A tip from a bicyclist suspicious about someone riding a series of high-end bikes led police to a south Minneapolis house stuffed to the rafters with 44 stolen bicycles.
The cache of mostly adult road and mountain bikes was displayed at the Third Precinct station on Thursday afternoon, a day after the collection was seized from the house in the 3000 block of Bloomington Av. S.
Authorities arrested Mauricio Genchi-Palma, 22, at the house on a charge of receiving and concealing stolen property.
He told officers that the bikes in his living room, attic, basement and detached garage weren’t stolen. But Minneapolis Police Sgt. Brian Anderson used the serial number of one of the bikes — a $1,500 Surly Pugsley mountain bike — to track down its true owner.
He said he called her Thursday to tell her that her bike had been found.
“She was very happy,” he said.
A thief crawled through the dog door in her garage to get to the bike, which was locked up inside the garage, said Anderson.
The stolen bikes include Trek, Raleigh and Specialized brands and could be worth about $25,000 in total, he said. Most were likely bound for Craigslist, according to information that police have gathered in the investigation so far, he said. Police also seized a computer at Genchi-Palma’s house.
The case remains under investigation.
It’s not clear who was stealing the bikes, and it’s suspected that the house was a kind of drop-off point for stolen bicycles. Some of the bikes found in the house were stolen a year ago, while others were stolen as recently as a week before. One was reported stolen in a suburb of Portland, Ore.
Police spokesman John Elder said the police would be able to return all of the bikes to their rightful owners if the bikes were registered in the city’s 14-month-old bike registration system, but not all of them are.
Anderson said he’ll be lucky to return 15 of the stolen bikes to their owners. He’s using serial numbers, bike-shop stickers and descriptions of the bikes to search for owners.
Elder said the city’s bike registration system now has 4,269 bikes signed up. Anyone can register a bike with the city for free by calling 311 or going to the city’s website.
Some of the bikes recovered in this case will end up in the city’s property warehouse and may eventually be put up for sale.