Police in Grand Junction seized more than 80 allegedly stolen bicycles and arrested seven people earlier this month after successfully using a so-called bait bike to lure thieves. And while there is no evidence to suggest a similar ring of professional and organized high-end bicycle thieves is operating in the Moab area, Police Chief Jim Winder said officers recovered three stolen bikes on Aug. 29 and officers believe it’s the work of one man.
“They’re still working the case,” said Winder. “Over the last two weeks seven to ten bikes have been stolen and we think we have a suspect.” The chief noted many of these bicycles sell in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.
Bicyclists might want to reconsider where they chain up their bikes if they are accustomed to using one of the ubiquitous bike racks around town. “They’re taking the rack,” said Winder. “They’re not cutting the lock.”
The chief said it appears the suspect has painted the bikes and has been in the process of trying to unload them.
Winder said that while the thefts in Grand Junction were the work of a group of people acting in concert, the bike thefts in Moab tend to be crimes of opportunity committed more for purposes of temporary transportation rather than to sell to unwitting buyers. “They’re usually bikes that were left unsecured and we usually find them within a couple of weeks.”
That doesn’t mean thieves don’t target Moab. Winder said the thefts “come in rashes” when a crew comes through town with the goal of stealing bikes, but those occurrences are relatively rare.