Bicycles are as much must-have vehicle as civic symbol in Davis.
Steal one and for the victim it’s more than an issue of figuring out a new way to get from Point A to Point B – it’s personal.
After Dixon police recovered 31 bikes stowed in a box van in a Walmart parking lot earlier this month and arrested a Davis pair suspected of possessing stolen property and drug possession, Dixon officers and UC Davis campus police have been working to return the recovered bicycles – good holiday news for owners who thought they had seen the last of their beloved bikes.
In springtime, as many as 20,000 bicyclists cruise to and from classes on the UC Davis campus alone, said UC Davis spokesman Cody Kitaura.
“It’s really a big part of what goes on around here,” Kitaura said.
Already, police in Dixon and at UC Davis have either identified or returned 10 of the bikes. Five of those have been returned to UC Davis students and residents in Davis and Winters, Dixon Police Sgt. Glenn Cooper said. Some of the recovered bikes await students who are on winter break.
Road bikes, 24-speeds by Giant or Trek, have been a popular target for thieves.
Aiding investigators and UC Davis bike owners in the latest thefts, however, was a campus requirement that all bicycles must have current California bicycle licenses. License decals are affixed to the bikes with registration numbers and other information that is stored in a database used by campus and Davis police. UC Davis’ database can trace bicycle registration information as far back as 1990, Kitaura said. If a bicycle is reported stolen, its license information is entered into a statewide registry of stolen bicycles.
Bicycle licensing is not required in Dixon, Cooper said, but he encourages bike owners to register their bicycles with their city, county or the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
“If we see a sticker, it can make it easier” for officers to locate a stolen or missing bike, Cooper said. “It makes our cases stronger.”
Cooper and Kitaura also are encouraging bicycle owners to take extra precautions to secure their bicycles by bringing them inside, if possible, purchasing U-locks and locking the bike by its frame instead of an easily detachable front tire.
Cooper said 21 bikes remain unidentified but he has been busy fielding queries since the arrests from others who reported stolen bicycles, hoping theirs was among those recovered. Cooper can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If I have to go through 10 bikes to find one, I’m happy to do it. Our goal is to get bikes back to their owners,” he said.