Buffalo Police conducting a narcotics investigation made an unexpected discovery: dozens of bicycles that investigators believe were stolen over the past several weeks or months. They're now beginning the laborious task of trying to reunite them with their rightful owners.
Bicycles of various makes, including some children's models, were recovered after officers executed a search warrant at a house on the 500 block of Plymouth Avenue late Monday, explained Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo.
"Our Narcotics Unit recovered a .380 handgun, numerous quantities of various narcotics and, upon the arrest of the suspect in the basement, over 88 bicycles that we believe were stolen over the last numerous months," he said.
The names of the suspects, said to be males ages 24 and 33, were not released during Tuesday's news conference. Both, Rinaldo said, were held in police custody.
Police have begun the task of searching through complaint files to see if they may include information about any of the bikes recovered. Rinaldo asked the public for its patience as it documents the dozens of bikes that were on display in a police garage.
Rinaldo recommends anyone whose bike was stolen and who did not yet file a police report should do so.
"In order to receive one of these bikes back, you will have to have some kind of identifying information," he said. "Whether it's a proof of purchase, a receipt, a serial number, a picture of the bicycle, something that will allow us to confirm that you are the rightful owner of a bike."
The public has 90 days to claim a bicycle. Those that ultimately remain unclaimed, Rinaldo said, will be put up for sale at a future police auction.
Police noted that its K9 Unit assisted in this investigation and its best-known officer, Shield, chased one of the suspects into the basement where the bicycles were found. Shield is best known as the former partner of Lieutenant Craig Lehner, who died in a diving training accident in the Niagara River one year ago last weekend.