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L.A. detectives bust downtown bike-theft ring

January 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Los Angeles police detectives broke up a ring of downtown bike thieves over the weekend, recovering several stolen bikes and parts, drug paraphernalia and counterfeit money.On Friday, undercover detectives arranged to buy a bicycle posted on the Craigslist Web site. That same day, the bike's owner had reported it stolen from the 500 block of Olympic Boulevard.

The detectives met Ukrainian native, 51-year-old Konstantin Rostovtsev, in Santa Monica and arrested him on suspicion of receiving stolen property. They said Rostovtsev then led them to 43-year-old Edward Arciga.

Detectives arranged another bike sale and met Arciga on Saturday at the Olive Motel on Sunset Boulevard. They said an accomplice opened a motel room door as they arrested Arciga. Inside, they spotted bolt cutters and more bicycles.

Detectives said, in addition to the stolen bikes, they found counterfeit bills, counterfeiting equipment, and drug paraphernalia. They said Arciga was booked for receiving stolen property, but may also face federal counterfeiting charges.

"This is a significant break for us," said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon. "There were 123 bicycles stolen downtown in 2009. That's 45 more than the year before, and we know there is more than one ring of thieves who are preying on bicyclists."

Police remind bicyclists to protect themselves with strong locks and not to leave bikes in public places any longer than necessary. It is also a good idea to record your bike's serial number and keep a receipt of its purchase.