Police look into possible bike 'chop shop' in Spokane - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Police look into possible bike 'chop shop' in Spokane

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Police looked into a possible bike chop-shop Friday.

A tent here and a tent there. Right across from Lewis and Clark High School.

The camps stretch all the way from Monroe to Bernard- but one camp stood out.

The one with all the bikes and bike frames and bike rims- dozens of them, way more bikes than here were people. There were enough to open up their own - possibly illegal -- bike shop.

When we were filming Thursday night, a woman dressed as a Ninja Turtle appeared out of no where and demanded that we stop filming.

She wasn't there today when we brought back the cops to take action.

"We do find a lot of bicycle parts specifically a lot of frames that sort of thing especially in a lot of these camps," said Ben Maplethorpe with Spokane Police.

As the officers started sorting through the pile of spokes and pedals, we learned a lot from them about how a possibly stolen bike could gets 'processed' in one of these places.

Police say first and foremost, the bikes get mixed and matched with different parts, making it hard to identify whether they were stolen.

Officers told me they will even go as far as painting them in the camps before riding off.

And there's no doubt, these kid-sized bikes are in demand.  

"I've been a police officer elsewhere and this is the first place I've seen 30/40 year old people riding BMX bicycles," said Officer Maplethorpe.

Your best defense - still the simplest steps:

"We do have programs in this area were the local cop shop can take your information and register your bIcycle for you."

You don't have to visit the local police station - the city of Spokane has made it easy to register your bike online - just go to spokanebikeid.org. We've put a link on the KHQ 'find-it' bar to get you started. 

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