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Aspen Police Use ‘Bait Bikes’ To Target Thieves

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Police in Aspen target bike thieves with "bike bait" (credit: CBS)

Police in Aspen target bike thieves with “bike bait” (credit: CBS)

ASPEN, Colo. (CBS4)- Police in Aspen are using some new tactics to catch up to bicycle thieves– bait bikes.

Bike thefts are up 30 percent in the mountain community. There have been 38 bike thefts so far this summer and police in Aspen are so fed up they’re getting serious about making sure this trend doesn’t grow.

“We were motivated to stop these crimes. There are a lot of bikes in town, a lot of them are unlocked, some of them are locked but these thieves are just taking advantage of that,” said Aspen Police Officer Rick Magnuson.

Last year nearly 100 bikes were reported stolen in Aspen. Officers believe finding new technology to catch the criminals in the act is the key to stopping those bike thefts.

Enter the “bait bike.”

“We have a little GPS. It’s very tiny so we can put it on a different bike. Any day we want and that’s our intention so no one will know which bike it is,” said Magnuson.

The GPS tracks where the bike goes and if it moves more than a block or so, the police know about it.

“There it goes. I just got an alert over here on my email. There it is on my phone,” said Magnuson. “When it’s green like that it’s moving.”

Aspen is a cycling community and there are a wide range of bikes at any bike rack at any time of day.

“If it’s worth more than $2,000 and we have plenty of bikes that are worth more than $2,000, that could be a felony,” said Magnuson.

That charge could land a thief in jail for up to a year.

Police said their goal is to get the crime statistics to go down and people be confident their bike will be where they left it.

“For this to be successful, if we can stop bike thefts, I don’t care if we catch anyone I just want to prevent the thefts so if people are out there thinking this bike could be a bait bike maybe they won’t touch it,” said Magnuson.

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