BOISE -- A Boise man is behind bars after officers said they caught him in the act of burglarizing a tire store, then found more evidence that implicated the man in up to 50 documented bike thefts throughout the city of Boise.
Police say those crimes include the high-profile theft of 13 racing bikes from a locked trailer during the 2012 Exergy Tour in May.
Officers say they caught 19-year-old Michael Anthony Lawrence around 1 a.m. Thursday as he was trying to steal car tires from a business on S. Cole Road. They say Lawrence had tripped a burglar alarm when he broke a window in the business, alerting authorities.
Lawrence was arrested shortly afterward.
Boise Police Sgt. Randy Buzzini says detectives were already investigating Lawrence for several alleged bike thefts, and last night's burglary charge against the Boise man has allowed the department to build a stronger case against him.
The reason? Police say they'd been following Lawrence and conducting surveillance on his activities. They say they've slowly gathered evidence that points to his involvement with between 30 to 50 bike thefts in the recent months.
“Fortunately now, after a lot of investigating, surveillance of the suspect, subpoenas and search warrants, detectives have what we feel is a very solid case against this suspect for what's turning out to be a series of bike thefts and burglaries," Buzzini said.
Lawrence was booked at the Ada County Jail on 13 charges of felony grand theft.
Police said Lawrence was using tools to break the bike locks on the bikes he stole. Buzzini suggested people remove one or both tires, or the seat. He said that would make it hard to ride the bike away from the scene, making it more suspicious. He also recommends bringing the bike inside if possible and keeping your garage door closed.
Buzzini said Lawrence was targeting high-end bikes. They also have evidence that Lawrence was involved in retail burglaries as well.