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Experts offer safety tips in light of recent Glen Ellyn bike thefts

Published: Monday, July 28, 2014 3:42 p.m. CDT

GLEN ELLYN – A recent rash of bicycle thefts has police on alert, with seven stolen between June 15 and July 15, but it's not unusual compared to any other year.

Glen Ellyn Police Department Deputy Chief Bill Holmer said such thefts are "especially common during this time of year," particularly because of the increase in the number of people out in the community.

The simplest measure to guard against bike theft? Lock it up.

"It sounds silly, but it's really true," Holmer said.

Holmer didn't have exact figures, but he said a majority of the time, bicycles that are reported missing were not locked up at the time they disappeared. Occasionally, a lock will be cut, but Holmer said that is far less common.

Neil Host, a manager at Glen Ellyn Cyclery, agreed locking a bike is the best theft deterrent. He said a U-shaped lock is better for safety purposes because they are tougher to cut than a cable lock.

The recent thefts have been spread out and not central to any one place, Holmer said. 

"I think it's a big problem for the community," he said.

A few years ago, police saw several thefts occurring at the pool, Holmer said. Police decided to watch the area to attempt to find out who was taking the bikes or where they were taking them. This year's thefts haven't gotten to that point yet, he said.

Another challenge is returning potential stolen property. The only real way to return property is by using the bike's serial numbers, which Holmer said most owners don't record.

"It certainly isn't an easy thing to track," he said.

The best option is to be preventative.

"Really, you've got to lock the bike," Holmer said.

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