Police have arrested a 21-year-old Roseburg man in connection to a rash of bicycle thefts.
In mid-August, a couple from Grants Pass called the Roseburg Police Department from the parking lot of the Hampton Inn to report two bikes, a $2,200 black Specialized Epic mountain bike and a $2,900 orange version, had been stolen from their truck, according to court documents.
Police believed the man was 21-year-old Ryland Benefiel, a Roseburg resident with a history of committing similar crimes and who has had wire cutters, bolt cutters and other tools in his possession during previous arrests, according to court documents.
The caller, William Landis, told police he had locked the bikes to the back of his Dodge Ram the night before, but when he went out at around 10 a.m. the next morning, the locking cable connected to the bike rack had been cut and the bikes were gone.
Landis said he and his significant other, Cynthia Parks, came to Roseburg for a few days to bike around the area’s trails.
Police checked the hotel’s motion-activated security cameras that overlook the parking lot and saw a white male, dressed in a dark colored jacket, blue jeans and a black hat walk to the west side of the lot at approximately 4:15 a.m., according to court documents.
The man walked through the parking lot multiple times and was looking around, but was not seen taking the bicycles, according to police. The angle of the camera cut off Landis’ truck, so the bikes were not visible, but hotel staff said the man was the only person seen walking around the building that night.
On Aug. 25, police heard from a woman who had information about an orange mountain bike that Benefiel had allegedly stolen.
The woman said Benefiel immediately disassembled it at his mother’s house, who helped Benefiel repaint it purple and covered the bike’s graphics with gray paint. The woman said the bike was originally orange in color and had “thicker tires,” according to police.
The woman said Benefiel later returned to the garage, which she called “the chop shop,” with a black Specialized mountain bike he had stolen, according to court documents.
Police went to the home, and after getting permission from the homeowner, climbed through a window. Inside, officers found multiple bike frames, an assortment of parts, wheels and tires lying around including items that looked similar to the Grants Pass couple’s bikes.
On Monday, police contacted Benefiel and arrested him on suspicion of first-degree theft and second-degree criminal mischief. During the arrest, police noticed that several parts on Benefiel’s personal bike were from stolen bikes, including pedals and a water bottle holder.
On Aug. 30, Benefiel pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and second-degree criminal mischief after stealing a $3,000 mountain bike from the back of a truck belonging to a man traveling from Idaho to the Oregon Coast. Benefiel sold the bike for $250 shortly after stealing it.
His plea hearing for Monday’s arrest hasn’t been set yet.