The Portland Police Bureau’s Bike Theft Task Force continues to pay big dividends to our community.
In a statement just released a few minutes ago, the PPB says an officer on the task force responded to a burglary call on Wednesday and stumbled upon a large chop-shop operation. The bust happened in southeast Portland on the 6000 block of SE Powell Blvd (just east of the Foster split).
On May 13, 2020, a Portland Police Bureau Officer assigned to the Bike Theft Task Force (BTTF), responded to a burglary call where an expensive bicycle, along with a cell phone, were stolen from a residence. The investigating Officer conducted excellent follow-up; obtained suspect description, secured Ring video surveillance of the suspect, and learned the stolen cell phone last tracked to the 6500 block of Southeast Powell Boulevard.
On May 14, 2020, Bike Theft Task Force (BTTF) Officers went to the location of the cell phone to look for the stolen bicycle. Officers discovered a large bicycle “chop shop” (Photos) in and around a tent near the 6000 block of Southeast Powell Boulevard. Inside of the tent, Officers contacted 35-year-old Juan Garcia Cortes (Photo), who is known to them as a prolific burglar and bicycle thief. There was probable cause to arrest Garcia Cortes for several new counts of burglary for additional incidents where bicycles had been stolen. Garcia Cortes was arrested without incident.
Collectively, the officers on scene removed approximately 15 bikes/bike frames from the camp to include an expensive Cannondale road bicycle, valued at $4,000. This bicycle was reported stolen on May 6, 2020.
While working on the bicycle recoveries from this “chop shop”, an officer on scene recognized another person in the tent, 46-year-old Craig Stephens (Photo), who was with Garcia Cortes during one of the burglaries from surveillance of the original crime. Stephens was arrested without incident.
The expensive Cannondale has been returned to its owner and the remaining bikes have been confiscated and officers will now attempt to find their owners. If they’re registered this should be a simple process.
Both Cortes and Stephens were arrested. Cortes faces 10 counts of Burglary 1 as well as Criminal Mischief I, Theft I, and a warrant. Stephens has 1 count of Burglary 1. Task Force leader Officer Dave Sanders says there might be further suspects and arrests in this case.
The Bike Theft Task Force was formed in 2015 to combat a problem that claims an estimated 10,000 victims and $10 million worth of stolen property in Portland each year. Learn more about how to register your bike and prevent it from getting stolen at the official BTTF website.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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