Two defendants arrested in “Operation Vicious Cycle” have been sentenced to prison for their part in a bike theft ring.
Austin Butler, 23, pleaded guilty to violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, second-degree burglary and aggravated motor vehicle theft.
Boulder District Court Judge Norma Sierra sentenced him to 16 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.
“I am proud of our prosecutors’ tireless work and collaboration with local law enforcement to hold the defendant accountable for the significant harm he caused to several individuals, businesses and non-profit agencies from this vehicle and bike theft criminal enterprise,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring others charged in this criminal enterprise will be held fully responsible for their actions, and to sending the message that property theft will not be tolerated.”
Another defendant in the case, Kevin Acosta-Larkin, has already pleaded guilty to violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act and aggravated motor vehicle theft and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The remaining defendants in the case are still pending.
Eight men were indicted by a state grand jury in November and accused of using stolen vehicles and large rocks to break into and burglarize bike shops across the Front Range, including several in Boulder County.
The indictments stem from an investigation called Operation Vicious Cycle that involved a series of crimes involving 29 bike shop burglaries, 22 auto thefts and multiple attempted burglaries and thefts from Fraser to the Denver metro area from December 2019 through June 2020.
According to the release, the men would plan the burglaries using Facebook Messenger. In groups of up to four, the men would then steal either a box truck or van and ram it into the front doors or windows of a bicycle shop, or they would break the front windows with large landscaping rocks or other tools.
Police said the men then stole high-end mountain bikes and transferred the stolen goods to be sold out of the country, possibly in Mexico.
The defendants reportedly stole $985,000 in bikes and $258,000 in vehicles while causing $231,837 in property damage.
Six businesses were burglarized in Boulder County, including Boulder Cycle Sport in Boulder, Redstone Cyclery in Lyons and Cenna Custom Cycles in Longmont.