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Colorado AG indicts 8 in bike shop burglary ring

Published November 17, 2021

In one case, the suspects allegedly stole $90,000 worth of bikes in less than five minutes.

Some shops were hit multiple times. Giant Cycling World in Littleton, for example, was hit four times, Totally Wired Cyclery in Fraser was hit twice in 10 days. 

Prosecutors said they have "credible evidence" that the group worked with fences who quickly moved the bikes out of state and possibly into Mexico. The approximate value of the stolen bikes is $985,000 and the approximate value of the stolen vehicles is $258,000. Total property damage between vehicles and businesses is $231,837.

“Auto thefts and property crimes have increased significantly during the last two years. Working with our law enforcement partners, we broke up this multi-layered criminal enterprise that harmed several businesses and nonprofit organizations in the mountain communities and Denver metro and Boulder areas. We will hold these individuals to account for their actions and harm they caused to the victims and our communities,” Attorney General Weiser said in a statement

Weiser said the AG's office worked with police departments in Boulder, Denver and Littleton, as well as the FBI, in investigating the case. According to the indictments, investigators obtained access to Facebook Messenger communications between the men as they planned burglaries and the sale of the bikes. The indictments also refer to DNA evidence, roadside stationary license plate readers, red light enforcement cameras, retail security cameras, border-crossing records, bank records, and cell phone records that allegedly tie the men to the burglaries.

At least one indictment references photos and videos on the defendants' Facebook pages. It says that on Christmas Eve, 2019, two defendants shared videos and photos on the social media site showing them with "large amounts of cash and expensive bottles of alcohol" in a hotel room. Bikes valued at about $73,000 were stolen from the Specialized Experience Center in Boulder overnight on Dec. 23.

The eight defendants are variously charged with violating Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act, first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft, second-degree burglary, theft, and criminal mischief, in addition to other charges. The eight indictments include 227 total charges.

The cases were filed in Boulder District Court on Oct. 25. The defendants are Kevin Acosta-Larkin, Austin Butler, Gerald Garcia, Maurice Leday, Gregory Melina, Salvador Mena-Barreno, Jason Quijada, and Adrian Rocha-Chairez. While most of the men were charged with dozens of counts including the organized crime counts, Melina is charged with just five counts related to two break-ins in Longmont. Quijada is charged with just one count of aggravated motor vehicle theft. The indictments describe Adrian Rocha-Chairez as the group's fence, who sometimes told the others how many bikes were needed. 

The retailers who suffered burglaries or damage cited in the indictments include: Boulder Cycle Sport, Boulder; Specialized Experience Center, Boulder; Redstone Cyclery, Lyons; Giant Cycling World, Littleton; Evergreen Bicycle Outfitter, Evergreen; REI, Denver; The Bikery, Littleton; Totally Wired, Fraser; Guerilla Gravity, Denver; Foundation Cycles, Denver; Alpha Bicycles, Denver; Mojo Wheels, Denver; Bicycle Village, Aurora; Base Camp Cycles; Denver; Bike Source, Highlands Ranch; Cenna Cycles, Longmont; NuLife Cycles, Longmont. Indictments also connect some of the defendants with an unsuccessful break-in at Fay Meyers Motorcycle World in Greenwood Village.

Related: BRAIN spoke with several of the Colorado retailers who were victims of the break-ins for a March 2020 article

Photo from a 2020 break-in at Sports Garage in Boulder.
Topics associated with this article: Smash and Grab

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