PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence police say at least 10 ATVs and dirt bikes, a city-owned pickup truck and tools were stolen from a building on Ernest Street early Wednesday morning.
The building at 55 Ernest Street has been used by police to store ATVs and dirt bikes seized from individuals throughout the city. (A city ordinance prohibits the use of those vehicles on public roads and sidewalks.)
According to an incident report, police reported to the building at 4:12 a.m. Wednesday for a report of a breaking and entering. A city public works employee told officers he noticed that an overhead door was open in the rear of the garage and then contacted his supervisor.
Providence Police Commander Thomas Verdi said the thieves used a tool to cut a chain that was tying the ATVs and bikes together before making off with them.
“More than likely, they put some of the ATVs, some of the minibikes in the pickup of the truck and they used the truck,” Verdi said. “They may have had another vehicle as well.”
Captain Michael E. Correia said four of the stolen dirt bikes were recovered at a house on Greeley Street after they were tipped off some of the hot items could be found there.
“Detectives came up here and were able to see two in the back yard hidden behind a couple of trash receptacles,” Correia said. “A little further investigation we were able to recover two more from inside the house.”
“They were very cooperative the people that live here,” he added.
Verdi said the city has seized 75 ATVs, dirt bikes and mini bikes since their crack down began in March, and they used the Ernest Street building to store some of them. The section that was broken into is not equipped with an alarm or surveillance cameras. The four vehicles recovered on Greeley Street were returned to the same building later in the afternoon, but were placed in a garage that is alarmed.
Asked if he thought the thieves were tipped off to the location of the ATVs by someone who works for the city, Verdi said he didn’t this that was the case adding “I don’t want to speculate but there are those that know certain pieces of equipment and items are kept there.”
The stolen city vehicle is a 2000 blue Chevy pickup with “Providence Public Works” written on the side.
In a statement, City Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan said the council was dissapointed to learn about the break-in.
“The council has put a lot of time and effort into legislation to increase penalties for illegal use of ATVs and dirt bikes on city streets, and the efforts have paid off; more than 40 vehicles have been removed from city streets this summer,” Ryan said. “While this morning’s incident was a setback, the council is will not be deterred in their efforts to empower law enforcement to continue to do their work of keeping city streets safe and clear of illegal vehicles.”
No arrests have been made.