Community Notice issued after increased bicycle thefts at WVU

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 11:05 AM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - The West Virginia University Police Department has issued a Community Notice after a recent increase in bicycle thefts.

Over the past month, authorities say they have received nine reports of stolen bicycles, four of which occurred this past weekend on the Evansdale area of campus outside of Oakland Hall and Braxton Tower.

The prior five reported thefts happened outside of College Park and University Park, officials say.

Most victims indicated the thefts occurred sometime overnight, after securing the bicycle to one of the bike racks located outside of the residential areas, authorities say.

UPD is currently investigating the incidents by reviewing surveillance video and utilizing innovative investigative techniques to identify and arrest the suspect(s) involved.

One of the reported stolen bikes was quickly tracked and recovered via the victims’ Apple AirTag, leading to one suspect being arrested, officers say.

UPD strongly suggests concealing an AirTag or similar device on your bike, when possible, to increase the likelihood of recovery.

WVU says the following are some tips to protect your bike and increase your chances of recovery, if it is stolen:

  • Instead of securing your bike with a cable lock, use a high-quality U-Lock to secure your bike to one of the designated bike racks. U-Locks are harder to cut than traditional cable locks.
  • Avoid securing your bike to sign poles or other objects as they are not as secure as bike racks.
  • Lock your wheel and frame together to the bike rack.
  • Conceal an Apple AirTag or similar GPS tracking device on your bike. There are multiple custom holders available online for this purpose.
  • When possible, do not park your bike outside for extended periods of time.
  • Take a clear photo of your bike and document the serial number.
  • Report any suspicious activity or individuals carrying or concealing bolt cutters or other cutting tools to WVUPD.
  • If your bike is stolen, report the incident immediately to UPD at 304-293-COPS (2677).
  • Download the LiveSafe app for direct, two-way communication with UPD.

A Community Notice is part of the WVU’s three-tiered emergency notification system used to enhance student and employee safety and provide useful information to the community.