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Saturday, June 13, 2009
Stolen Bikes Pop Up on eBay
By T.J. Wilham
Journal Staff Writer
They should have tried a pawn shop.
Two suspects were arrested this week after trying to sell their loot on eBay, police say.
And it wasn't just run-of-the-mill merchandise they were selling. The two suspects had stolen racing bikes from a cycling team training to take on Lance Armstrong.
Late Friday, the suspects — Juana Vargas, 27, and Stanley Nazario, 26 — were in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center on several theft-related counts.
Nazario is a convicted felon and was also charged with felon in possession of a firearm after police found two stolen guns in his home.
The couple were arrested after the cycling team's director saw the bikes for sale while browsing the Internet. The director immediately recognized his bikes because the suspects forgot to remove the name of the cyclist before posting a picture of the bikes online.
According to court records, the bikes were stolen from the El Paso-based Ten Speed Drive team on April 26, the final day of a three-week training trip in Albuquerque.
The rider left two of his bikes in a marked team van so he could leave the next morning to race in the Tour of the Gila, which was featuring Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
The rider, Emiliano Jordan, had to get another bike shipped to him from Dallas so he could race.
The bikes' combined value was about $13,300.
Team director John Fereisen said he couldn't believe it when he found the bikes Wednesday on eBay — with his rider's name still on them — on sale for $1,500 and $1,000. He immediately called Albuquerque police and gave them the seller's information.
After police took him into custody with one of the bikes in tow, Nazario led police to his home, where they found Vargas, the other bike and rooms full of what police suspect is stolen merchandise.
"As far as we are concerned, we have been happy," Fereisen said. "For the police to get our bikes back that quickly, all I can say is 'Thank you, great job and we will buy you guys a pizza and beer.'"