Page One

Police Raid Telegraph Shop, Seize Stolen, Altered Bikes By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday June 17, 2005

(No charges were filed and the City of Berkeley paid some claimed damages -- See The Berkeley Daily Planet, November 11, 2005.) 

Berkeley police officers sorted through hundreds of used bikes Wednesday as they searched for hot wheels at a well known cyclery. 

The platoon of uniformed officers, accompanied by a plainclothes detective or two from the Stolen Property Unit, were execu ting a warrant served on Karim Cycles at 2800 Telegraph Ave. 

On its Internet site, the store advertises “the largest selection (of used street bikes) in the San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley area.” The store is also featured on “Bike Berkeley” page of the city’s website. 

Though the store was closed when officers arrived, officers summoned a locksmith, who made short work of the door. 

“The search warrant was based on the earlier recovery of three stolen bikes from the shop,” said Berkeley police spokespe rson Officer Joe Okies. 

Officers tagged the more than 500 bikes in the store’s inventory, marking down the serial numbers and checking them against the state registry which records the numbers bicycle owners report when their wheels are stolen. 

Officers from Property Crimes, the department’s bicycle unit and other details were assigned to the search. 

By the time the search was completed, 17 bikes had been hauled off to the evidence locker, including one confirmed set of hot wheels and 16 others with il legally removed, obliterated and altered serial numbers. 

Owner Ali Karim wasn’t present during the search, but detectives later made contact with him, said Okies. 

No arrests were made, and the case is still under investigation. 

Neighbors who stopped to look as the search progressed said they weren’t surprised by the raid. 

Visitors to the ‘bikes for sale’ section of the website left their comments about the raid, as well as photographs they took of the officers in action. 

Readers at ano ther website advised the owner of an expensive stolen bike to search for his bicycle at the Telegraph Avenue shop. 

While one of the craigslist writers urged those who have had bikes stolen to contact Berkeley Police to see if their wheels had been spotted during the raid, Okies demurred. 

“The important thing is for bicycle owners to write down the serial numbers and then report the numbers to police if their bikes are stolen,” he said. 

Officers serving the warrant had only the serial numbers of stolen bikes already reported before the raid, he said. 

“If you haven’t reported the number, there’s not much we can do,” Okies added.