Lethbridge Police are targeting bike thieves as part of a community crime initiative.
Earlier this week members of the Property Crimes Unit employed an investigative technique involving a bait bike that was left in the downtown core, securely locked to a street sign. Within 15 minutes officers observed a male steal the bike and ride away. He was arrested without incident a short distance from the scene and subsequently charged with theft.
Robert Leon Crow Eagle, 50, of Lethbridge, was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 16, 2022.
Police have successfully used bait bikes in the past and will continue to use them throughout the summer in an effort to apprehend thieves and help deter bike thefts.
Locally, many stolen bikes are used by thieves as a means of transportation, but stolen bikes and bike parts are also frequently traded for drugs or sold for profit.
In 2021, a total of 521 bikes were reported stolen, with 123 of those recovered. That equates to a four per cent decrease in bikes stolen from 2020, and a three per cent higher recovery rate. From Jan. 1 to May 18, 95 bikes have been reported stolen, with 20 recovered.
While there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of being victimized, there are a few steps people can take to help reduce the likelihood of their bicycle being stolen:
· Always lock up your bike. A U-lock is recommended
· Lock your bike to a secure rack or object (designated bike racks are recommended) and make sure to lock both a wheel and the frame
· Lock bikes in well-lit, well-travelled areas and in a locked shed or garage if possible
· Do not leave bikes unlocked and unattended outside a business, or front or back yards, carports or patios
In addition, police encourage residents to register their bikes with Bike Index, a free program that was launched in 2020. Bike Index can help deter theft, and if police recover a registered bike that was lost or stolen, it can be returned to the owner as quickly as possible.
Information on the Bike Index is available at the LPS website at https://www.lethbridgepolice.ca/bike-index
It only takes minutes for the owner to register with Bike Index. Details including serial number, make, model and colour are provided, and a photo and information about distinguishing features can be added. If owners include a phone number (viewable only by police), they can be contacted if the bike is recovered.
Bike Index stickers, available through LPS as well as participating bike shops – Alpenland, Ascent Cycle and Bert and Mac’s – are made of a strong, weather-resistant material and are difficult to remove. The stickers can serve as a deterrent by showing the bike is registered and the owner can be identified by simply scanning the code.