Bike theft on the rise in popular mountain biking town

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DURANGO, Colo. — It’s all about the bikes in Durango.

“Just being a cycling community, we have lots of world champions, Olympians, and so they are high-end bikes and they cost several thousands of dollars apiece,” said Sgt. Chris Thomson, a detective with Durango police.

Lately, more of those bikes have been going missing.

“Bike theft, it has always been an issue in Durango, but then we noticed an uptick towards the end of July, beginning of August,” he said.

The police department estimates $50,000 to $55,000 worth of bikes has been stolen since then.

“If someone steals a car, that one vehicle is going worth several thousand dollars, in Durango, it’s the same for the bicycles,” he said. “In one incidence the bicycle alone was $11,000 – just that one bicycle.”

Police say thieves are taking them from the backs of cars, at public bike racks, and even from garages that were left open overnight.

Some of those stolen bikes end up drenched in spray paint, losing their value.

“They alter the identity of the bike so the owner of the bike doesn’t recognize it, I mean they could see the bike rolling down the street drive right past it, and not recognize it.”

And if no one’s riding it, it’s being sold.

“Look at Facebook Marketplace, garage sale groups, Craigslist, because oftentimes people will steal a bike in one place and they may sell in in another – so, for instance, they may steal the bike in Durango and then advertise it for sale in Albuquerque.”

Thompson said along with using a high-quality lock, like a metal U-lock, there are preventive steps you can take.

“Don’t leave your bike in a bike rack overnight, bring it inside your garage or inside of your house, if you do have to leave it outside make sure you leave it in a well-lit area and a well-traveled area so lots of foot traffic is actually going to deter people from actually stealing stuff.”

You can also register it with the Durango Police Department. Thompson said also the Durango Stolen Bike Recover Posse Facebook page is another good resource if your bike has been stolen.