‘Boulder police using decoy bikes to catch thieves’


By Max R. Weller

Read the article in the Daily Camera, copied below in its entirety:

Boulder police announced on Friday that they used a decoy bicycle to catch an alleged thief in the act on Wednesday, according to jail records.

Terrance Michael Ferrell, 44, is being held at Boulder County Jail on suspicion of felony theft and misdemeanor criminal mischief and resisting arrest, according to jail records.

Officers arrested Ferrell after police say he stole a decoy bike from a rack on 29th Street. Police have been deploying decoy bicycles equipped with GPS tracking devices since last year in areas with high numbers of thefts. The bikes are locked up, and police receive a phone call if the bike is moved, according to a news release.

In 2015, police in Boulder took 754 stolen bike reports, recovered 52 bikes and were able to return 36 to their owners. Police have taken 342 reports this year and recovered 24 bikes and returned 15 to their owners.

Police recommend residents register their bicycles with the police department as it increases the odds if it is stolen and recovered. Bike registration is available at the Boulder Police Department, Pearl Street Community Police Center, Boulder Cycle Sport, Community Cycles, Excel Sports Boulder, Full Cycle and Vecchio’s Bicicletteria.

I’ve known many homeless people who are serial bicycle thieves here in Boulder, CO. Example: The late Shouting Joe from St. Louis, a regular panhandler at the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 in my north Boulder neighborhood, who would show up on a different bike at least once a month. Only once did he get into trouble with the police because of it, when he drunkenly decided to try and sell a stolen bike to someone in the business at the small commercial district in the 4900 block of N. Broadway. That person called the cops, and I watched with interest from my spot on the wall in front of the Mexican restaurant as officers interrogated Shouting Joe for about 1/2 hour. He wasn’t arrested, but the police seized the bicycle. Joe told me that he’d informed them that he had only a few days to live due to cancer; in fact, Joe lived on for several more months before succumbing to cirrhosis of the liver.

As you can see from the stats in the DC story, once your bike is stolen it’s likely gone for good, and the reason is that the transient thieves sell stolen bikes for parts, often to each other. I’d wager dollars to donuts that most of the bicycles you see in racks at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and other venues catering to the bums are stolen from the good citizens of our fair city.

Grocery cart bike rack

The bums also steal shopping carts. 


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