A MAN suspected of selling at least 60 stolen bicycles was caught by police near Bugis MRT station.
Investigations showed that the unemployed 52-year-old had bought the bikes from another man, who had stolen them from various neighbourhoods in the north-eastern part of Singapore.
He was driving a lorry carrying six bikes when he was arrested on Tuesday evening. The lorry and bicycles were seized.
The arrest comes in the wake of increased bicycle thefts over the last two years. The number of bicycles stolen last year totalled 1,074, a 59.1 per cent increase from the 675 which were stolen in 2008.
Anyone found guilty of assisting in the disposal of stolen property could be jailed up to five years and fined.
The 28-year-old man suspected of selling the bicycles to him was arrested earlier, and appeared in court last week.
The stealing spree began early last year at the void decks of Housing Board flats in Hougang, Serangoon and Sengkang. The thief sold them for about $20 to $30 each.
The 52-year-old suspect arrested on Tuesday allegedly sold the bikes at higher prices. It is believed he was not the only one buying the stolen bicycles from the same source.
Bicycle shop owners and cyclists interviewed said that the flea market at Sungei Road is a popular place to sell stolen bikes.
A bike normally priced at $1,000 can be sold for as little as $200 there, they added.
Bike shop owner Lilian Lee said that she has seen her customers' missing bikes at the market before.
'They sell the bikes cheaply because they want a quick turnaround. They don't care how much the bike is really worth,' she said.
The bike shop owners interviewed added that they do not buy second-hand bikes from walk-in customers, unless they are able to provide a receipt of purchase.
One shop owner, Mr Walton Seah, said that bike owners are now savvy and often send out e-mail messages to shops, asking them to look out for their stolen bikes.
He recalled an incident where a stolen bike was recovered this way - someone wheeled it into a bike shop, asking how much it was worth.
'There are people who come, asking us to value their bikes,' said Mr Seah. 'I avoid giving advice to these people.'
Others in the industry added that besides selling the bikes as they are, some dismantle them and sell their expensive parts, such as brakes and wheels, online or to bike shops.