T police warn of bike thefts

September 28, 2012
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The MBTA Transit Police is urging the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity after a rash of bicycle thefts at MBTA Orange Line stations in Jamaica Plain.

“We can’t do it alone,” said Transit Police Lt. Stephen Salisbury. “We depend on the public. They are our partners.”

Transit Police have been able to reduce bike thefts in the area by 37 percent from July to August, but want to further reduce the number.

Salisbury said some people don’t take the thefts seriously because it’s only bikes, but some of them can cost thousands of dollars. He said a person observing anything suspicious should call 911 or 617-222-1212 or text 873873.

Salisbury showed the Gazette one video during a visit at the MBTA police substation at Roxbury Crossing where a thief spent six-and-a-half minutes on a crime spree at the Forest Hills Station. The thief first disabled a lock to snatch a bike. He did not like its seat, so he stole another one. The thief also decided to grab a second rear tire for the stolen bike.

“He was not the least bit worried,” said Salisbury.

He said it was the last straw for the young woman whose bike was stolen. She decided she would move back to the Midwest after it happened.

The Transit Police have the following anti-theft tips for bike commuters:

  • Lock your bike to a rack with a U-shaped metal lock. Avoid cable locks, which are easily cut by thieves.
  • Make sure the lock goes through both the frame and the wheel of the bike.
  • Do not leave bikes at T stations overnight if possible.
  • Use the special bike storage cage at the Forest Hills T Station.

A “bike” CharlieCard is required to get into the special cage, but identification is not required for the card, which could enable some thieves to gain anonymous access. Salisbury said the Transit Police are attempting to have that as a requirement.