The Department of Public Safety apprehended a juvenile suspect attempting to steal a bicycle Sunday, after a student reported three men tampering with bike locks at a rack outside the Leavey Center.

Department of Public Safety Officers Kwaku Wood and Maurice Hunter, who were patrolling campus on their bicycles at the time, responded to the call at approximately 8:30 p.m. The three suspects fled the scene upon the officers’ arrival; however, one of them, a juvenile, was quickly apprehended.

The officers recovered two bicycles and a motorized scooter from the suspects. Additionally, a bolt cutter, screwdriver and two severed cable locks were recovered from the detained suspect’s backpack.

The suspect was transferred to the Metropolitan Police Department’s Juvenile Processing Center under charges of attempted theft. MPD’s handling of the case depends on a variety of factors, including the suspect’s psychological state and criminal history.

“This arrest is a direct result of students being proactive and calling us,” Andrew Powell, training coordinator of DPS, said. He added that the officers were able to reach the location quickly due to DPS’s newly implemented bicycle patrols.

DPS has received 62 stolen bike reports since mid-August, with several reported bicycle thefts per week recently. Before Sunday, no suspects have been apprehended this year. DPS officers said they could not provide the number of stolen bike reports last year.

Although they expressed their concern over the reported number this year, they added that an increase in reports does not necessarily indicate an increase in the actual number of bike thefts.

Joseph Smith, DPS crime prevention coordinator, said that DPS is taking a multi-faceted approach in their effort to reduce bicycle thefts on campus.

Smith said DPS has been working to increase public eduction, and encourage the campus population to take greater responsibility for safety.

DPS encourages students to make it as difficult as possible for thieves to steal their bicycles. They recommend the use of steel U-locks, which can be bought from DPS, and secure locking practices, including making sure that the frame and not just the tire are secured to a stationary object. Over the past several weeks DPS has hung posters around campus reminding students of these measures.

Rob Schaus (SFS ’11) had his bicycle stolen last month from the bike rack outside Alumni Square on N Street, after previously having his seat stolen when his bike was locked on the same rack.

Gretchen Voelcker (MSB ’11) also had her bike stolen from that location this past week, despite using a steel U-lock and a sturdy cable lock. Voelcker said she was shocked that her bike was stolen despite her use of the recommended steel U-lock, which DPS sells.

Powell said that while there is no single area where thefts most commonly occur, he encouraged students to be mindful of where they store their bikes.

“Keep in mind where you lock your bike – it should be well-lit and well-traveled, not tucked away and out of sight,” Powell added.

Although the DPS does not currently have its own bicycle registry program, students can register their bikes with the National Bike Registry.

Stolen bicycles successfully recovered are returned to their owners in 99 percent of the cases, as long they are registered, as opposed to the 2 percent return rate in cases where the bicycle is not registered.

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