Bicycle Theft Sting Operation and Directed Enforcement Results in Three Arrests in Belmont Pier Area

biketheftThis is why, dear Long Beach cyclists, it’s important to lock your bicycles with care and concern and, if your bike is stolen, why you should have the serial number of your two-wheeled steed memorized or written down.

Thanks to the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) and a slew of concerned residents, three arrests have been made in the Belmont Pier area, according to an announcement released earlier this week.

LBPD announced Tuesday that a successful bicycle theft sting operation and enforcement implemented in the Belmont Pier area resulted in three arrests and the issuance of five misdemeanor citations. Complaints received from the community in regard to bike thefts near the Belmont Pier prompted East Division’s Directed Enforcement Team to focus on these types of crimes.

Originally shared on NextDoor.com, a social network used by residents looking to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in their neighborhoods, concerns from business and neighborhood associations were brought to the attention of the LBPD.

According to the LBPD, during the last week, East Division Officers conducted enforcement around the Belmont Pier area, which resulted in the arrest of an individual for possession of drugs and possession of burglary tools commonly used to steal bicycles. Additionally, officers made contact with five subjects loitering near the pier who were cited for various misdemeanor violations. Eight bikes were found under the pier, and presumed stolen, since their owners could not be located. The bicycles were placed into property.

According to the release, on Saturday, April 11, plainclothes detectives placed a decoy bicycle in the area of Ocean Blvd. and Termino Ave. and secured it to a light post with a cable and padlock. Two male subjects riding bicycles, with one of the subjects rolling a bike next to him, were seen eyeing the decoy. At one point, the subject with two bicycles, later identified as 51-year-old Timothy Lewis, left the area and returned shortly on foot. Lewis approached the decoy, along with the second subject, later identified as 49-year-old Joseph Griffin, cut the cable and rode away with it, while Griffin acted as the lookout. The theft was completed in less than 10 seconds.

Lewis was detained by officers on Ocean Blvd. near Roswell Ave. and taken into custody. He was found with a pair of cable cutters in his hand. Griffin was also arrested near Bennett Ave. and Division St.

According to the LBPD, Lewis was booked for grand theft, receiving known stolen property, conspiracy, possession of burglary tools, in addition to two outstanding warrants (vandalism and failure to appear). Griffin was booked for grand theft, conspiracy, possession of burglary tools, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

On Tuesday, Burglary detectives presented the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, resulting in one count of grand theft auto filed against both Lewis and Griffin. Lewis will remain in-custody on $40,000 bail and Griffin on $20,000 bail, at the Los Angeles County Men's Jail.

During investigation, officers determined that the three bicycles Lewis and Griffin originally had in their possession were also stolen. The bikes were placed into evidence. Attempts will be made to return them to their rightful owners at the conclusion of the investigation.

The eight bikes found under the pier could not be verified as stolen, likely due to either a report not having been filed or the owner not having the serial number to include in the report.

"The community must be reminded they cannot reclaim a stolen bike unless a report has been filed and they can prove ownership, which is why it's critical they record serial numbers. Taking photos of their bikes can also be helpful to investigators,” said East Division Commander Liz Griffin in a statement.

The LBPD commended the community organizations and members who alerted the police to the problem occurring in their neighborhood. Griffin said in a statement, “Good things can happen when we work together. This was a clear example of the community working with us to improve neighborhood safety for everyone in our City."

  • As often as you can, bring your bicycle inside, whether that means storing it in your humble abode at night or finding out if a shop owner will let you keep it inside their establishment while you go about your business there.
  • When you do lock your bike outside, make sure it’s locked to a fixed object in a public space. Your bike is only as safe as the object it’s secured to. Your bicycle’s rear wheel and frame should be locked to the bicycle rack or (insert fixed object here) with a U-lock, while you can use a cable to secure the front wheel.
  • Record the serial #, brand and take photos of your bike.
  • If stolen, make sure to file a police report and provide the said serial # and brand.
  • Register your bike with the National Bike Registry, to make it easier for the police to assist you in finding your stolen transportation.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to contact Long Beach Police Burglary Detectives Songcheak Ier and Daniel Haas at (562) 570-5810.



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