Bike “Chop” Shop Busted in Colorado

In the News–November 26, 2013

A Lesson Learned in Colorado Sheds Light on New York’s Bike Registration System

A suspected bicycle “chop shop” near Old Town has been busted, and it’s is bringing new attention to bike thefts in Fort Collins, CO.

Police there estimate that $500,000 worth of bikes were stolen last year, reported the Coloradan.com.

Among those who lost their bikes to these scammers, Lauren Hoff’s $1,200 bike , her main source of transportation because she doesn’t own a car, was locked to a bike rack outside an Old Town beer bar earlier this summer. When Hoff came outside after eating, she found the cable-lock cut and her bike missing.

A friend of Hoff’s was able to recognize Hoff’s  bike traveling down the street after it had been sold to an unsuspecting pawn, by her pink handlebars.  The woman who bought the bike had to eat her loss.

The thieves were taking apart the bicycles and subbing parts, according to Fort Collins Police, so that they would be harder to recognize by their owners.

The vast majority of those bikes will never be returned to their rightful owners, according to the report.

And even though there is mandatory bike registration system for students, staff and faculty at Colorado State University, and nearly 200 bikes reported stolen last year, only 10 were returned to owners.

NYPD adding a registration number to a bicycle in NYC.

Fort Collins, CO.,  has a voluntary registration system. A bike-advocacy group that works with the city says only 5 percent of stolen bikes are ever returned to their owners.

In five years, CSU police have registered 23,000 bikes but estimate there are 15,000 bikes on campus at any given time. Factor in new freshmen arriving each year, and the registration numbers are low.

And by the way did you know that the New York Police Department also has a bike registration program? It might be worth the effort when it comes time to claiming your stolen bike when it’s sold on the street.

To get your bike registered, just visit your local precinct.  They’ll mark your bike with an identification number using an engraver. A decal is affixed to the bicycle, which is difficult to remove. In the event that it is removed “void” appears on what remains of the decal.

See the rest of the Colorado story at the Coloradan.com.

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