On Wednesday, a Portland Police 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" 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,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, who was with Garcia Cortes during one of the burglaries from surveillance of the original crime. Stephens was arrested without incident.
The Cannondale bicycle was returned to a very grateful owner. The remaining bicycles were taken as confiscated property pending follow-up.
Garcia Cortes was lodged at MCDC on 10 counts of Burglary I, Criminal Mischief I, Theft I, and a warrant.
Stephens was lodged at MCDC on 1 count of Burglary I.
The Portland Police Bureau Bike Theft Task Force has a number of recommendations on preventing bicycle theft and important reminders to keep track of your serial numbers in the event of theft.