• It’s summer, and bike thieves are on the prowl
BROOKINGS – A decent bike will cost you $500 these days, and a good one $1,000 and up.
But even if your wheels are the $200 Brand X variety, purchased from a big box store, nobody likes to have some stranger pedal off with their bike.
It’s happening all the time in Brookings.
In the summer, says Detective Lt. Derrick Powers, “We could report a stolen bike practically every day.”
The local thefts have two things in common, Powers says: In almost every case, they’re “crimes of opportunity,” and most of the time, the stolen bikes have been left unlocked by their owners.
Just this week, police took a report of a Trek bicycle stolen from a residence in the 700 block of Fourth Street. The vehicle, valued at $200, was left sitting – unlocked – in the hallway of an apartment building.
If you dropped your wallet containing $200 in cash, would you just leave it in the hallway of an apartment building, hoping it would be there when you came back?
Probably not. You shouldn’t leave your bike unprotected, either.
The bike in question was taken June 25, sometime between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
The fact that it’s classified as petty theft doesn’t make it any less frustrating for parents or young owners who have to shell out $300 or $400 to replace a stolen bike.
“When it’s nice out and people are out riding bikes, they tend to leave them unattended,” the Brookings Police detective notes. Those are the ones that get stolen.
Powers says in most cases, it’s probably not a sophisticated bike theft ring – just somebody who’s walking by and figures he could use a ride home.
“They use them to get from Point A to Point B,” Powers explains, “and then they just dump them.”
Most experts agree that if somebody really wants to steal your bike, he can. But riders can thwart the casual thief by using a bike chain or U-type lock. Usually, a would-be thief won’t mess with a locked bike – there are probably easier targets nearby.
“We encourage people to lock up, Powers says. “Don’t present an opportunity for someone else to take your bike.”
Powers says Brookings police encourage owners to report stolen bikes right away.
Officers recover “dumped” bikes frequently, and they cross-check these abandoned two-wheelers with those that have been reported stolen.
Parents and kids can visit the police station, too, to see if their stolen bicycle is in the department’s collection of abandoned and recovered bikes.
“It helps us,” Powers explains, “when someone says they’ve located their bike on our rack.”
Contact Ken Curley at firstname.lastname@example.org.