Almost 70 Bicycles Stolen from Campus in 2021


Jonathan Wang

A student biker biking across campus at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Dec. 5, 2021. (Photo by Jonathan Wang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Porshai Nielsen, Investigative Editor


In 2021, there were 69 bicycles reported as stolen from the University of Utah’s main campus located in Salt Lake City.

Of the 69 that were stolen, 40 of the locks were cut, some during daylight hours. The locks that were cut were cable locks, which are easily cut through with bolt cutters.

“The vast majority of folks are using cable locks,” Lieutenant Ryan Speers of the U Police Department said. “I can’t even remember a time when we’ve had a U-Lock bike get stolen.”

The U-Lock mentioned by Speers is a lock system for bicycles that are made of steel, in the shape of a “U.” One of the highest rated U-Locks is the Kryptonite brand “Fahgettaboutdit,” which has a double deadbolt and shackle design. This makes it almost impossible to remove without a key.

Having a U-Lock will not be enough to prevent theft if it is not used properly. A few of the stolen bicycle cases reported the locked tire left behind. This suggests the owner of the bicycle locked the tire to the rack, but not the frame, allowing most of the bicycle to be stolen by simply taking off the tire.

Logan Nickisch, a second-year civil engineering student had his Nashbar bicycle stolen, valued at $650.

“When my bicycle was stolen, I had locked it up outside of the James Fletcher Building,” Nickisch said. “I went into class at about 11 a.m. and was out by 12 p.m. [MST], but it was gone. Someone had cut my lock in broad daylight.”

40 of the bicycles stolen were taken between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Speers strongly encourages people to call if they see someone cutting a bicycle lock.

“If they see anything, even somebody that’s casing a bike rack, looking suspicious, just call,” Speers said. “I would much rather send our officers to a false alarm.”

Some of the most common places that bicycles were stolen from in 2021 include Chapel Glen, Kahlert Village, West/East Village and Gateway Heights. The thefts taking place at these student housing locations account for about 50% of the stolen bicycles.

A few of the stolen bicycles were taken from the locked storage rooms in student housing. UUPD recommends still using a U-Lock for your bicycle even though it is in a room that requires U-Card access due to potential piggy backing. In case of this happening, UUPD is usually able to find the culprit through video surveillance and scanner histories.

Bicycles that are stolen are often sold online or in pawn shops for the thieves to turn a profit. While students are welcome to check in local pawn shops, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, UUPD detectives are also checking their pawn database to help retrieve stolen property.

“One success that we have had is [through] a couple of Facebook groups that are dedicated to bicycle thefts in the valley — they’ve been able to find the bikes on those Facebook sites,” Lieutenant Heather Sturzenegger of UUPD said.

It is recommended by UUPD to register a bicycle with the Salt Lake City Police Department upon purchase, along with keeping a copy of the serial number and taking photos. This can be a big help for retrieving stolen property.

Nickisch admitted that registering his bike could have aided in the recovery process.

“I wish I would’ve registered it,” Nickisch said. “Looking back, maybe my bike would have been found.”

The U has a registration event every year, to help students and staff get them into the system. At various tabling events throughout the year, UUPD also gives out free U-Locks to students.


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