SAN JOSE, California (February 8, 2024) — A federal grand jury has indicted Victoriano Romero, charging him with conspiracy and related charges in connection with an alleged scheme to steal high-end performance bicycles from residents in the Bay Area and transport the bicycles to Mexico for resale.
According to the indictment, filed January 23, 2024, and unsealed earlier today, Romero, 53, from San Jose, participated in a complex international fencing operation that involved stealing bicycles from homes in San Francisco and Redwood City, Calif., during nighttime burglaries, and then transporting the stolen bicycles to Jalisco, Mexico, for resale. The indictment alleges Romero owns an automotive shop in San Jose where he received the stolen bicycles, took pictures of them, disassembled them, packaged them for delivery, and then had them transported to a co-conspirator in Mexico. Romero allegedly sent the pictures to his co-conspirator who used the pictures for online advertisements to sell the bicycles. Further, the indictment alleges Romero received a share of the profits from the international bicycle fencing scheme.
The indictment contains a description of nine of the bicycles that were stolen between April 2020 and April 2021. The bicycles, ranging in value from $3,000 to $9,000, included notable manufacturers such as a Serotta Titanium bicycle, a Bulls Grinder Evo bicycle, and a Cervelo C3 Carbon bicycle.
The indictment also describes additional details about the participation of Romero’s alleged co-conspirator in the scheme. For example, the indictment alleges the unindicted co-conspirator posted pictures of the stolen bicycles on a Facebook sales page using a virtual private network (or similar method) so that only persons in Mexico could see that the bicycles were for sale. In addition, the indictment describes how the co-conspirator reassembled the bicycles in Mexico before selling them and maintained a ledger listing the profits from the sales of the bicycles.
In sum, Romero is charged with one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods in foreign commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 2314, and two counts of transportation of stolen goods in foreign commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum statutory penalty for the conspiracy charge is five years in prison. The maximum statutory penalty for the substantive transportation charges is 10 years, per count. In addition, as part of any sentence, the court could order defendant to serve an additional term of supervised release to begin after a prison term, additional fines, and restitution, if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Romero made his initial federal court appearance to face the charges this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter H. Kang. He was released on bond. His next scheduled court appearance is scheduled for April 10, 2024, before P. Casey Pitts, United States District Judge, for status.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lagrama is prosecuting the case. The prosecution of this case is the result of an investigation by the FBI and the San Francisco Police Department.
Updated February 8, 2024