October 10, 2002

CUPD Recovers Stolen Bikes

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Following a rash of bicycle thefts at the beginning of the semester, the Cornell University Police Department (CUPD) recently recovered a number of stolen bicycles, according to Lieutenant Michael A. Blenman, CUPD’s commander of major investigations.

CUPD, in conjunction with another police agency, recovered about seven bicycles, most of which were missing their wheels, from an undisclosed location, according to Blenman.

“The investigation is ongoing,” he said. “We don’t have anyone under arrest.”

CUPD has returned the recovered bicycles that had been reported stolen to their owners.

The CUPD has not identified a motive behind the bicycle thefts, according to Blenman.

“We can only speculate as to why people steal property,” he added.

Quick resale represents one possible motive, according to Blenman.

“When [the perpetrator] is caught, maybe they’ll disclose their reasons,” he said.

In the first three weeks of the semester, twelve bicycles were reported stolen to CUPD.

Although the number of thefts has decreased in the past weeks, it remains a “steady problem,” Blenman said.

Theft locations have included residence and academic areas, such as Uris, Cascadilla and Mary Donlon Halls and Risley Residential College. No clear patterns have emerged in terms of the time or place of the thefts.

In conjunction with its investigation, CUPD sent a crime alert via e-mail to the Cornell community on Oct. 3, warning students, faculty and staff about the increase in bicycle thefts.

CUPD is mandated to notify the public about patterns of similar crimes through crime alerts, according to Blenman.

“Although bicycle thefts are not major crimes, they relate to crimes against people,” he said.

In the e-mail, CUPD advised bicycle owners to use U-bolt locks instead of chain and cable locks. It also warned bicycle owners against locking their bikes to trees, posts or hand rails.

Bicycle theft is an opportunistic crime, according to Blenman.

“The key is not to make it easy by securing your bike in an appropriate manner,” he said.

Despite following all of the advice outlined in CUPD’s crime alert, parts of Jonathan Murphy’s ’05 bicycle were stolen last spring. After locking his CUPD-registered bicycle to a rack with a U-lock, thieves stole its front wheel and crank, leaving only the frame. Despite his efforts and an immediate phone call to CUPD, the thieves were never caught.

“I can only put so many locks on my bike,” Murphy said. “[CUPD] will have to start patrolling bike racks soon.”

Archived article by Stephanie Hankin