Students thwart bike thefts

Bikes on campus are a little safer now, thanks to students who became good Samaritans earlier this month.

On Fri., Nov. 2, someone tried to steal a bicycle from a rack outside Science a, near Science Theatres. A student in a second-floor room in Science a noticed the man using a pair of bolt cutters to remove a lock. The student hit the window to get the individual’s attention, who then motioned that he did not have his keys and carried on. Once approached by the bike’s real owner, a University of Calgary student, the offender still insisted the bike was his, and eventually began swinging the bolt cutters to strike the student. It was then that a number of students took initiative and offered help.

"[Campus Security] got there and found several people all sitting on top of one person," said Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz, adding that Campus Security officers initially believed they were responding to a fight. "Once we uncovered the real story, we learned the person at the bottom was trying to steal a student’s bicycle."

The offender, who was not a U of C student, was then taken into custody and turned over the Calgary Police Services. He was charged with theft, assault, attempted assault with a weapon and property damage.

An eyewitness echoed Fritz’s recollection, although he was not involved in the apprehension.

"I was walking and I stopped because it looked like a rumble-there were four or five people in a pile and lots of shouting," said the witness who fears reprisal if identified. "After it was over, one of the students ran to the bushes and pulled out a pair of bolt cutters about five feet long."

Fritz noted bicycle theft is a reoccurring problem on campus, and usually includes a nearby vehicle to transport the stolen property.

"One guy seemed to be highly interested in the commotion. He then jumped into his half-tonne truck and took off at a high rate of speed," said Fritz noting that the license plate number of the truck was also given to police.

Fritz said students’ best defense against this activity is a good lock. He recommends U-shaped bolt locks with a key, making it difficult to cut and to tamper with the lock.

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