Getting your Evanston news from Facebook? Try the Evanston RoundTable’s free daily and weekend email newsletters – sign up now!

The Evanston Police Department’s detective bureau in response to a recent uptick of reported bicycle thefts, conducted a surveillance operation targeting the downtown business district this past weekend, said Commander Jay Parrott of the Evanston Police Department.  Detectives working in civilian dressed attire observed two men casing bicycle racks in the area of Church Street and Benson Avenue on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at approximately 2:15 p.m.

Detectives continued surveillance of the two men and observed one man use a battery operated power saw with a rotary blade that was removed from his backpack to cut a lock that was securing a Diamondback Mountain bicycle to a rack on the corner of Maple Avenue and Clark Street, said the Commander.  After cutting the lock, the man began to ride away on the bicycle.  Detectives then quickly approached with the assistance of other officers assigned to the operation and apprehended the man after a brief foot chase. Detectives also apprehended the second man.  

Detectives believe the two men were acting together, one would pick out a desired high-end bicycle seen locked to an object and the other would approach and cut the lock, said Commander Parrott. Police recovered a saw, battery packs and cutting blades from the men.  

The men, ages 47 and 43, are both from Chicago, said the Commander. They have each been charged with theft, a Class 4 felony, he said.