Dozens of bicycles stolen from carports in Santa Monica were reunited with their rightful owners Saturday. Police caught a single serial thief after he left fingerprints on a bike frame. Ted Chen reports for the NBC4 News at 4:30 p.m. on June 22, 2013.
Santa Monica police have recovered stolen bicycles before but rarely like this.
More than 40 from one thief.
Dozens of people came by the police station on Saturday hoping to find theirs.
“My bike was stolen from the garage,” said Michael Maher. “It was a crime of opportunity. Someone walked by. The garage door was up.”
Maher’s bike wasn’t among this group on Saturday.
But several bicycles were claimed.
Police arrested 45-year-old Pedro Ayala on May 6 in connection with the thefts.
Police said he was stealing the bikes from carports in Santa Monica between October and May.
Ayala was tracked down, police said, after they lifted his fingerprints off the frame of a bicycle that was stolen.
Santa Monica Police Sgt. Henry Ramirez recommended bike owners document the serial number and keep that number somewhere handy. He also recommended taking a picture of the bike.
Randall Eliot said he found his stolen bike.
But since he didn't have a picture and registration number, he has to wait to claim it.
“I felt good when they called me,” said Eliot, whose bike was chained when it was stolen. It’s “really frustrating just to show up and walk out your door and see that your mode of transport is missing.”
More Southern California Stories: