Bike thefts appears to be down in Seattle — at least anecdotally — according to stolenbicycleregistry.com, which may be due to the fact that police busted two alleged prolific bike thieves last month.
Prosecutors have charged Jack Kondrad with possession and trafficking of stolen property, and police are investigating another man—Dwight Wiskerchen—in connection with at least 30 bike thefts "in and around Capitol Hill," according to court records.
It appears SPD’s investigation into the bike thefts came together in late August when the owner of Velo Bicycles—on 11th and Pine—called detectives and said that he had noticed a recent increase in bike thefts in the neighborhood.
Velo’s owner, Lloyd Tamura—who himself was recently the victim of bike theft—told police customers had been bringing him “information on their recently stolen bicycles,” police records say.
Tamura told police that a man had recently come in to his store after purchasing what turned out to be a stolen bike in the Central District from a seller who claimed to be a Velo employee.
Police records say the man apparently met with Kondrad at a Safeway on 23rd and Madison, where he paid $200 for a 2007 Trek 1000 bicycle, which police later determined was taken from a Capitol Hill apartment building. The bike’s owner had left the bike chained to tree, police records say.
As police continued their investigation, more reports of stolen bicycles came flooding in.
In one instance, a man found his girlfriend’s stolen bike for sale on Craigslist and went to confront the seller.
Police say the man then met with Kondrad and a woman—who was wearing an ankle monitor bracelet—at Broadway and Harrison, and took his girlfriend’s bike back.
On August 3rd, SPD bike patrol officers located and arrested Kondrad, who was carrying several credit cards and check books not in his name.
During an interview with police, Kondrad admitted he had sold 30 bikes on Craigslist in the last month, but claimed he had found the bikes “in a nearby park” where “he knew people dumped stolen bikes,” police records say.
Kondrad also identified a second man—Wiskerchen—who was allegedly involved in other bike thefts in the Capitol Hill area, near Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College.
Police learned that Wiskerchen was renting a storage unit at 12th and Howell.
When police contacted the management at the business, an employee told officers he was in the process of kicking Wiskerchen out for repeatedly working on and repairing bikes in a storage area hallway. The employee also told police that Kondrad had previously rented a storage locker in the building.
On September 2nd, police arrested Wiskerchen near his storage unit. He was carrying credit cards and a Virgina Mason hospital ID in someone else’s name, four cell phones, and a meth pipe.
It appears Wiskerchen has not been charged in connection with trafficking stolen bikes. However, earlier this month prosecutors filed burglary charges against Wiskerchen after he allegedly stole a baby carrier from a parking garage at a residential building in Fremont in September.
Wiskerchen is being held at the King County Jail on $30,000 bail. Kondrad was released last month, and appeared in court last week.
Velo's Tamura tells us that bike thefts have "calmed down" on Capitol Hill. "It's quieted down because they got these guys," he says.
We'll follow this case and post updates as we get them.