The Los Angeles County Sheriff's department says that the trio may face dozens of counts of conspiracy and California burglary charges in relation to an investigation conducted by the Sheriff's Department's Major Crimes Bureau.

Authorities claim that an off-duty Sheriff's deputy spotted a Nissan Murano drive past his home around 4:00 in the morning one day in March. The off-duty deputy says that he noticed a bike rack on the vehicle and became suspicious of the sight. He decided to take down its license plate number of the vehicle.

Several days after the alleged sighting of the SUV, the deputy claims a neighbor told deputy that two of his bikes had recently been stolen. The deputy apparently pulled out the license number and tracked the SUV to the three men who are now accused of stealing nearly 200 bikes over a two-year-period spanning six different counties.

Law enforcement claims the three men used Craigslist and Facebook to find high-end bicycles. Investigators say that an Irvine man awoke in the middle of the night in March after hearing noises in his home. The man says he saw alleged burglars pulling away from his home. The Irvine resident looked around his home to find that the only thing missing was his daughter's bike, valued at more than $5,000, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Irvine man claims that he had run an ad on Craigslist in an effort to sell his own road bike for several thousand dollars. The man claims that someone made an appointment to see that bike, but later cancelled the appointment. The alleged burglary at the Irvine man's home occurred roughly two weeks later.

Investigators claim that the men accused of stealing the high-end bikes would also seek out photographs posted by bike enthusiasts on Facebook pages to target goods for the bike theft scheme.

Officials say that they located stolen bikes and bike parts at a number of locations during the investigation, including at a bike shop and at one of the three suspect's homes.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Tour de theft targets high-end racing bikes," Andrew Blankstein, May 8, 2012