URBANA — After more than nine months missing, a U. of I. student’s stolen bicycle was recovered in Port Wentworth, Georgia.
The student reported on Oct. 23, 2015, that his bicycle had been stolen from a rack in the 1000 block of West Illinois Street, Urbana. Last week, the University of Illinois Police Department received a call from police in Georgia that the bicycle had been recovered.
A boy had found the bicycle covered by leaves near a railroad track and contacted the Port Wentworth Police Department. Police did not find anyone with the bike, nor do they know how it made its way from Urbana to Georgia.
Fortunately, the bike’s rightful owner in Urbana had made note of its serial number and included that in the stolen property report. Investigators were able to match the serial number on the bike to the report from last year.
The serial number was crucial to recovering the property – without that number, Port Wentworth police would not have known that the bicycle had been reported stolen. The student who owns the bicycle has since been contacted that his property was recovered.
Property theft is the most common crime on college campuses everywhere, and bicycle theft is a significant portion of that. In 2015, 92 bicycles worth a total of $27,171 were reported stolen to the University of Illinois Police Department. It is believed that many more stolen bicycles go unreported.
Only 19 of the bicycles reported stolen in 2015 were recovered and returned to their owners. Stolen bicycles are particularly difficult to recover because investigators often are left with no evidence and no leads.
That makes identifying information about the bicycle – like serial numbers and university registration numbers – crucially important to contacting the owner if the bicycle is ever found. Police regularly find abandoned bicycles, but without identifying information, it’s impossible to contact the rightful owner.
Bicycles and laptop computers are easy to register with the university, and providing that information makes it far more likely that items will be returned to their owner if they are ever stolen and later found. For more information about how to register your property, visit http://police.illinois.edu/services/register-your-property/.