A San Jose man is in hot water, facing federal charges for his alleged role in a bicycle theft ring that targeted Bay Area bike enthusiasts and sent their pricey rides south of the border for resale. Victoriano Romero, 53, has been indicted on multiple counts, accused of spiriting away high-end bicycles to Mexico as part of a well-oiled criminal machine that exploited the region’s love affair with cycling. The official indictment was unsealed today after being filed on January 23, 2024, according to a report by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The grand jury's revelations paint a picture of a night-time burglary operation focused on high-dollar bikes, some worth up to $9,000. Romero, who reportedly owns an auto shop in San Jose, is said to have been the hub for receiving stolen goods, prepping them for transport, and coordinating sales with a partner in crime across the border. The indictment specifies nine stolen bicycles, including luxury brands such as Serotta, Bulls, and Cervelo, pilfered between April 2020 and April 2021, "U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp" announced.
Further details emerged about the alleged co-conspirator in Jalisco, Mexico, who appears to have played a key part in offloading the goods. This person, yet to be indicted, is said to have used Facebook sales pages, hidden behind a virtual private network, to advertise the stolen bikes exclusively to buyers in Mexico. It's also alleged that they kept meticulous records of their profits, as revealed in "the indictment" obtained by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Romero's charges include conspiracy and transportation of stolen goods in foreign commerce, crimes that could land him in the slammer for up to 15 years if convicted. Despite the serious accusations, Romero was released on bond after appearing this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter H. Kang. He's due back in court on April 10, 2024, "the U.S. Attorney's Office" states. The case, due to a joint investigation by the FBI and the SFPD, is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lagrama.