Police use ‘bait bikes’ to catch thieves - FOX 13 News

Police use ‘bait bikes’ to catch thieves

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

James Liske doesn't have anything nice to say about the guys who tried stealing his bike last week.

They roughed him up, trying to swipe his only mode of transportation.

"They tried to take it from me. I ended up with a broken nose and loose upper tooth," he said.  "Anywhere I go I have to double lock it or it is gone; they stand over you like vultures."

Those vultures are a growing problem in Tampa.  Over the last couple weeks, TPD says there's been a spike in bicycle thefts in different areas of the city. 

Liske's felt it first-hand.

"I had another one and the locks were cut," he said.

So police are cracking down, setting up a bait bike.  Police set it up outside a gas station near Hillsborough and MacDill. 

Just like fishing, they set the bait then wait to see which dumb criminal would go ahead and take it.  Sure enough, in less than an hour, a guy hops on like it's his.

"The person who sees it comes and they form that criminal intent in their mind on their own; we don't do anything other than put it there," said Corporal Eric De Felice.

He's charged with petty theft, while it isn't the crime of the century, bike thefts can make life tougher on folks who rely on two wheels.

"It is tough now, but it would be a lot tougher," Shannin Freeman said.

"Stealing is stealing its wrong no matter what you steal a bike or a candy bar," he added.

"Anybody with a bike you can't leave them anywhere," Liske said.

Police urge bikers to keep their rides locked up.  Riders can also register their bikes at the police department so they can be recovered faster.

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