Rise in bike thefts on campus troubles students
View Larger Map This is the general area students reported bicycle thefts on Waterman Blvd.
When junior Zach Hembree left his apartment on Waterman Blvd. to bike to campus about two weeks ago, he found that his bike—or at least most of it—had disappeared.
“I had locked it out in front of Waterman the night before and when I woke up in the morning to use it, it just wasn’t there,” Hembree said. “The front tire was just sitting, not next to the bike rack that I parked at, but 20 or 30 feet away.”
While a recent number of bike thefts both on and off campus have caused some worry for a number of students, campus and local police say the incidents are dying down.
Hembree said that most of the thefts he is aware of happened a couple of weeks ago, but added that he and many of his friends are still wary about leaving out anything that can be stolen. He suspects the thieves are selling the bikes as scrap metal.
“Someone got their tires jacked across the street. Basically if you leave anything out in this area that isn’t completely secure, it isn’t really safe,” Hembree said. “I think it’s the Skinker-Debaliviere area in general, a lot of theft is going on.”
University City Police Captain Michael Ransom acknowledged that there had been a noticeable increase in crime toward the start of the year, but said it was neither dramatic nor long lasting.
“We haven’t had any recent thefts of bikes, but there weren’t a whole lot of them anyway. But there were some,” Ransom said.
He said that the increase in theft was likely due to students coming back to campus en masse for the beginning of the school year.
“You guys just moved back so there are a lot more people biking,” Ransom said. “Every year when students come back we see some of that [increase in theft].”
For off-campus bike theft involving Washington University students, Ransom said that, although they do collaborate with the University’s police department, the University City Police lead the investigation.
Both on- and off-campus strings of bike robberies were responded to with arrests. Captain Ransom said that earlier in the month, University City police caught some juveniles stealing bikes and, according to WUPD’s daily log, the University has made at least two arrests related to bike thefts in the past few weeks.
According to the daily police media log, WUPD arrested a suspect under investigation for bike theft who was found in possession of several vehicle license tabs last Tuesday.
Ten days earlier, someone reported a locked mountain bike had been stolen from outside of Village East, and the larceny was cleared by arrest.
WUPD Sgt. Mark Glenn said that bike theft is either a misdemeanor or felony crime, depending on the value of the bike or bikes stolen.
“It seems that it has slowed down since we have made that arrest,” Glenn said.
If you live off campus and have had your bike or other possessions stolen from your apartment, tell us your story.