Cops bust Foster-Powell 'stolen bike chop shop'
Bicycles – many of them expensive, and custom models – have been disappearing in Inner Southeast Portland. However, one of the major theft operations was busted by members of the Portland Police Bureau's Bike Theft Task Force (BTTF) in mid-May.
The case unfolded on Wednesday, May 13, when a task force officer was dispatched on a burglary report.
"An expensive bicycle, along with a cell phone, had been stolen from a home. The officer conducted excellent follow-up by getting a suspect description from video surveillance – and learned that the stolen cell phone had been tracked to the 6500 block of S.E. Powell Boulevard," we learned from Portland Police spokesperson Melissa Newhard.
The following day, several task force officers checked out that location, and they were surprised at what they found. "The officers discovered a large bicycle 'chop shop' in and around a tent pitched near the 6000 block of Powell Boulevard," Newhard said. "Inside the tent, officers found 35-year-old Juan Garcia Cortes, who is known to them as a prolific burglar and bicycle thief, and he was arrested without incident."
Collectively, the officers on scene removed some 15 bikes or bike frames from the camp, including a Cannondale road bicycle valued at $4,000, which was reported stolen on May 6. Bicycles have been returned as owners were identified.
Also in the tent was 46-year-old Craig Stephens, who was with Garcia Cortes during one of the burglaries that was caught on surveillance, and he was also arrested.
Garcia Cortes was lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) on May 14 at 1:45 p.m. on ten counts of Felony Burglary I, Criminal Mischief I, Theft I, and a warrant. He remains in custody at MCDC in lieu of $510,000 combined bail.
Stephens was also booked at the MCDC on May 14 at 1:44 p.m., and was arraigned on one count of Felony Burglary I, with bail set at $50,000. However, a judge reviewed his case, and released Stephens from custody without bail. Release Reason: "Court Ordered Release".
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