PORTLAND, Ore. -- The next time you see a bike parked in Portland, there’s a chance that it might be part of a police sting.
Members of the Portland Police Bike Theft Task Force say they’ve seen success using what are called “bait bikes.”
First reported by bikeportland.org, the bikes are equipped with tracking devices and then parked in public. If the bike is stolen, officers are able to track the bike using GPS.
On Tuesday, police arrested a 51-year-old man in Old Town after he allegedly stole a bait bike. The suspect, 51-year-old Jesse J Starns, now faces charges of theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle, which is a felony.
Thieves, like this guy who was arrested in Old Town, can now face felony charges for stealing a bike, too. pic.twitter.com/GtScalELsS— Taylor Viydo (@TaylorViydoKGW) July 27, 2017
The felony charge against Starns is another tool used by the task force in an effort to deter bike theft.
Normally, a bike theft would only be classified as a felony if the bike was valued at $1,000 or more. However, police say that the Bike Theft Task Force worked with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office to determine that a felony charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle would be appropriate in the event of a bike theft.
Under the law, a bike could be classified as a vehicle. Task Force members hope that the potential felony charge will send a message to would-be thieves.
Police encourage bicyclists to write down their bike’s serial numbers and register their bikes with one of the department’s registration partners. Click here to register your bike.