Police ramp up efforts to catch bike thieves

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Police Department's efforts to catch bike thieves are proving to be successful, officers said Wednesday night at a Pacific Beach Town Council meeting.

“We have successfully arrested now, since 2014 when we started this, 109 people. One hundred seven of those have been convicted. All 109 arrests in under four minutes,” Officer Daniel Neifer said.

Using GPS trackers hidden on bikes, the department's Bait Bike Program is catching thieves, getting them off the streets and hopefully deterring them.

“I’ve had my bike stolen from bars, in front, during business hours. I’ve had my bike stolen from my patio,” said Mike Zarraonandia, a Pacific Beach resident.

After police launched the program in 2014, it was expanded a year later to the mid-city, central and western divisions. Funding for the program ran out at the end of 2016 but in June, the program received $3,000 from Councilwoman Lorie Zapf. Now, within three weeks, they’ve arrested five people, three with convictions and some with larger crimes.

“The guy we arrested was also on probation for stealing vehicles and in the back of the truck, he also had property from four residential burglaries he had done that day,” Neifer said.

Police say there is no type of lock they haven’t seen a thief get through. They recommend making it inconvenient by wrapping the tires and bike frame. They also say it is best to store your bike in your home or garage.