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By John Brown
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 17, 1997

Suspected expert bike thief indicted on felony charges

A Tucson man suspected of being an expert bicycle thief was indicted yesterday on two felony counts related to a campus arrest one week earlier.

A Pima County grand jury indicted Benjamin V. Rada, 33, of the 300 block of East Vaquero, who has been charged with one felony count each on possession of stolen property and attempted trafficking of stolen property. UAPD Cpl. Jose Sprigg nabbed Rada outside Modern Languages Oct. 9, after he saw Rada cut a lock to a mountain bike.

This incident marked the third time in three years the University of Arizona Police Department had arrested Rada in connection with campus bike thefts.

Police arrested Rada twice in 1994 and suspect he has been targeting campus since 1992, said Sgt. Sal Celi.

"This confirms our belief that Benny is a professional bike thief and does this for a living," Celi said after Rada's latest arrest.

Celi wouldn't speculate on how many bikes Rada may be responsible for stealing from campus only saying "Usually someone will have to steal one a day to make a living at it."

About four bikes a day are stolen from the campus, he said.Nearly 150 bikes have been stolen so far this year, Celi said, marking an increase this year over the last several.

Celi said most bike thieves shop for bicycles secured with cable locks for their "business" because they can be stolen in just a few seconds.

A thief usually rides the bike to South Sixth Avenue where the going rate for a $300 mountain bike is about $25, he said.

Celi suggests using a U-lock and reminds students to always secure it to something.

"There are people out there looking to steal your bike," he said.

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