Keith Joyner can handle the hot sun. It's the cold-hearted crooks that are killing him. As he told us, "I had my bike stolen. I had a pretty good-sized chain, and they had some bolt cutters. I felt pretty violated. I was angry."
Down the street, Randy Ybarra misses the bike that was like one of the family. Randy said it was "One of those racing bikes with the thin tires. When I came out and it was gone, I was crushed. I like the exercise. I was crushed. It's my way of travel and gas is expensive, you know?"
It was not hard for us to find recent victims of bike theft. Talk to a few bicyclists and odds are you will find one, or two, who lost their bike to thieves. I'm one of them. I lost my nice mountain bike behind the Imperial Bar about 2 weeks ago. I couldn't find a bike rack, so I chained it up on a pole with a cable. At downtown Reno's College Cyclery, Ed Jensen said he hears that kind of story all the time. As he said, "Typically a wire-type cable can be cut through pretty easily."
Ed sells a lot of bikes to theft victims, but he loves bikes and hates hearing about anyone losing theirs. Even though he sells a great selection of anti-theft devices at College Cyclery, Ed was a theft victim himself. "I felt really stupid. I knew better."
Ed's been in the bike business for 10 years now and has never seen so many thefts, but he thinks it's because more people own bikes. Whatever the reason, 74 bike thefts have been reported to police so far this year in Reno, not including the UNR campus:
Bike thefts reported to Reno Police - 2012 (so far)
From residences: 23
From public streets: 15
From storage units: 7
Other locations: 29
Reno police try to recover bikes and often check with pawn shops, but all too often serial numbers are not recorded, so they can't prove a bike they recover is stolen. Lieutenant Mac Venzon told us, "The only way for us to generate an inquiry into a bicycle, is to have a serial number."
The lieutenant, and Ed, say thieves are smarter. In response, locks and chains are bigger. Ed says U-locks are the best you can buy. He himself uses a chain, which "works ok, but I'm not really taking my eye off the bike."
Neither will Keith. After his loss, he keeps his new one inside his apartment. As he told us, "Where there's a will, there's a way. And there's a will for these guys who are doing this."