Investigators: Bikes disappearing from garages

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News 12 at 6:00, July 27, 2007

AUGUSTA, GA--If you own a bike, lock it up. The sheriff's department says they're disappearing every day, and it's costing some people thousands of dollars.

Investigators say the crime, and the motive behind it, is very similar to auto theft. The exception, however, is bikes are usually easier to take and harder to track. They need transportation, and all they have to do is look to the nearest garage.

Jacob Howard's bike used to sit in the garage next to his sisters, until someone broke through the lock and took off.

"We'd been out of town three or four days, and when we got back in town, the bike was gone."

And Jacob's father, Steve, says it's not the first time. But the extra garage space doesn't stop there. Right next to the missing bike, there's missing car. That was also recently stolen.

Even though the crimes are different, investigators say the motives are often the same.

"It's a crime of opportunity. They're on foot, and it helps them get where they wanna go without walking. It's the same reason people steal cars a lot of times." Said Sgt. Ken Eskew.

But he says bike theft tends to be more popular because of that easy opportunity. They're often secured by nothing more than a chain.

Investigators get reports of bicycle theft every day. They say, like vehicles, thieves often leave them behind once they get where they needed to go.
But, unlike vehicles, they don't have the same 95 percent return rate. Bike owners only get them back if they know the serial number.

"Some of these bikes are rather expensive. $700, $800 or more." Said Sgt. ESkew.

In some cases, more than a thousand. But it's more than the money. It also leaves people, like Steve's son, without a ride. Here is his solution: "I've been lookin' into GPS. It would be interesting if you could buy something like that to the bike. That way, if it was stolen, you could find it."

Security experts recommend getting a cable that locks with a key. They also say you should make sure that lock is as far off the ground as possible.
Secure it to a grounded object. And you can register it at the National Bike Registry by clicking here.

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