A Santa Clara man suspected of stealing 'multiple' bikes in southern Marin in recent months failed to show up for a Marin County Superior Court hearing Monday, inciting a judge to issue a pair of $10,000 bench warrants for his arrest.
George Jae Lee, 45, was scheduled to retain an attorney and enter a plea at a hearing Monday before Judge James Ritchie after requesting additional time to retain an attorney at an Aug. 16 hearing. When neither Lee nor an attorney on his behalf appeared, Ritchie issued a pair of $10,000 bench warrant for Lee, one for the existing charges he's facing and a second one for a previous Marin County case involving drug and vehicle violations.
Lee was arrested on July 27 in a sting operation in downtown Tiburon and booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of grand theft, resisting arrest and being in possession of burglary tools.
Police linked Lee to “multiple other bicycle theft cases throughout Southern Marin,” according to Tiburon Police Officer Justin Kurland. The bikes have been valued between $1,000 and $9,000, he said.
Mill Valley Police were directly involved in the case, with MVPD Detective David Kollerer joining Kurland on visits to a San Francisco hotel where Lee was previously staying, as well as his home in Santa Clara, finding at least one other bike that is believed to have been stolen in the process, Kurland said.
Kurland said agencies throughout Southern Marin are looking to connect Lee to bike thefts.
The sting operation occurred after several weeks of reviewing reports of bike thefts in the area, Kurland said. Tiburon Police Sgt. Rob Law and Officer Shane Ford reviewed six months of reports, determining that many of the thefts were occurring on weekends and in the middle of the afternoon, Kurland said.
On July 27, the pair locked a $4,000 decoy road bike downtown off Main Street and watched it from a distance, hoping to nab a thief.
They said one arrived at about 2:45 p.m., when a man approached the bike, cut the bike lock in less than two seconds and hopped on it. As he did, an officer approached him, and dropped the bike and began running. Police gave chase and caught the man they later identified as Lee, Kurland said.
Lee immediately posted bail.
“When you’re dealing with bikes that cost more than some vehicles, this is a huge problem,” Kurland said.
Here's a few of our recent stories on thefts of high-priced bikes in southern Marin: