Police arrest serial bike shop thieves

Issaquah police arrested a man they say is responsible for bicycle thefts and burglaries at stores in three states.

Vladislav Martynenko, 21, was arrested on April 6 after detectives served a search warrant at his Issaquah apartment.

Detectives say Martynenko and his wife stole high end bicycles and sold them online.

According to investigators Martynenko was first caught on surveillance cameras in September when he stole a bike from Element Cycle in Redmond over Labor Day weekend. Police say he arranged to test-ride a bicycle, rode it out of the store and didn't come back.  The bicycle, worth $6,300, reappeared back outside the store in October. The suspect was never identified or arrested.

Investigators say Martynenko and his wife, Lyudmila Palanchuk targeted bicycle shops on the Eastside side -- Element Cycle and Trek in Redmond, and Gerk's in Issaquah.

Zach Blakely was working at Trek in Redmond last month when he says Martynenko took a bicycle worth $6,500 for a test-ride."Guy came in, knew tons about bikes, no red flags off the bat," said Blakely, "Just rides out and never comes back." said Blakely.

Police say the store took Martynenko's driver's license and credit card as collateral for the test-ride but his wife grabbed it back while he was distracted with Martynenko.  The store has new procedures for test rides.

Detectives say the pair also traveled out of the state to steal bikes, according to detectives. Lakeside Bicycles in Lake Oswego Oregon was burglarized on March 31, hours after police say Martynenko and Palanchuk were in the store asking about bicycles.  Martynenko was seen on surveillance video during the burglary.

About $40,000 dollars' worth of merchandise was stolen from Lakeside Bicycles. A store employee tracked down the stolen bikes for sale on Ebay, the serial numbers were showing. The seller lived in Issaquah. Police served a warrant on April 6. They recovered nearly $30,000 worth of bicycles and parts.

"It's kind of like a bicycle chop shop," said Issaquah police Detective Leighton Barbin. "A lot of the bikes they couldn't sell they would break down and sell the parts." 
Those parts were expensive. Investigators recovered a pair of lightweight wheels worth $7,000.

Martynenko was arrested for investigation of trafficking stolen property, possession of stolen property, an drug possession. According to court documents police found steroids in the apartment.  Palanchuk was also booked into the King County Jail for possession of stolen property and trafficking stolen property.

At Trek in Redmond, Zach Blakely was glad the bike would be returned.

"It's cool to get the bike back, but knowing he's not going to keep doing it is the winner there," said Blakely.

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