String of bike thefts heightens student awareness around U

Kelley Yurecko

As freshmen loaded carts and moved their possessions into dorms last weekend, another group was right behind them.

An influx of new students brings new property. And University-area bike thieves are waiting.

Four bikes were reported stolen from locations around the University campus since students began moving in.

Many students use this mode of transportation during fall semester but don’t take precautions to prevent their bikes from being stolen.

“Thefts at the beginning of the school year tend to happen due to all the new bikes on campus,” University police Capt. Steve Johnson said.

Most of the bikes stolen were valued between $250 and $300.

Two people who had their bikes stolen are freshmen at the University. Johnson said some new students are too trusting when adjusting to a new atmosphere.

He offered some tips for new and returning students deciding to ride bikes on campus.

Rob DeHoff, owner of Varsity Bike Shop in Dinkytown, recommends the U-Lock, a horseshoe-shaped lock usually made of steel. “This area is known for bike thefts,” he said.

Cable locks can be easily cut and are not as effective as the U-Lock. Ted Meinhover knows this well.

During Labor Day weekend, Meinhover’s $300 Raleigh 18-speed mountain bike was stolen from Centennial Hall.

“I had my bike locked to the rack outside the hall. It was full of bikes. I did use a cable lock for my bike,” the freshman said.

Johnson said if students and University staff have two bikes at home, the less expensive model should be ridden on campus.

Bicyclists should also have a Minnesota bike license. Licenses can be purchased at the University police headquarters on Washington Avenue. Johnson said purchasing a bike license creates a permanent record of someone’s personal information. The bike can then be traced back to the owner by serial number.

“If you don’t know the serial number of your bike, it can’t be registered as a stolen bike,” Johnson said. “Owners who don’t know their serial numbers almost never have their bikes recovered. We usually find the licensed bike.”

Johnson advised students and staff to use bike racks in well-lit, busy areas on campus and help each other out as well.

“If you see someone suspicious with long-handled bolt cutters sticking out of their pocket, be sure to call the police. Don’t say ‘oh darn,'” he said.

 

Kelley Yurecko welcomes comments at [email protected]