Santa Cruz police announced Thursday morning the arrests of two more bicycle theft suspects. Three others have been charged with the same crime this week, bringing the total number of bike theft arrests to five.
According to police, Zachary Bernal, a 19-year-old Santa Cruz resident, was seen cutting a lock from a bicycle that was secured to a bike rack in front of the Civic Auditorium about 5:35 p.m Wednesday night. Police say Bernal was working with another accomplice who stood guard while he (Bernal) cut the lock.
Witnesses confronted Bernal as he was riding off on the bicycle. According to police, Bernal and his accomplice increased their speed and rode away.
Those witnesses called police and responding officers combed the area.
Officers recognized the description given them by witnesses as Bernal, coupling it with information shared with them by police in a previous shift. Bernal had been arrested during the early morning hours for a domestic violence incident.
After a search, Bernal was spotted by officers several blocks away, still in possession of the stolen bicycle. The accomplice was not located.
Officers discovered that Bernal was actually on his way home after being released from jail on his previous arrest. Bernal was re-arrested and once again booked into Santa Cruz County Jail. Police recovered two bicycles that are being held at the police department pending contact with the victims. They are described as a light green/teal Trek women’s mountain bicycle and a red boys BMX style bicycle.
Just a few hours later, about 1 a.m. Thursday morning, police say Boardwalk security officers interrupted a transient, 31-year-old Jeremy Anthony Ochoa, who was in the process of cutting off a lock that secured a bicycle to a Boardwalk rack. Ochoa was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail for theft and a probation violation. Police say he is on formal probation for drug-related charges, and has a significant history of contact and arrests for drug-related charges.
Police emphsize both cases were resolved thanks to the watchful eyes of witnesses and immediate reports to the police.
Individuals can always leave anonymous tips via the police tip line (831) 420-5995 or use Santa Cruz police mobile iPhone and Android Apps.