Evanston police arrested two men who they say were using a power saw to slice through bike locks during a surveillance operation targeting bike thieves Saturday.
Detectives in plain-clothes were downtown conducting surveillance in response to a recent uptick in bike thefts in the area, police said. They saw two men casing bike racks near Church Street and Benson Avenue around 2:15 p.m. Saturday.
While the detectives watched, one of the men took a battery-operated power saw out of his backpack and cut the lock on a mountain bike attached to a rack at Maple and Clark streets, police said. He then rode off on the bike.
Detectives, along with other police who were part of the operation, stopped the man after a brief foot chase. They also caught the other man who had been a partner in the theft, they said.
The two were working together, with one picking out the high-end bike and the other cutting the lock, police said. Police believe they may be responsible for more than two dozen bike thefts in Evanston.
The men are Keith D. Freedman, 45, of the 3700 block of West Cullom Avenue in Chicago, and Albert L. Sauls, 43, of the 5900 block of North Talman Avenue in Chicago. Freedman was charged with felony theft and misdemeanor criminal damage to property. Sauls was charged with felony theft. They have June 18 court dates.