Expert calls Portland bike theft a '$4 million a year problem' - KPTV - FOX 12

Expert calls Portland bike theft a '$4 million a year problem'

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Wesley Farron, jail booking photo (KPTV) Wesley Farron, jail booking photo (KPTV)

Thousands of dollars in stolen bicycles and parts have been recovered after a man who failed to register as a sex offender was busted for heroin, meth and identity theft at a homeless camp.

That alone is a mouthful.

But a bike theft expert says it’s just one example of a multi-million dollar problem in Portland.

“It’s garages and it’s basements and it’s apartments and it’s basically unoccupied areas where a lot of bikes tend to be stored,” said Bryan Hance of Bike Index. “They get in one place and it’s a buffet, one guy with a $40 pair of tools can get in to one building and just go nuts.”

Hance estimates that bike theft in the Rose City adds up to $4 million dollars in losses every year, but many of the cases go unreported, and sadly, many of the stolen bikes that are recovered aren’t registered so they’re never reunited with their rightful owners.

“Our numbers this week are through the roof,” Hance said Friday, adding that the warm summer months are when bike theft hits its peak each year.

He said more than 125 bicycles are registered with Bike Index every day, and of those, 30-45 are stolen.

He’s not at all surprised to hear about the parts recovered after Wesley Farron’s arrest at a southeast homeless camp Tuesday.

“You just described every homeless camp in Portland, it’s not really unique to this guy,” he said. “Anybody who rides the Springwater, anybody who rides Hawthorne, anybody who rides the Esplanade, you see this every single day and everyone knows exactly what’s going on.”

Back in March, Fox 12 went along with the two Portland Police officers on the Bike Theft Task Force as they checked out a different homeless camp under a southeast overpass.

At the time, they said it was a known chop shop where stolen bikes were regularly recovered.

That camp has since been shut down.

Hance said someone contacted Bike Index Friday, reporting a man riding a bicycle on SE Belmont he thought may have been stolen.  Hance did a little digging, but didn’t find anything. Ten minutes later, a man posted his bike on the site as stolen, and Hance was able to connect him with the original tipster in hopes that he could recover his bike on his own.

“It’s depressing, it’s super depressing,” Hance said of the stolen bikes and parts recovered in Farron’s arrest. “And I wonder how many of those they’ll actually be able to find an owner for.”

To register your bike for free, visit

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