On August 2013, Edward Fink, Ph.D., rode to work on his new Electra Amsterdam Dutch city bike and parked it on a rack.
Since he lives close to campus, he commutes every day on his bike. He spends less time searching for a parking spot, he saves money on gas and he gets a small amount of exercise.
“For me it’s more convenient than driving a car,” Fink, director of the faculty development center, said.
When Fink went to leave for the day he was shocked to find that it wasn’t there. His bike had been stolen.
Fink went straight to the University Police and filed a report with an officer. Months passed without any leads on the missing bike.
Occasionally, Fink and his wife would check Craigslist, but found nothing for months. However, last week Fink’s wife saw her husband’s bike on the website.
He recognized it by a red tail light he had attached to the seat post.
“If you are religious you would say it was a God thing. It was posted and the good Lord said ‘I’m just going to accidentally have her go there.’ If you’re not religious it was a wonderful coincidence. Whatever, either way it worked for us,” Fink said.
He contacted University Police and Fink’s bike was returned to him that same day.
Detective Paul McClain made contact with the seller and arranged a meeting at a Corona business, verified the serial number and recovered the bike.
McClain said when a bike is recovered from Craigslist, it has usually had a few different owners since it was originally stolen.
“Basically it was determined through the investigation that they were not the ones who stole the bike. So technically if you look at it from the bigger picture they are a secondary victim because they bought a bike that was stolen and they were just reselling it,” McClain said.
The investigation is still open, searching for the person who had originally stolen the bike.
University Police were able to get Fink’s bike back because he registered his bicycle with them weeks before it was stolen.
Since August 2011, campus police have provided students and faculty the service of registering their bikes incase of it being stolen.
McClain originally started the free registration service and has had 229 bikes registered.
Individuals registering their bike fill out a form and are photographed with the bike.
The serial number is entered into the campus police system and also gets sent to a statewide database.
“What’s cool about that is, if any other law enforcement comes across this bike and runs the serial number it’s going to populate and return as being stolen, but without that in the past it’s very difficult,” McClain said.
In 2012, 125 bikes were reported stolen and so far in 2013, 61 have been reported.
Most of these bike thefts are from wires being cut with improper lockings, poor locks or stolen with no locks at all.
Richard Gonzales’ bike was stolen due to poor lock placement. The anthropology major said he only put the lock around his front wheel, which was removed and the rest of his bike was stolen.
Students can also register their bikes at the Campus Police Resource Center on the first floor of the Syca- more Residence Hall.
“I am absolutely a proponent of registering your bikes,” Fink said. He encourages anyone who rides a bike on campus to get it registered by University Police, even if the person rides sporadically.
Although it does not guarantee that a bike will be recovered if stolen, it allows the University Police to take action in order to recover the bike.