CRIME ALERT: UWEC police nab theft suspect with bait bike

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- This weekend a suspected thief stole the wrong bike from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus.

It’s one of several bait bikes placed across campus that have a tracking device installed which alerts police when it’s moved.

Campus police said the theft was the first time their decoy bike plan went into action and it ended with a man in handcuffs.

UW-Eau Claire Police Lieutenant Jay Dobson said the bait bike program was started in October, 2011 with decoy bikes going out all over campus.

“There are quite a bit of bike thefts on campus,” Dobson said.

And early Sunday morning, campus police said they finally had a bite.

“A bicycle was reported stolen by a GPS tracking system that we had. My sergeant who was working notified the on-duty patrol officer and tracked the location of the bike,” Dobson said.

Dobson said once one of the bikes is moved, a text message is sent out every two minutes telling officers of its location.

He said officers from UWEC Police and Eau Claire Police tracked down the bike to Fifth Avenue and made an arrest.

Dobson said the suspect is a 25-year-old male with a history of theft arrests.

“We were happy to see the productivity of the program and that it actually worked,” Dobson said.

UWEC students on Water Street Monday afternoon said they are glad to hear the new technology has been put to good use.

“I think it's fantastic, it makes complete sense to me,” said graduate student Eric Williams.

“I think it's great that the police are active and trying to make that happen,” said graduate student Laura Becherer.

Dobson said with the warmer weather, campus officers are going to get the word out to students on how to properly lock up their rides.

“A good sturdy lock, a chain lock or heavy duty padlock system, none of which are fool proof but certainly assist in keeping them secure,” Dobson said.

He said the suspect could face misdemeanor theft charges and will be in court on April 19.

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  • by anonymous Location: Eau Claire on Mar 20, 2012 at 07:03 PM
    Great idea, maybe wait until they caught a few more idiots before they announced it>
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2012 at 05:09 PM in reply to anonymous
      Why not announce it now so maybe bike thieves will stay out of the UW bike racks and go elsewhere.
  • by Hmmm on Mar 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM
    So in nearly 6 months of deploying and monitoring, they caught exactly 1 known theif. Wow. And why not have the "how to lock your bike" program in the fall at the start of the school year? I'm not sure we are seeing value for dollar on either program.
    • reply
      by UWEC Grad on Mar 20, 2012 at 03:28 PM in reply to Hmmm
      They always have "how to lock you bike" programs throughout the year to educate people on ways to secure their bike. It is an ongoing program to educate people. Because the weather is warm again, they are going to use it as another time to bring the topic up again...get a clue guy.
      • reply
        by sd on Mar 21, 2012 at 09:20 AM in reply to UWEC Grad
        How to lock your bike? For COLLEGE students? WHAT??? You can be that stupid and get into college???
        • reply
          by Hmmm on Mar 21, 2012 at 10:51 AM in reply to sd
      • reply
        by Hmmm on Mar 21, 2012 at 10:55 AM in reply to UWEC Grad
        So if they have the "how to lock your bike" program throughout they year, they are just doing what they always have done. That apparently hasn't helped.
  • by 628 on Mar 20, 2012 at 01:04 AM
    Good job UWEC Police, all the way from Alaska...
  • by GI Girl Location: ec on Mar 19, 2012 at 10:18 PM
    It's nice to see the police being proactive! Maybe ECPD can make an attempt at this.
  • by Joe Location: Eau Claire on Mar 19, 2012 at 09:54 PM
    So we spend all this money to install these devices and then give the thief a slap on the wrist once again. It makes no sense at all.
  • by a on Mar 19, 2012 at 09:04 PM
    I hate bike thieves. Nice work UWEC.
  • by UWEC Grad on Mar 19, 2012 at 08:34 PM
    Very good job. It's good to hear the university police are being very pro-active and using technology to their advantage!
  • by John Location: EC on Mar 19, 2012 at 08:21 PM
    25 years old and still stealing bikes? Dude, you deserve not to have a good job for the rest of your life.
  • by My2Cents on Mar 19, 2012 at 07:02 PM
    GOOD! I hate thieves. Hopefully the courts will do their job and the guy will sit in jail for awhile.
  • by anonymous on Mar 19, 2012 at 06:55 PM
    WOOHOO! UWEC POLICE! Good job & keep up the good work!
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