Police investigate dog fighting, bike theft ring

Friday, March 23, 2012

The SPCA may have busted a dog fighting operation Friday afternoon in North Philadelphia, seizing 11 dogs and drugs.

It is always a good day for Philadelphia law enforcement when they catch a murder suspect, but they soon learned that he was also involved with other criminal activity including running a dog fighting ring, illegal breeding and bike theft.

It all began with a homicide investigation. Detectives were in the 2200 block of West Lehigh Avenue in North Philadelphia looking for a murder suspect.

When they caught up with him, they noticed dogs inside the house and contacted the SPCA.

"We found 11 dogs. We found training paraphernalia that would lead us to believe that these dogs were being trained to fight," said George Sengal from the Pennsylvania SPCA. "Also it is a breeding operation. We found puppies in there and a lot of breeding material."

While the SPCA was inside trying to locate all of the dogs, they stumbled on a large cache of bicycles of all kinds, from high end to low end.

Thinking that was suspicious, they contacted the Philadelphia Major Crimes Unit, who determined that the occupants of the home were running a bike theft ring.

Police say they now know where all of the missing bikes went that were reported stolen all over the city.

At first glance, the amount of bikes displayed looked like a bike shop.

"As you can see from the cache, there are about 75 bikes here, many of the brand new. A couple of them children's bikes that look like they could have been Christmas presents. And we have had some citizens come by already, observing what we are doing and have already identified some of the bikes as stolen from their children," Sgt. Joe Cella from the Philadelphia Police.

"I saw all of the bikes and I said, WOW! It's amazing, how do you get all them bikes in this house?" asked Richard Dukes.

"They have more bikes than Kmart, it's a disgrace, what else is going on in this neighborhood that we don't know about?" asked Dee Sowell.

Authorities caught up with a murder suspect, rescued 11 dogs from a dog fighting operation, and shut down a bike theft ring, recovering 75 bikes, all believed to be stolen, all in a days work.

Police hauled the bikes away to a holding facility where they hope to determine who they belong to.

"Monday morning, we will catalog everything. We'll run them through our computer system. People who reported their bikes stolen, with the serial number, will be able to determine who the owner of that bike is," said Sgt. Cella.

Police say they hope to have all of the owners notified by the middle of next week.

The SPCA says the dogs will be evaluated to determine if any of them can be put up for adoption.

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