UPSHUR COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) -- Recently the Buckhannon police department has had their hands full with reports of bike thefts.
"When a community has issues with drugs, you also have issues with thefts," says Buckhannon Police Chief, Matt Gregory.
Chief Gregory says in recent months the phones have been ringing off the hook with reports of stolen bikes.
He also says the trend is related to the addiction epidemic and although only an observation, Chief Gregory says it's for good reason.
"Based on our own investigations, suspects that we've talked to, the common theme usually is "I'm doing this because I'm addicted to drugs and I've got to find a way to continue my addition," explained Chief Gregory.
What's more unnerving is the possibility that the crimes could get worse if cannabis becomes decriminalized in the state.
"A lot of our drug issues...we see marijuana usage in our community and really a lot of our issues go well beyond that to include opioids, meth and those types of drugs," said Chief Gregory.
The Chief also mentioned that In Buckhannon thieves used to only take bikes that were convenient for them to steal, such as ones left out on the front lawns, but now they're apparently becoming a lot more determined.
"We have had some incidents here recently where they're actually breaking in to out buildings so the individuals stealing the bikes are going through a lot more trouble then just looking for an opportunity to grab the bike and run, they're actually breaking in."
Another reason Chief Gregory suspects the epidemic as a probable cause.
Buckhannon police suggest making efforts to ensure that your bike and other possible targeted items are hard to steal.
Whether that be with a chain, security cameras, motion censored lights, or recording the serial numbers beforehand.
"The more steps you can take to deter, you're gonna cut down on that type of crime," said Chief Gregory.