CITYWIDE — A Los Angeles man is responsible for stealing over 40 bicycles mostly from carports in Santa Monica, authorities are reporting.
Pedro Ayala, 45, was arrested on May 6 by Santa Monica Police Department detectives. Ayala plead no contest to one count of grand theft and was sentenced on May 16 to 180 days in county jail and three years of probation, a spokesperson with the District Attorney’s Office said.
Most of the bicycles were beach cruisers and mountain bikes that sell anywhere between $200 and $1,000, said Detective David Haro. He said that there were also a couple of high-end professional racing bikes and electric ones.
Haro added that Ayala intended to sell the stolen bicycles.
Detectives first became aware of Ayala in early April when a victim reported their bike stolen. Forensic evidence at the crime scene led police to Ayala and they recovered the stolen bicycles from his Los Angeles residence using a search warrant.
Police are still gathering information on other suspects in the Los Angeles area, Haro said.
Most of the bicycles were stolen between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. with most believed to be taken from carports, Haro added. The thief used bolt cutters to break the locks on the bikes.
In cases where the carports had gates, the thief waited for residents to leave and open the gate for him to enter afterwards or he broke into gated carports left unlocked.
Detectives are encouraging victims who have had a bicycle stolen between October 2012 and May 5, 2013 to visit the SMPD on June 22 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Victims need to bring a copy of their police report, the report number and/or any receipts or photos that will help identify their bike.
Haro said that most of the recovered bikes were not reported as stolen to SMPD. For those who had their bicycle stolen and did not file a report, they will be allowed to file a report at the station before viewing the bikes. Additionally people are asked to bring any identifying information they may have to prove they are the owners of the bikes.
Haro’s recommendations for cyclists to keep their bicycles safe from future theft include jotting down and keeping their bike’s serial number on hand.
He also spoke of the importance of locking bicycles.
“Even though he did break those locks, it’s still better to lock them,” Haro said.
Haro added that gated carports should be kept secured and that should someone have their bike stolen they should report the theft to facilitate the recovery.