Serial bike and scooter thief is busted on UIC campus, officials say

Victor Morales (Cook County sheriff’s office, Google)

University of Illinois-Chicago police officers say they’ve arrested a thief who has been stealing scooters and bicycles on campus since at least October. Victor Morales, a 47-year-old with an active parole violation warrant from Michigan, had a 14-inch bolt cutter hidden in his hoodie sleeve when campus cops arrested him, the officers said.

Around 11 a.m. on February 21, UICPD received a tip that the man wanted for stealing bikes on campus was standing next to a bike rack outside the school’s recreation facility at 737 South Halsted. They found Morales there and recognized him as the theft suspect.

The officers said they found the bolt cutter in his sleeve as they patted him down on the street. Morales has no affiliation with the school and had no reason to be on campus at the time of the thefts, the officers reported.

Court filings show Morales is accused of stealing an electric scooter from the 1300 block of South Halsted on February 2; bikes from the 700 block of South Halsted on January 31 and December 27, and an electric bike from the 800 block of South Wolcott on October 9.

All of the victims were of college age; all of the bikes and scooters were locked before they were stolen; and Morales was caught on video each time, according to the UICPD report.

He is charged with felony possession of burglary tools, four counts of misdemeanor theft, and misdemeanor criminal damage to property.

Judge Charles Beach released Morales to await trial on the charges, but Morales will remain in the Cook County jail until Michigan officials pick him up or their time to extradite expires, typically 30 days.

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