. The person whose bicycle was stolen saw the bike on Craiglist and contacted the police. The bike had been stolen in Downtown Los Angeles earlier that day.
“Craiglist has really changed the dynamic for criminals and trying to sell property,” Vernon said. “It’s criminals finding a new niche.”
Through Rostovtsev, police gathered information on Arciga. They similarly acted as interested bicycle-buyers when visiting Arciga in a Los Angeles motel. In addition to three bicycles, many bike parts and counterfeit $100 bills were found in the motel room, Vernon said.
The two men also face possible federal counterfeiting charges for bleaching $1 and $5 bills to make false $100 bills.
LAPD’s Vernon said bike theft is on the rise, especially of high-end racing bikes with high-pressure tires and alloy frames that cost upwards of $500.
“The bike that we recovered in Santa Monica actually had an on-board computer,” Vernon said.
To avoid theft, Vernon said the best technique is for bicycle owners to keep their bikes safe. He suggests investing in a sturdy lock and locking bikes to something stationary and permanent. He said owners should write down their bicycle serial numbers, as the police can match owner serial numbers with those of stolen bikes. Lastly, if the bike cost more than $400, stealing it is considered a felony, so Vernon said it is wise for owners to hold on to their receipts.