By Rob Young/Appeal-Democrat
April 11, 2007 – 11:52PM
Seven alleged Yuba City bicycle thieves didn’t know it, but they were sitting on a high-tech law enforcement tool that led to their arrest.
Using a high-tech tracking device manufactured by a Sacramento firm, officers arrested six adults and one juvenile for grand theft over a three-day period in early April, Yuba City police spokeswoman Shawna Pavey said Wednesday.
The Police Department borrowed the Pegasus Technologies Inc. tracking system for a three-day trial run at no cost, said Pavey.
The bait, said company President Jason Cecchettini, was a “flashy,” popular bike model. According to police, the bike was left at various places around town, including Wal-Mart and the intersection of Plumas and Bridge streets.
Although police revealed little about how the tracking system works, a transmitter is concealed within the bicycle and is activated when the bike is moved. Officers can detect the signal from their cars or with hand-held receivers, according the company’s Web site.
Arrested during the sting were: Jaime Martin, 27; Vyacheslav Zeitlin; Timothy Fesmire Sr., 40; Erich Hoff, 36; Charles Kessler, 59; Victor Caneda; and a 17-year-old male whose name was not released because of his age.
While bicycle theft may not be Yuba City’s top crime problem, the Police Department is considering using the tracking system “in a similar manner in the near future” – possibly to help quell vehicle burglaries, Pavey hinted.
Cecchettini said numerous police departments around the country use the bicycle and other Pegasus Technologies tracking systems, including a number of police departments on college campuses where bicycle theft is a major problem.
While car owners can install anti-theft tracking devices on their cars, owners of expensive bikes cannot buy the Pegasus system because it uses a radio frequency available only to police, said Cecchettini.
“There is no frequency for bikes,” he said.