Police tackle campus bike theft spree

The+two+people+in+this+photo+are+being+sought+by+the+Sacramento+Police+Department+for+questioning+related+to+the+bike+theft+spree+on+campus.+%28Photo+from+the+Sacramento+State+Police+Department%29

The two people in this photo are being sought by the Sacramento Police Department for questioning related to the bike theft spree on campus. (Photo from the Sacramento State Police Department)

Sami Soto

The Sacramento State Police Department released images of two individuals being sought for questioning in connection with the recent bike theft spree, just days after the school began to close bike compound one at nights and on weekends.

The police put two images of the pair on its Facebook page on Nov. 2. Both are riding bikes and are wearing long coats — one red and one dark — and long pants. At least one has dark hair.

“I guess you could say they’re suspects,” said Sacramento State Chief of Police Mark Iwasa. “The pictures are not clear enough to make a positive I.D. We want to see their level of involvement.”

Iwasa said that the amount of bike thefts reported on campus has risen in recent weeks.

“In the last month or so it has been a higher risk,” Iwasa said. “The way things work is there’s a couple of individuals or groups of individuals who hit it relentlessly. It’s usually one or two people or groups who get as many (bikes) as they can.”

Sacramento State Police Department began locking bike compound one — located adjacent to the Guy West Bridge — on weekdays from midnight until 6 a.m. and all weekend for the rest of the semester.

There are three bike compounds designated for general use on campus. The other two compounds are located at Moraga Way and Sinclair Rd. and between Benicia Hall and the AIRC.

“After looking at our crime analysis, bike compound number one has had a significant number of thefts in the last year,” Iwasa said. “It turned out to be a pretty good target for one thief, if not a couple, who saw good bikes in that corral.”

Iwasa said that compound one may have had a rise in thefts because there is little student activity there at night.

The pilot project will last until the end of the semester when the Police Department will reassess the situation. The hours the bike compounds are currently staffed will not change.

“It was a public safety decision,” said Tony Lucas, the senior director of University Transportation and Parking Services (UTAPS). “They will be locking (compound one) fairly late in the evening and I think very likely well after most students leave the campus anyway.”

Regular bike users said that they were unaware of the changes.

“I had no idea this was happening. It concerns me because I’m here studying late,” said Carlos Pereyra, a physics and mechanical engineering student. “I bike everyday and I work as an R.A. so the only time I have to do homework is late at night.”

Students who need to retrieve their bike after midnight or during the weekend can contact the Sacramento State Police Department for assistance.

“From the perspective of the parking director, we’re all for bikes,” said Lucas. “We want to make biking a really good alternative for students.”