UNION SQUARE — A pair of would-be bike thieves were foiled in the act after officers spotted them both casing the same bike near Union Square, according to the NYPD.
Officers first noticed a 48-year-old man scoping out a number of bikes in the area of Broadway and 18th Street roughly 1:45 p.m. on Nov. 4, including one ride he kept circling back to, police said.
The last time the man returned to the bike, police saw another man, 27-year-old Emanueal Ortiz, snipping the lock on the bike with a pair of wire cutters — prompting the first man to flee, according to a police report.
As police moved in on Ortiz, officers chased after the other man as he fled east on 18th Street, eventually catching up to him and finding a pair of bolt cutters in his backpack, according to a police report.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the pair were working together.
Prosecutors charged Ortiz with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, and a judge ordered him held on $501 bail. He's due back in court on Nov. 10.
A lawyer for Ortiz did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Information regarding the lawyer or next court date for the other man was not available.
In other bike crime news:
A bike scavenger stole parts from several locked bikes in Chelsea on Nov. 5, according to a police report.
A 51-year-old man was spotted stripping tires and seats off bikes locked along West 23rd Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues shortly after 3 a.m., police said.
When police stopped him, they found him carrying two stolen bike tires, according to a police report.
The man was charged with petit larceny, possession of burglar's tools, criminal mischief and possession of stolen property, according to a police report.
It was not immediately clear if he had secured an attorney.