U police department warns students of increase in bicycle thefts

Joanna Dornfeld

Unknown suspects stole four bicycles Thursday between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on the University’s East Bank campus.

In one incident, a person saw the theft occurring near Moos Tower and reported it to University police. When police arrived, the suspect was gone. Later that day, the victim reported the theft, according to the police report.

The suspect is a 17- to 20-year-old Asian male, said University police Capt. Steve Johnson.

In the other three incidents, the victims had locked their bicycles with cable locks. When they returned to retrieve their bicycles, the cable locks were cut and lying on the ground near where their bicycles had been parked, according to the police reports.

“If they are looking for a bike to steal, they are looking for one with a cable lock,” Johnson said.

Though bicycle theft occurs year-round, it increases when the weather warms and more people begin riding on campus, he said.

Johnson recommends locking bicycles in a visible area and checking on them frequently to deter theft. Licensing bicycles also protects the owners in case of theft.

“It definitely makes your bike easier to track if it is licensed,” said Steve Sanders, Parking and Transportation Services campus bicycle coordinator.

Minneapolis requires residents to license their bicycles, but the University does not. Students can buy a three-year license at University police headquarters for $10.

U-locks are the most difficult for thieves to break, but “any lock can be defeated,” Johnson said.

Students can also rent bicycle lockers from Parking and Transportation Services to prevent theft. Sanders said no bicycles have been stolen from the lockers.

“It would take a lot of doing to get in,” Sanders said. “You’d have to go at it with power tools.”

Students can reserve one of 150 bicycle lockers on the Parking and Transportation Services Web site. It costs $75 to rent a locker for one year.

In other police news:

ï University police arrested a 28-year-old Brooklyn Park man March 23 for driving while intoxicated across the Train Trestle Bridge near 56 East River Rd. – a bridge reserved for pedestrians and bicyclists.

University police officers noticed the vehicle traveling east on the bridge. They stopped the vehicle and could smell alcohol, Johnson said.

The suspect failed a field sobriety test and was later charged with a gross misdemeanor DWI, Johnson said.

 

ï A University employee reported the theft of aluminum and stainless steel sheets from the Sheet Metal Shop – located at 1936 Commonwealth Ave. – on the St. Paul campus March 22. The thefts have been occurring since Jan. 1, according to the police report.

University police are investigating the theft, Johnson said.