UPDATE: Read our follow-up story, including an interview with Bicycle Pull-Apart Owner Eric Patchen.
Seattle Police arrested the owner of Bicycle Pull-Apart at 3rd and Battery in Belltown in March and today released an outline of their investigation into the shop.
Their investigation led police to search the property and found thousands of dollars worth of bikes that were reported stolen in recent years. Police say they are working to get those bikes back to their owners.
Seattle police believe the owner of a Belltown bicycle shop has been wheeling and dealing with convicted felons to traffic thousands of dollars worth of stolen bikes through his store.
For months, detectives have been investigating Bicycle Pull-Apart, located near 3rd Avenue and Battery Street, after receiving tips that the shop was buying, rebuilding and reselling stolen bikes.
In March, detectives tied the owner of the shop to the suspicious sale of a $4,000 bike stolen from a Belltown apartment building in June 2013. In March of this year, police found records that showed the bike was sold to Pull-Apart within days of the theft.
Pull-Apart, like pawn shops, is required to track all of its used-bike purchases through an online system—called Leadsonline—which police can also use to locate and track stolen and re-sold items. Curiously, that online sale-tracking system showed that Pull-Apart’s owner had pawned the stolen bike to his own store. Police believe he attempted to sell the same bike on eBay in March.
Detectives went to the shop and arrested the owner on March 13 and booked him into the King County Jail for trafficking in stolen property and continued investigating sales at the shop.
After reviewing purchase records at Pull-Apart, police found suspiciously mistyped serial numbers entered in the online system—making it much more difficult to search for stolen bikes in the system. Detectives also found purchase logs showing that more than half of the bikes bought by the shop between February 2013 and January 2014 were bought from convicted felons, many of whom have records for burglary and theft.
On April 9th, detectives made another visit to Pull-Apart, where they served a warrant and recovered three bikes, collectively valued at more than $9,000. All three bikes were reported stolen in three separate incidents in August and September 2013 and March 2014. Police are working to return the bikes to their rightful owners.
Detectives are still investigating the shop and are working to If you’ve previously reported your bike stolen to police, please make sure you’ve provided your bike’s serial number to police. If you haven’t, please call (206) 625-5011 and provide your case number and your bike’s info to the Telephone Reporting Unit.