BOISE -- The Boise Police Department is reporting a noticeable increase in bike thefts in the City of Trees.
Boise Police Department spokesperson Lynn Hightower tells KTVB the problem has gotten so bad that officers are even prioritizing bike theft cases.
Hightower says the rise in thefts could be linked to bicyclists forgetting to lock up their bikes. Another possible explanation: the locks bicyclists are using just aren't tough enough.
On Tuesday, a Boise man who suffers from paraplegia reported his handcycle stolen from his yard on Monday. However, the estimated $4,000 machine was thankfully returned Tuesday evening.
Just a month before, Boisean Brian Gorman had his special needs tricycle stolen from his home. The trike was found in pieces days later, and the suspect has still not been arrested for the theft.
Also in late May, a womens' cycling team out of California in town for the 2012 Exergy Tour discovered the lock to their bike trailer had been cut. In this case, 14 state-of-the-art carbon fiber bikes had been stolen. That crime took place just a day before the 2012 Exergy Tour began, and those bikes wound up on the campus of Boise State University.
The Boise Police department says there are some pockets in the city -- including south Boise and southeast Boise -- where officers are repeatedly responding to bike thefts. Officers say in cases like this, multiple stolen bikes often end up in one place -- usually the home or apartment of a suspect.
Hightower even advises owners to get creative to protect their valuables.
"If you can, take a seat off, or take a wheel off -- anything that makes your bike unattractive or a little bit more difficult to steal may be what saves it, because sadly and for whatever reason, the city is just getting slammed with bike thefts right now," said Hightower.
Also, to minimize bike theft, Boise police advise bringing your bike inside your garage, or getting a steel "U" lock which is harder to break. Police say writing down your bike's serial number and taking a picture of it also might provide good evidence in case your ride is stolen.
Hightower also commented that because more people are choosing to bike in Boise, police want to help bicyclists avoid being victims of theft.