With the help of a surveillance camera Downtown that has already resulted in two arrests, police are asking for the public to help them locate as many as three more people who have stolen bikes from the Downtown area.
On Sunday morning, cameras caught a man who rode away with a specialized mountain bike. The man is described to be about five feet, 10 inches tall, average build, short black hair, tattoo on his left bicep, mustache, black shirt, khaki plants, gray shoes with blue stripes on them. He was wearing sunglasses and a black backpack.
This latest incident is one in a string of bike thefts in the Downtown area and is one of the main reasons police installed the surveillance cameras.
In 2013, there were 680 bikes stolen and 766 stolen in 2012. He said the price tag of thefts rank at nearly half a million dollars annually.
“It’s a widespread issue,” said Lt. John Cottriel, who noted that the number of thefts skyrocket during the summer.
A little more than a week ago, a man and woman were caught on video with a stolen bicycle in the area of Olive and Main streets. On the video, the man was wearing dark clothing, a red hat and carrying a backpack; he was with a woman in dark pants and a pink shirt.
Police later found the bicycle but the pair is still at large.
On June 17, officers learned of another bike stolen in the Olive and Main Street areas. Officers located the bike and the suspected thief in the 1000 block of Main Street. The man was arrested and is awaiting charges.
On June 12, police shared a photo on Facebook of a man caught on the city’s downtown video camera system cutting off a bike lock. Shortly after stealing the bike, the man, who was wearing a wig under a hat, was stopped by a patrol officer and arrested on suspicion of grand theft.
The Downtown area is the most impacted by bike thefts, Cottriel said – and especially directly under the pier. There are about 300 bike thefts in two half square miles Downtown yearly. The summer months see a big increase in thefts with more than 100 bikes stolen in the month of July in both 2012 and 2013.
But Cottriel said the thieves strike everywhere in the city, breaking into garages, businesses and schools or snatching bikes from front steps, yards, carports and vehicle roof racks.
Cottriel suggested that bike owners take pictures of their bike and record the make, model and serial number. This will give them a leg up because the serial number can be entered into a database of recovered stolen bikes.
The Police Department also has other suggestions and tips to reduce chances of theft:
Spend the money on the best possible lock you can find.
Preferably, lock the bike somewhere where you can see it. If you can’t see it, choose a spot where there are a lot of people nearby.
Lock it to an immovable object
Lock the frame and wheels to an immovable object. Remove the seat and other accessories.
Consider carving your name onto the frame
Anybody with information is urged to call the police department at 714-960-8825.
If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS (855-847- 6227). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “OCCS.”
Contact Tony at TDodero@behindthebadgeoc.com