MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Manhattan prides itself on being a bicycle-friendly community. For some, including many Kansas State University students, it’s their only means of transportation. But Riley County police say bike thieves have been very busy.
"We’ve had a dramatic increase in the past three months in regards to the theft of bicycles. They’re being stolen from bike racks, off the back porches of peoples’ residences. It’s not just affecting the college students. It’s affecting people that can’t afford an automobile and use their bikes to get to and from their place of employment. What’s coming in, meaning report-wise, are your higher-end, expensive bikes that are being reported to us as being stolen," said Darla King, Community Relations Officer for the Riley County Police Department.
"It’s also a big business as far as the thieves go. They’re making money. They’re either chopping them up or selling the bikes on Craigslist," she added.
Big Poppi Bicycle Company in Aggieville is working with police to spread the word about the right way to lock up your bike the best locks to use.
They say to steer clear of standard cable locks that can be easily cut with cable cutters.
"U-style locks (starting at $26) are going to be the most safe. They are a solid steel bar reinforced by a solid steel locking system….The way that these are the most effective is if you go through the frame. You don’t want to lock just the wheels because on a lot of nicer bikes, the wheels are easily taken on and off with a quick release. So run the lock through the rear wheel and through the frame simultaneously so then all you have to do is lock it in place," explained Big Poppi co-owner Aaron Apel.
Some of the locks even come with an insurance plan in case the lock fails.
"Part of the reason that the nicer bikes are becoming the targets is because these thieves have realized that people are not spending the amount of money that they should on a lock that can adequately protect their nicer bike," Apel told WIBW.
He encourages victims to report bike thefts to police.
"File a report if your bike is stolen. Go through those proper procedures… If you have renter’s insurance if you’re a student or if you’re still a dependent under your parents’ insurance, you can file claims for these items that are stolen and that’s one way that you can soften the blow of the bike being stolen. Other than that, it’s park your bike in a well-lit area, use a proper lock. Very small steps can make a big difference in the likelihood of your bike falling victim to being stolen," he said.
"Now that they are cutting the locks, try to bring your bike inside and make sure it’s secured that way. And also, if you someone in your neighborhood, in your area, that you feel is acting suspiciously, call us," Officer King added.