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Ripon Police break up youth bicycle theft ring

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Ripon Police break up youth bicycle theft ring

Ripon officer Steve Meece holding onto one of the recovered bicycles.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED April 26, 2012 1:38 a.m.

RIPON — A bicycle theft ring made up allegedly of four youths aged 10 to 14 was broken up this week by Ripon police officer Stephen Meece.

Meece was initially dispatched to the 1700 block of Judy Drive to investigate a missing $350 bike taken from a garage.  Officers canvassed the neighborhood to search for any witnesses to the theft and they developed suspect information. 

Meece interviewed multiple suspects in an attempt to determine who had stolen the bicycle and subsequently identified additional suspects and related victims.

Ripon First Sergeant Steve Merchant said the juvenile suspects would gather at one of the boys’ homes and then go out stealing bicycles during the night.  The suspects allegedly stripped some of the bikes and repainted them with the intent of reselling them.

Officers recovered a total of eight stolen bicycles with a property value of over $1,350.  Four of the bike owners have already identified and recovered their property.

Four juvenile suspects aged one 10, two 13-year-olds and one 14, all of Ripon were taken into custody and charged with the thefts that occurred during March and April.  They were charged with theft and with receiving known stolen property.

Sgt. Merchant said the receipt of known stolen property can be charged as a felony crime.  The juveniles were issued citations and turned over to their parents.  The case is being forwarded to the juvenile court system for review and possible prosecution.

Merchant lauded officer Meece in following up the case and recovering the bicycles. Anyone living in Ripon who has been the victim of a bicycle theft in the last three months is urged to contact the Ripon Police Department at 599-2102.

Citizens are urged to purchase bicycle licenses at the police department, lock their bicycles when not in use, lock up valuables, set alarms and lock their side gates and side garage doors at their homes.

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