Police arrest one of their own for theft

By Chen Wen-chan, Pao Chien-hsin, and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 - Page 5

A 45-year-old police officer was arrested on Friday for allegedly breaking into bicycle stores in Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung and stealing expensive bicycles, authorities said.

Investigators said the suspect, an officer at Baihe Township’s (白河) Siancao Precinct in Greater Tainan surnamed Cheng (鄭), carried out the robberies with his girlfriend earlier this year.

Police allege that Cheng and his girlfriend, surnamed Kuo (郭), broke into the flagship store of Merida — one of the main Taiwanese bicycle brands — in Greater Kaohsiung on the night of Jan. 16 and stole four high-end bikes and four sets of wheel. The store estimated the cost of the stolen items at more than NT$400,000.

Investigators said they noticed the robbery resembled break-ins at a Tainan store owned by Giant on Dec. 31 last year and on Jan. 1.

However, they were unaware that the suspect they were chasing was one of their own until they made the arrest.

At Cheng’s house and in storage, police said they recovered 21 bicycles, six sets of wheels and bike accessories, estimated to be worth more than NT$1 million (US$33,625).

Police said that Cheng admitted to the break-ins in Greater Kaohsiung and Greater Tainan, but investigators suspect he may have been involved in at least two other burglaries as several of the bikes recovered came from other stores.

Cheng was quoted by police as saying he has a passion for bicycles, especially high-end ones, and that he and his girlfriend belonged to a cycling club.

“I stole them because I don’t have the money to buy them,” he was quoted by police as saying, adding that he had done so to add to his collection of bikes and not to sell them for profit.

Following his arrest, Cheng was given two major demerits and dismissed from the police force.

He was also remanded into police custody, while Kuo was released on bail of NT$30,000.

Additional reporting by Wang Han-ping