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Recovered Bikes Headed to Auction

ALBANY, Ore. — Bicycles are among the most common items stolen in Albany. Many of them will never be returned to their owners, so they will be auctioned online.

“It’s a crime of opportunity. A lot of times these bikes are left out in the open, parked in the driveway, left leaning against a tree, and when someone comes by and sees it, they’re most likely to take it,” said Carmen Westfall, community education specialist for the Albany Police Department.

Just last year, there have been 250 reported bike thefts in Albany. They all make it to the police department’s evidence storage where they are kept for 90 days.

“If we haven’t found the owner by then or if they haven’t made a report by then, the item either goes to auction or depending on what the item is, it gets destroyed,” Westfall said.

The department uses the online auction service Property Room. Nearly 3,000 law enforcement agencies use it. The money from the sales goes toward the city’s general fund.

Ideally, the department would like to see all of the recovered bikes returned to their owners. Unfortunately, it says that’s rare and offers this advice.

“Make sure you are documenting the serial number. Take a photograph of it as well. Both of those together, and the person actually has a better chance of getting their bicycle back. We also encourage people to use a very sturdy u-lock, something that is not easily cut,” Westfall said.

Other items sold online include clothing, jewelry and electronics. Ever since the department joined Property Room two years ago, the city has made about $11,000.

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