Victims Deflate Alleged Serial Bike Thief
Patch talks to an undaunted pursuer of Kenneth Robertson as an arraignment hearing is set.
Kenneth Robertson is scheduled for arraignment before a Cook County judge Friday afternoon over allegations that he has stolen 25 high-end bicycles across the Chicago area.
While Winnetka and Wilmette detectives conducted a monthlong investigation of the 31-year-old and his supposed accomplice, Gilberto Torres, theft victims have been trying for a year to get Robertson charged.
Patch spoke with one man who has been spearheading a group of Chicago volunteers attempting to catch the alleged thief in the act. For them, Robertson's arrest is a big victory.
"Two of the 25 recovered bikes did appear on our stolen registry," Kevin said of The Chain Link and the Stolen Bicycle Registry. "I'm surprised you found him with as many as 25 bicycles. This guy's a professional and usually gets rid of bikes in a week or two."
"There's less than five cordless grinder thieves, and we think Kenny's one of the most active ones," said Kevin, who did not want his last name included for safety reasons.
In addition to his distinctive lock-breaking technique, Robertson frequents CTA and Metra parking stations, according to Kevin.
He said his group became aware of Robertson when it investigated a Chicago swap meet that was notorious for selling stolen bikes. Since then, the group has accumulated Youtube videos from security cameras installed to catch Robertson.
"I know when it's a bike that Kenny's stolen," Kevin said of Robertson's theft patterns. "The police reports from Kenilworth, Wilmette and Winnetka were consistent with what we've been finding in Chicago."
Local authorities were tipped off to the alleged thieves after Winnetka police recorded Robertson and Torres' license plate as suspicious persons earlier in June.
Wilmette patrolman Landon Girard spotted their car in the Wilmette Metra parking lot June 24. Detectives then followed and observed the duo as they allegedly stole bikes from a commuter lot in Glencoe and from the 500 block of Green Bay Road in Winnetka. They were arrested in Chicago later that day.
As Robertson faces a judge in Skokie, Kevin praises the police work done by North Shore authorities.
"They have a strong set of evidence against him," he said. "It's a prosecutor's dream, they have police from two municipalities as witnesses."
Meanwhile, Kevin said to prevent becoming a victim, bicyclists have to do their part.
"People need to take reasonable precaution to protect their property and to decrease bike thefts," he noted.
Robertson, along with Torres, is set to appear at the Skokie Courthouse at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Stay tuned to Patch for more on the bike theft case.