A stolen bicycle isn't necessarily gone forever, said Baltimore County police Officer Larry Stallings, of the Pikesville Precinct.
Often stolen bicycles are found. When that happens, police are ready to return them to their owners—if they have put the serial number into the National Crime Information Center computer system, Stallings said.
To improve chances that a stolen bike will be returned if it is found, Stallings urged owners to take a photo of the bike, jot down the serial numbers and keep the information in the house. Stallings offered that advice during a meeting of the Pikesville Police & Community Relations Council.
If police have that information, owners and bicycles can sometimes be reunited, said Stallings, a member of the Precinct 4 Community Outreach Team.
Bicycle thefts in Pikesville and elsewhere increase when the weather gets warmer because of increased bike riding. These are some of the recent thefts, according to police reports:
- On Friday, from a vehicle's bike rack while the vehicle was parked in a Pikesville driveway.
- Also on Friday in Pikesville, a stole two bikes from a driveway on Terrapin Road. The owners didn't have descriptions of the bikes.
- On July 18, a bike was stolen from a backyard on Cliffedge Road in Pikesville.
- And one burglar reached new heights by stealing a bike from a second-story balcony July 15 or 16 at a Windsor Mill apartment building.
Jerry D'Antoni, president of the PCRC, said the serial number on a bicycle is inscribed on the bottom of the frame. To find it, turn the bicycle upside-down and look on the part near the pedals.
Stallings said he also recommends recording serial numbers of any property that has them.
"Anything serialized, [if stolen] we will put into the NCIC computer," he said, referring to the National Crime information Center, the U.S. database for tracking crime information.
To prevent theft, Stallings urged residents to keep bicycles chained or locked up at all times when they're not being used, and to not leave them laying in the yard.
Also, if you see someone walking with two or more bicycles, or other suspicious activity, you should report it to police.
Officer Luke Matthews, also of the Community Outreach Team, said Wednesday from the precinct that there are two phone numbers to call to report suspicious activity: 911 or the Baltimore County Police Deparrment non-emergency number, 410-887-2222.
"When you're in doubt, call 911," he said, when asked which is the best number to call.
Matthews urged residents to keep their bicycles and other toys and belongings locked up or in the house.
"People don't break into homes to steal bikes," he said.