Protecting your bike from bandits

FRESNO, Calif.

Action News uncovers how the thieves are taking two-wheelers and what you can do to protect yours.

In a matter of seconds the thief was pedaling away with his prize and employees at Herb Bauer Cycling couldn't catch up.

"They'll scope a bike and there's their getaway car," said Jacob Cisneros. "It doesn't take a lot, you can go pretty fast on a bike, within 5 seconds. A lot of neighborhoods around here to disappear in."

The North Fresno cycling shop says it has had at least a dozen break-ins and thefts this year alone... more than previous years combined.

Cisneros said, "Word gets around, that it's easy to do and it's quick money."

Now bars cover the glass doors, cameras watch every move, and the bikes on display are locked together.

Even though they took the time to look up their bikes to a bike rack, Yosemite High Seniors Josh Pranich and Trenton Berner still got theirs stolen while inside a drug store at Cedar and Nees.

Josh Pranich said, "We looked at the thing and the locks were still dangling and it was kind of obvious that they had cut through the cables."

Trenton Berner said, "Ok, I guess they're gone, I really didn't know what to think, that really did not just happen right there."

Devastated, the avid mountain bikers went online to try to track down their customized, bikes -- worth a combined $8 thousand... even looking on Craigslist where many stolen bikes and parts are resold.

With school back in session campuses like Fresno City College, are also easy hunting grounds for would-be thieves... where they can have their pick.

"I did a stupid thing, I locked up the front wheel, which of course you're not supposed to do," said Neil Cusick. "I came back, the bike was gone but the wheel was still there.

At Fresno State, university police say nearly 150 bikes were stolen from campus last year. Some bikes are eventually recovered, but identifying the owners is the hard part. That's why she recommends you get a bicycle license tag.

Lt. Lupe Shrum said, "We put it into the California law enforcement system teletype so should the bike get stolen the officer puts the serial number into the system and it comes up."

Lt. Shrum also says always write down the bike's serial number so that if thieves do take it, there's a way to track it down.

To prevent your bike from becoming an easy target - use a u-lock -- they cost $10 to $60 -- and are a lot harder to cut through than cable locks. Park the bike in a visible location. Always lock your bike, even if you'll just be away from it for a few seconds.

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