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The Arbiter

Stolen Wheels Can be Big Money

By Edina Macic

September 27, 2010

Eight bicycles were reported stolen between Aug. 23 and Sep. 12 on Boise State's campus.

Where the bikes go is anyone's guess, but many turn into cash through pawn shops and Craigslist.

Some students are pawning bikes that have been stolen from the campus, according to Allen Graefe, store manager of Vista Pawn on Vista Avenue. To make sure the store isn't buying and selling stolen bicycles, each bike brought in goes through a program called Leads Online.

Leads Online is a website to track stolen property that is used primarily by private businesses and police departments.

Vista Pawn works closely with the Boise Police Department - who also use this program - to locate stolen bikes.

"If it is stolen they (Boise Police Department) will get the hit and we will know its been stolen," Graefe said.

All bikes need a serial number on them in order to be pawned. If the bike is registered, running it through the system will automatically locate the owner.

"Theft in this economy is increasing and all we can do is put it through a process to make sure we are doing our job," Gaefe said. "We work really hard with detectives to prevent stolen items and we get detectives in at least twice a week because of bikes."

BMX and road bikes are the more popular types at Vista Pawn. The price range varies according to the model of a bike and the condition.

Gaefe said he has seen bike parts taken from one bike and put on another so it doesn't have the same look.

"Make your bike unique and if you know your information and get your bike stolen you will probably get it back," he said.

The classifieds website, Craigslist can be a hotbed for stolen bikes too. Craigslist bicycles bring up a variety of used bikes with different ranges in prices and locations. It can be used to find inexpensive bikes and display posts for lost or stolen bicycles.

Craiglist had 29 bicycles posted by Saturday afternoon, including 14 mountain bikes with an average price of $217. The 11 road bikes averaged $482 and four BMX bikes averaged $36.

Craigslist Bike Numbers:

By Saturday afternoon, here's what Craigslist had to offer:
14 Mountain bikes (Avg: $217)
11 Road bikes (Avg: $482)
4 BMX bikes (Avg: $36)

From August - September:
100 Posts for mountain bikes, with 46 located in Boise
100 Posts for road bikes, with 53 located in Boise
96 Posts for BMX bikes, with 18 located in Boise (most were in Meridian or Nampa)

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