Bike Theft Task Force identifies 'hot spots' where stolen bikes - KPTV - FOX 12

Bike Theft Task Force identifies 'hot spots' where stolen bikes are found

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Portland's Bike Theft Task Force has been tracking down stolen bikes in and around the metro area since 2015, and they say bike thefts have dropped about 10 to 15 percent.

On Wednesday, the Bike Theft Task Force (BTTF) revealed to FOX 12 some of the hot spots they're finding bicycles, and how owners can get them back.

Inside the BTTF property room is about $20,000 worth of bikes police have found in the last few weeks. They say the reason they are still sitting in the room is because they're not registered to the owner.

"It's one of the most challenging, frustrating things as an officer cause we get a bike and, you know, it's a stolen bike and you can't find the owner, and that to me is the most frustrating part of it, is you've done all this work and you can't get it back to the person who could ride it again," said Officer David Sanders with BTTF.

Sanders says stolen bikes are often found in what he likes to call hot spots. Place like under the Morrison Bridge or the Broadway Bridge, which are easy hiding spots.

Police usually find the bikes in bad shape, sometimes unrecognizable.

Officers say they know when a bike is stolen because of its appearance. For instance, FOX 12 saw one wrapped in black electrical tape to cover the color of the bike. Others, worth thousands of dollars, were dirty.

Sanders says some bikes will sit in the property room for years before they're auctioned off to a lucky buyer.

"Our return rate to the owners is very small because the registration piece just hasn't been a priority," said Sanders.

He then went on to say, if anyone knows their bike was stolen and suspects it is in a hot spot, do not go by yourself.

"If somebody wants to drive by and see if they see their bike that's fine, but in terms of actually confronting the people, trying to get it back themselves, that gets kind of potentially dangerous so we always want to get involved in that transaction itself," said Sanders.

Officer recommend using a U-lock on the back tire, right in between the triangle bar, to avoid having your bike stolen. Police say the U-lock is more durable than a bike wire, which thieves can cut right though in an instant.

Sanders encourages all bike owners to register their bikes. He says it only takes a few minutes, and overall, it avoids a major headache later on.

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