UNC Police Use GPS Tracking to Reduce Bike Theft

25 Sep 2017

Thanks to GPS tracking technology, the University of Northern Colorado police arrested three people in connection with a string of campus bike thefts.

Officers believe the suspects tried to steal a decoy bike on campus that police planted on a bike rack. According to reports, the bike had a GPS tracking device installed on it inside the seat.

According to arrest affidavits, police made the first arrest in April. The GPS tracker installed in the bike alerted officers around 10 a.m. that the bike was on the move. Police found the suspect riding the bike between 4th and 5th avenues in the 2000 block alley after following the GPS signals. They continued to follow the suspect and eventually located the bike parked in front of a 5th Ave home. Police found and arrested the suspect on possession of burglary tools and suspicion of theft.

After the officers spoke with him later, he told them that his bike was too small for him so he was looking for a bigger bike. He said he thought the bike would be easy to steal since it was locked to the rack with an inexpensive, thin cable lock which he could cut through easily with wire cutters.

This is how many bike thieves think, according to the UNC Police Chief who estimates that around 90 percent of the bike thefts handled by his department were locked to the rack with cheap cable locks.

He admits they are easy to cut through.

Thursday afternoon, the UNC police arrested two more suspects who rode off with the bait bike, again according to arrest affidavits. And again, the police locked the bike equipped with the GPS device up with an inexpensive cable lock.

Police arrested the man and woman around 4:45 p.m. after they watch the two of them approach the bike, cut the lock and ride the bike away to the north.

Police found the suspects north of campus, arrested them and searched through one of the suspect’s backpack finding a machete knife, glass pipe, a couple bags of prescription pills and a loaf of bread.

Police arrested both suspects on possession of burglary tools and suspicion of theft. The suspect with the backpack may be looking at additional charges for possession of prescription drugs.

Officers don’t think there were any connections between the two different theft cases. The end of the school year brings on more thefts, says the UNC Police Chief. He said since students are moving out, keeping track of their possessions can get difficult and as the semester ends, it’s easier for thieves to commit the crime without getting caught since there are fewer crowds on campus.

He also confirmed they will use bait bikes installed with GPS tracking technology at least until the school year ends.

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