Feb 222005
Authors: Erin Tracy

At the end of the school day, students, faculty, staff and visitors disperse from campus, taking their cars, bikes or boards with them, and it is about that time of day the lone tires chained to a bike rack are most noticeable.

Bike theft, though not as widely heard about as car theft, happens more than people realize.

Kristin LeLoup, Bicycle Education Enforcement Program supervisor for the CSU Police Department, said she thinks about three to five bikes are stolen per week, which totals out to be 48 to 80 bikes stolen per semester.

"Last semester there was 56 bikes reported stolen," LeLoup said. "There could be more and people just didn't report it stolen."

Of those bikes stolen, LeLoup said the rate of bikes found is pretty low and she wishes it would be higher.

"I would give it probably a 20 percent found rate," LeLoup said. "We really don't find that many."

Ken Dealmeida, a senior engineering major, worked at the campus bike shop in the Lory Student Center – now called Recycled Cycles – three years ago. During his three-month employment at the bike shop, a person came into the shop with a "suspicious-looking" bike for a tune-up.

"When we first saw it we thought something was weird," Dealmeida said. "It had a backyard paint job on it."

Dealmeida said he thought the bike had been spray-painted in an attempt to conceal the stolen bike, and his coworker immediately called the police.

"They said they didn't have time to deal with it," Dealmeida said.

Although that bike's origin was never determined, CSU alumnus Justin Maka did his own investigating and found his bike about three months after it was stolen.

Maka's bike was stolen outside the Morgan Library on Nov. 29, 2004, and said he did not expect to ever see his bike again.

"You usually don't hear about people finding their stolen bikes," Maka said. "I had made peace with it."

Maka had bought his Mongoose mountain bike new in the fall of 1998, but he made many changes over the years to make it unique. Because of this his brother spotted the bike on campus.

"My brother alerted me to it. He said he thought he saw it on campus," Maka said.

Exactly one week after Maka's brother had seen his bike on campus, Maka decided to try his luck and sat at the same place at the same time and ended up seeing a male riding his bike.

"I jumped on my bike, followed him from a distance and saw where he was going," he said.

The male rode the bike to the Durrell Center, where he dismounted the bike, locked it up and proceeded into the employee entry way. Maka said he then called the CSUPD and asked for a police officer to come by.

"I stood at a distance, (and) let the police guy do his work," Maka said. "He cuffed him up and put him in the police van and took him to the police department."

Maka said the police officer told him the male would receive a misdemeanor bike theft.

If Maka had not registered his bike through CSUPD and filled out a police report, an arrest would not have been made because there would not have been any proof that Maka was the bike's actual owner.

"It helps when (the bike is) registered at CSU, because we ask for the serial number of the bike," LeLoup said. "(It is) the only way to identify that the bike is theirs."

Maka said he advises people to make their bike look unique so it will stand out in a crowd, and "if it looks unique then maybe they wouldn't be stupid enough to steal it."

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