Notorious BART bike theft suspect collared

BART police this week helped with the arrest of two male suspects during a bike sting operation at the Pleasant Hill BART station, transit officials said Friday. Both suspects face a felony grand theft charge.

BART police caught the suspects using a bait bike during a joint operation between the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department and the San Francisco Police Department on April 29. SFPD provided the bait bike.

One of suspects arrested was a notorious bike theft offender arrested multiple times in Contra Costa County, said Lt. Michael Hayes of the BART Police Department.

The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department confirmed one of suspects as one of the top three bike thieves in the county. Officials did not release the name of the suspects at the time of the announcement Friday.

Police also report that one of suspects was riding a stolen bike from the University of California, Davis campus.

Hayes said the bike is in the process of being returned to its owner.

Bike sting operations play as an important tool for BART police to help protect the belongings of riders. The transit agency said police conduct random surveillance operations at different stations using plain clothes officers and bait bikes.

Hayes reminds riders they can also play a role in protecting their bikes by locking them with using a strong U-lock (preferably using two locks).

He also said bicyclists should have the brand of bike, color, model and serial number documented so that the police can place the information in a database.

Police can then return the bike to the original owner if the bike is found just like in case of the stolen bike from the UC Davis campus.

BART reports that there were 168 bike thefts during its latest quarterly report, down 75 percent from the last quarter.