San Jose Man Accused of Masterminding Bicycle Theft for Resale in Mexico

San Jose Man Accused of Masterminding Bicycle Theft for Resale in Mexico

A federal grand jury has indicted 53-year-old Victoriano Romero from San Jose on charges involving a sophisticated scheme to steal high-end bicycles in the Bay Area and resell them in Mexico. Unveiled on January 23, 2024, the indictment outlines Romero’s alleged involvement in this international operation.

The indictment accuses Romero of orchestrating nighttime burglaries to steal bicycles from San Francisco and Redwood City homes. He reportedly turned his San Jose automotive shop into a center for disassembling, packaging, and shipping the stolen bikes to Jalisco, Mexico. These bikes, including high-end brands like Serotta Titanium and Cervelo C3 Carbon, had values ranging from $3,000 to $9,000 each.

Digital and Physical Evidence

Reportedly, Romero took photographs of the stolen bicycles and a co-conspirator used them for online advertisements in Mexico. This unindicted co-conspirator also reassembled the bicycles for sale and maintained a ledger of the profits.

Charges and Legal Implications

Romero is charged with conspiracy (18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 2314) and two counts of transporting stolen goods (18 U.S.C. §§ 2314, 2). Conspiracy may result in five years’ imprisonment; each transportation charge, ten years.

Potential Legal Defense for Victoriano Romero

Romero’s defense could argue the evidence collection process was flawed, questioning the validity of search warrants and adherence to Fourth Amendment protections. Demonstrating procedural violations might lead to excluding crucial evidence.

To contest Romero’s connection to the bicycle thefts, his defense might provide alternative explanations for the bicycles’ presence on his property. This approach seeks to undermine the assumption that possession implies guilt, potentially raising doubts about his involvement.

Regarding the reliance on digital evidence, Romero’s defense might challenge the integrity and handling of digital photos and online ads. They could scrutinize the collection, analysis, and attribution of digital evidence to Romero, aiming to question its reliability in establishing his identity and intent.

Legal and Investigative Developments

Romero made his first federal court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter H. Kang, who released him on bond. He is scheduled to appear next on April 10, 2024, before United States District Judge P. Casey Pitts. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lagrama is prosecuting the case, which resulted from investigations by the FBI and the San Francisco Police Department.

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