Give me the loot: bike, car thefts inflict students
In the first few weeks of school, ten bicycles have been reported as stolen, along with items taken from two cars and some missing text books.
Director of Campus Safety Rick Tupper said he usually sees a spike in bike and vehicle thefts during the first two months of the semester and at the end of the school year when students pull bikes out of winter storage.
“It’s happening all over campus,” Tupper said. “Some over at Duluth Apartments, some [bikes]are locked up and some are not.”
Tupper said the bikes reported as stolen are unlocked or have less expensive chains, making them easy targets for vandals. Most of the bikes were taken from residence halls, theme houses and near campus apartments.
One morning, senior Anna Anderson exited the Costello Apartments to grab her bike only to find its broken lock laying on the ground next to the wooden fence where her bike had been chained the night before.
“I didn’t even think [stealing locked bikes] was a thing,” Anderson said. “I had my bike here all year last year and nothing ever happened to it.”
Like Anderson, senior Ryan Johnson had secured his bike with a four-digit code lock outside the Duluth Apartments.
Johnson said that one day he couldn’t find his bike. At first, he thought he forgot where he parked it before realizing it was stolen overnight.
“It was more of a surprise because my bike wasn’t in good shape by any means,” Johnson said. “It had two broken pedals and it didn’t really look that nice.”
Tupper said that people sometimes steal bikes to ride to another location on campus. But so far, none of the 10 stolen bikes have turned up.
“We don’t have any particular people in mind that are doing it,” Tupper said. “So that’s why we’re looking for everyone to keep their eyes open and, if they see something, to call us right away.”
Campus Safety said students should buy a “U-Lock” instead of using the four-digit code locks. Students should also try to park them in bike racks. Bikes can also be registered with Campus Safety and are given a decal which makes identifying them easier.
In addition to bikes, Campus Safety is also getting reports of people in the surrounding neighborhood looking for cars to riffle through.
Tupper said two students have reported items missing from their cars on campus, but no vehicular damage has been noticed.
Tupper stressed that he doesn’t want students and faculty to be worried about recent thefts. Instead, he hopes people become conscientious about where they leave items so they don’t give someone the opportunity to steal.
“We just had a student come in, and she had a $250 book that she had misplaced,” Tupper said. “Fortunately it was in our lost and found.”
Tupper said in cases like missing books, it becomes difficult to differentiate between theft and instances of people getting distracted and accidentally leaving items behind.
“But if you see somebody that looks like they’re walking off with a backpack in one of the buildings, let us know,” he said.