Bikes and drugs

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At the end of the day, Daniel Savage stops at the grocery store.

“(I ride) every day, probably. To school, to work,” Savage says.

Because he has no car and no time to walk, Daniel’s bike has become a necessity. However, his transportation is being threatened. Since the beginning of the summer, more than four hundred bikes have been stolen within Provo city limits. The suspects are not who you might think.

Officer Bascom says many are “local drug users looking for an easy way to gain money.” Officer Bascom says that these people are trying to get money so they can feed their addiction.

Fortunately for citizens like Savage, the Provo Police Department is working on this issue. “We pick out the top five crimes affecting citizens of Provo, and bike theft is at the top,” Officer Kreston Bascom, in the Special Operations Division, says.

Police say it’s important to use a bike lock, but that alone isn’t enough. Many of the suspects use bolt-cutters, making it a quick and easy steal.

It is also important to remember that if a bike isn’t registered, there is no way of showing it was stolen.

Bascom said that recently a known drug user and bike thief was spotted by police on the street, walking with two high-end bikes. Officers stopped the man, who told them one bike was his brother’s and the other was his friend’s.

“We were unable to find if they were stolen or not,” Bascom said. The reason is because there were no serial numbers on the bike. It wasn’t registered. The man went free and the owners, wherever they are, were helpless, with no hard evidence that their bikes were stolen.”

Despite struggles like this one, police are still a step ahead of drug users. “We have to be able to prove the item was stolen,” Bascom said. To provide such proof, police recently began conducting undercover bike stings, placing them randomly throughout the city under surveillance.

So far, twelve suspects have been arrested, and the hope is to continue the stings to eliminate bike theft and help prevent drug abuse.

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