On Monday, February 22nd, Coronado police officers nabbed two people who allegedly attempted to steal the department’s bicycle, according to officer Lea Corbin.
"It's a bicycle with a tracking device in it," said Corbin. "When it's moved, it sends an alert to our communications center and we can track it on a map,” she said. “The bicycle is locked. The thieves have to cut the lock and remove the bicycle."
Corbin said the bike was parked on First Street near the ferry landing at around 7:30 in the morning when its GPS tracker in the communications center showed it was moving southbound on Orange Avenue. The police dispatcher directed officers in a patrol car, and they spotted the bike in a truck with more than one bike in the back.
According to the Coronado police, Frank Jeffers of Pacific Beach and Victoria Jones of Santee were arrested on the 500 block of Orange Avenue and charged with unlawful taking of a vehicle, possession of stolen property, and grand theft.
Police think the second bike in the back of the truck was also stolen and have released a photo of it to the public.
"Most of the bicycles we've found have been traveling out of the city," Corbin said, and the stops usually lead to discovering other crimes, such as "other bikes, other stolen property, drugs."
"It's been hugely successful for us," Corbin said. "We started to see a huge increase of theft of bicycles about three years ago," she said, noting that bikes have gone up in value in recent years and other coastal cities have also been forced to address the problem.
Though the "remotely monitored bicycle" is basically a bait bike, “We prefer not to use that term," said Corbin, who added that the program has led to more than 35 arrests in the past few years. "There have been a couple of thieves who have been arrested twice for the same issue. Same bike."
Despite the success, the cops say they need the public to do their part. "We need the community's help and support to lock their bikes with U-locks," Corbin said. "They're more difficult to cut."