Sophomore Ben Zack left his yellow, $900 specialized road bike outside Saturday night, locking it to a tree near his Winston House apartment. He looked out his window at about 1:30 a.m. and saw the bike was gone.
“Someone ripped the tree [that it was locked to] out of the ground. It was a 15-foot tree. It was total carnage,” Zack said. “If I see someone riding around town in a bright yellow bike, I may tackle them.”
Zack’s case is just one of the many bike thefts reported throughout the District and on the GW campus. University Police Chief Dolores Stafford said 30 bikes have been reported stolen in 2009.
“The bike thieves that we have caught in the act have been unaffiliated with GW,” Stafford said. “[Bike thefs occur] most frequently in the spring when people first start riding for the season.”
Stafford said it is important to lock bikes up properly using correct locks.
Senior Josh Pusateri said his bike was stolen freshman year outside Funger when someone clipped his bike lock. He had to purchase a new bike and is now vigilant about locking it with a strong lock.
“I would recommend for people to make sure they have a seat lock and bolt-on wheels so those don’t get stolen, and that they use a strong U-Lock that would be hard for someone to saw in half,” Pusateri said. “Even today, three years later, I still keep an eye out for my bike in case I see someone riding it around.”
Tom Driscoll said his bike was stolen from inside the public area of Ivory Tower Friday when he went to pick up deliveries from Pita Pit for his job at DC Snacks. He left it near the newsstand at about 1:30 a.m., but, when he got back upstairs, it was gone.
“I thought I was safe because I was in the building, I usually don’t have to leave my bike unattended,” Driscoll said. “Now that the bike is gone, I have to find other work.”
The Second District police station held a bike viewing Wednesday, where 16 bikes that had been obtained by MPD were displayed and residents lined up with serial numbers hoping to find their bikes. The officer attending to the event said 15 people had showed up and one bike had been returned to its owner.
Zack said he will use the Internet in an attempt to find his bike, but he doesn’t think he’ll see it again.
“Basically I’m totally screwed,” Zack said. “It’s kind of a bummer.”
Amanda Dick contributed to this report.