By Ben French
Six bicycles were stolen on campus during October, an unusually
high number in comparison to the one to two bicycle theft average
Robert Smith, a second-year mechanical engineering student and
president of the Cal Poly Pomona Cycling Club, has been a victim of
bike theft over the years.
“Locks at this point only keep honest people honest,” said
Smith. “I’ve had three bikes stolen in my lifetime and two of them
were actually using U-bar locks. It’s not much of a worry [in
Pomona] but somebody would just plasma-lance through the lock and
your bike would be gone.”
Smith is not overwhelmed by the recent thefts but is cautious
and warns students to be sure their property is safe.
“It’s not really how much your bike is worth,” said Smith. “If
you leave your bike unlocked there’s a high chance that, if you
live in a populated area, your bike can get stolen. My biggest
suggestion would be to use a big lock.”
Smith said the larger a lock appears, the less likely someone is
to try and steal a bike due to the hassle it would create
Enrico Cortez, a university police officer, said the
perpetrators of bike thefts on campus are less likely to be
students and more likely to come from off campus.
“The highest influx of thefts in the month of October was
generally at the University Village,” said Cortez. “The location of
the University Village being on the outskirts of the campus, close
to Valley Boulevard close to Temple, with open gates easy to walk
out with a bicycle, makes it somewhat susceptible [to theft].”
Cortez, in contrast to the experience Smith has had on campus,
noted one of the incidents of theft at the Village.
“I did the investigation on one of the bike thefts and what
happened was, the bike, to me was $500 to $600. That’s a lot of
money,” said Cortez. “He damaged the lock using some type of
incendiary device. It was a combination lock, and he somehow burned
through the lock, weakened it and broke it.”
Cortez notes the lock was not high-quality, and had it been
more durable, breaking it would have taken more time.
“Even if that lock was burned or heated in a certain way it
shouldn’t have fallen apart that way, which indicates to me that
the lock was not great,” said Cortez. “It was meant for slowing
them down; obviously not enough. If you’re going to have a high-end
bike you might want to get a better lock.”
Cortez also advocates the use of the bike registration system,
which helps keep track of who has a stolen bike on campus.
“For registration, what we do is in-house information; we create
our own database,” said Cortez. “If you’re a student, staff,
faculty or even close to the university in some way we can put it
in our system that this is your bike, this is your model, this is
the type and this is the serial number.”
Cortez said the registration of bikes is necessary in their
retrieval after theft.
“In the past we’ve had a hard time tracking bikes that are
stolen, because nobody takes their serial number off their
bicycle,” said Cortez. “Without the serial number, we can’t put it
into the stolen property system with California law enforcement
electronic telecommunications system.”
For those students who don’t have a bike lock, or seem to have
simply forgotten their’s, Smith recommends taking their bike into
“Teachers are pretty lenient, except for labs where it’s too
crowded, so in big lecture halls I just bring it in,” said Smith.
“I can’t get my bike stolen; I don’t have the money to replace it.
My eyes are a better U-bar lock than money can buy.”
Photo Illustration by Pedro Corona / The Poly Post
Bike thefts increasing on campus
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