A recent outbreak of bicycle thefts across campus prompted an email from Campus Safety notifying students and urging those with bikes on campus to use caution.
Justin Revel ‘19 is one of the students who had their bike stolen in the past few weeks. Revel explained that he lives in a MILE house and uses his bike daily to get to campus.
Revel’s bike was stolen from where he kept it locked up behind the house while he was at baseball practice.
“I contacted Campus Safety and met with them to describe my bike and the situation. Then I contacted Allentown Police Department but I never heard anything back,” Revel said.
“I had a blue Schwinn mountain bike. I typically keep a standard four letter password combination lock,” Revel said of the bike that was stolen. He has since replaced it, although he is using the same style lock as before.
One of Revel’s housemates, Seth Wasserman ‘19, also uses a bike as his main mode of transportation. “It’s like my only way to get to campus anymore,” Wasserman explained.
The recent rise in thefts have made Wasserman concerned that he might have his bike stolen as well.
“From what I’ve heard, even the ones that were locked up, they cut the lock. If they want my bike, they’re going to get it, nothing I can do about it besides locking it up,” Wasserman said, adding that Revel’s bike was taken from their backyard.
While Wasserman doubts the thieves will take his bike “during broad daylight,” he does feel nervous about leaving it out at night. He mentioned an instance where he needed to go into the Life Sports Center for an errand and debated locking up his bike even though “it wasn’t worth going through the hassle for the 30 seconds” he would be inside for. Yet there was still the thought that in those 30 seconds, Wasserman’s bike might be gone.
“As far as trying to prevent a bicycle theft, always try to secure the frame of the bicycle to a fixed object using a U-type steel lock,” Campus Safety Officer James Thamarus said. He added that the cable locks that appeal to students thanks to their price are to be avoided as they can easily be cut.
Both Revel and Wasserman mentioned that they did not know about registering their bikes through Campus Safety, something that Thamarus urges all students with bikes on campus to do.
When registering bikes, either Thamarus or Officer Kevin Kennedy will take the student’s name and contact information, a description of the bike and the serial number. Bikes are then given a Muhlenberg College Bicycle Registration decal. Registering bikes is similar to applying for a parking pass, keeping accurate records of the vehicles on campus should anything happen. The registration process is both free and fast and can be done from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. seven days a week.
“If the bike is ever stolen and found, Campus Safety will be able to run the registration decal to identify the owner of the bike, so that it can be returned to the owner,” Thamarus said. “The same thing would happen if the bike were to be found by the Allentown Police Department. The Allentown Police would see the Muhlenberg College bicycle registration and be able to contact Campus Safety to identify the owner.”
While registering the bike, Thamarus mentioned that they also give the bike a tune-up, doing minor repairs and adjustments. Both Kennedy and Thamarus attended a bicycle repair technician school a few years ago and are able to offer repairs after the initial registration.
“Usually, if a student has his or her bike at Muhlenberg College and it’s in need of a repair, the bike will have to sit until the student can take it to a bike shop,” Thamarus said. “We use that training as a way to get involved with the campus community by offering free bicycle tune-ups and repairs if needed.”