Once the stolen bikes were under possession of UPD, officers attempted to check their registration numbers to see who they belonged to.
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University police arrested Christopher Bellamy in Paso Robles on Dec. 9 in connection with the theft of three bikes from the Cal Poly campus, University Police Department (UPD) Commander Brenda Trobaugh said Monday. All three were recovered and two were returned to their owners.
University police officers, in conjunction with Paso Robles Police Department, used a type of sting operation to arrest Bellamy, Trobaugh said.
Bellamy posted the bikes on Craigslist in order to sell them, Trobaugh said. Once the police realized they fit the description of the bikes that were stolen, one officer posed as a customer and bought the bikes online, she said. Bellamy and the buyer allegedly chose a place in Paso Robles to complete the transaction. When the officer met with him and allegedly verified the bikes were the ones stolen from campus, the officer signaled police nearby, who appeared and arrested Bellamy.
Bellamy frequented the San Luis Obispo area and was also known to travel around San Luis Obispo County, Trobaugh said.
Once the bikes were under possession of UPD, officers attempted to check their registration numbers to see who they belonged to. Though the bikes were not registered, two of the bikes had special parts that the owners could easily identify.
“We were very lucky that these bikes were very unique,” Trobaugh said.
Trobaugh stressed that isn’t always the case. According to her, most bikes look generic and need a registration number in order to be identified and returned to the correct person.
“If they don’t have their bike registered, we can’t track it back to them,” she said.
Bike thefts on campus are not a new occurrence at Cal Poly, and have been frequent in past years.
According to university police data, 99 bikes were reported stolen during the 2011 calendar year, 92 during the 2012 calendar year and 122 this past year. Seeing the spike in 2013, Trobaugh reminded students of ways to protect their bikes during the school year.
Trobaugh recommends securing bikes with a high-quality lock such as a u-lock. Bikes that are locked with just a chain or cable can be easily stolen, Trobaugh said.
“Someone with wire cutters can just clip that,” she said.
Aerospace engineering freshman Logan Kregness had his bike stolen in the past and now uses a u-lock to protect his bike.
“I just left my bike beside my house one day without tying it down and the next day it was gone,” Kregness said. “That was totally my bad. I now use a Kryptonite u-lock with a cable to lock up my bike.”
Police officers who use bikes also use u-locks, Trobaugh said.