A total of 80 bicycles have been stolen this year from residential garages, private driveways, apartments, condos and commercial building parking facilities in town, police officials revealed Thursday.
And the crimes are being perpetrated by individual thieves and organized bike theft groups with bikes ranging in cost from $60 to $6,300, the average valued at more than $900, police said.
The announcement made by the, via a press release, came a week after
Police spokesman Sgt. Kerry Harris told Los Gatos Patch that in that incident officers had arrested Juan Sanchez, the believed bike burglar and had filed a petty theft complaint against him with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
According to the release, police are actively investigating the crimes, which are classified as petty or grand thefts, or as burglaries, depending on the value of the bike, or if it was taken from inside a building.
In 2010, 74 bicycles were stolen in Los Gatos and in 2009, 59 were taken, police said.
"Bicycle theft is something that happens in seconds and is made easy for the thief when simple precautions are not taken," Harris said in the release. "We rely on people removing or eliminating the opportunity and calling us whenever they see anything suspicious."
The police department urges residents and town visitors to take the following steps to ensure the safety of their bicycles:
- Use a case-hardened steel U-bolt, or theft-proof chain lock.
- Close and lock your garage and side entrances to your garage.
- Lock your bike in a well-lighted, open and visible area, where there is a view point from nearby windows and doors.
- Lock it in a location where there are other bikes.
- Secure the bike at least through the frame and rear wheel to a bicycle rack or other immovable object.
- Engrave your driver's license number on the bike's frame and record the serial number, make and model of the bike. A surprising number of expensive bikes are recovered by police, but are not returned because the owners cannot be identified.
- Immediately report suspicious behavior around residential neighborhoods, parking facilities or bicycle racks to police. Provide police with license plate numbers, descriptions and any other information of suspicious individuals or vehicles.
- Avoid leaving even a locked bicycle in a public area, or area open to the public overnight.
- Remove quick-release components from your bicycle when parking it.
- Lock your bike, even when it is parked in a garage or storage room.
Anyone with information about bike thefts in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno, should contact the department at 408-354-8600, or call 911 to report in-progress suspicious activity.