SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department took to Twitter on Friday, February 23 to share video from a sting operation that was designed to catch bike thieves. Officers from the SFPD Mission Station have been working to address the city’s epidemic of bike theft and are using “bait bikes” to catch culprits. Bait bikes are bikes that have been implanted with GPS monitoring devices and left in densely-populated areas where they are most likely to get stolen.
The SF Gate reported that the suspect, Gareth Poole, was depicted in the 43 second clip posted online, during the operation that took place on Wednesday, February 21. It is not known whether Poole is a habitant of San Francisco or a transient, but he was apprehended on suspicion of felony grand theft and misdemeanor counts of possessing burglary tools, vandalism, as well as possessing a master key.
The sting occurred on Harrison St in front of Mission Cliffs during heavy traffic and pedestrian hours. In the video, an individual can be seen locking up their bike to the adjacent rack, while the suspect is visible a yard or so away, squatting next to another bike. As soon as the biker walks away from the scene, the assailant quickly grabs a white bike and can be seen pedaling away.
An undercover cop arrives on scene and knocks the suspect off the stolen bike. A second officer arrives to assist in subduing the suspect who attempted to flee from the scene. Several other officials quickly arrived on the scene and detained the suspect.
Authorities indicated that additional bait bikes are to be littered throughout San Francisco, as they have become a useful tool for the SFPD to catch thieves.