Thieves steal new bikes, leave old ones

HOUSTON Some of those latest victims live in southwest Houston and they're now part of an unusual trend. These thefts sound a bit like a modified version of Robin Hood. However, police say that's not the case and that the crooks responsible for these are just looking for a better deal.

"I decided I was going to get back into the swing of fitness," said Lynda Clemmons.

After taking time off from triathlons to have a baby, Clemmons was ready to jump back in a few weeks ago. Thieves had a different idea.

"It would appear it was a crime of opportunity," Clemmons said.

Clemmons left her garage door open as she took a phone call inside. When she came back, her bike was gone.

"It was pretty clear there was no bike there," said Clemmons.

Bellaire police say bike thefts are up and they're seeing an unusual trend.

"They just ride up, get off one bike, get on the other one and just ride off," said Lt. Michael Leal of the Bellaire Police Department.

Thieves are trading up, stealing better, more expensive bikes, and leaving older ones behind. It's not just in Bellaire. Similar thefts have been reported in southwest Houston, most recently on Jason and Braes Valley in the Meyerland area.

"These are all bikes that we have found at a location where one is stolen," said Lt. Leal.

Police don't think the thefts are the work of one particular ring, rather a number of thieves.

"I did not get a replacement bike left for me," said Clemmons.

The bike hanging on Clemmons wall is hers as police recovered it. She says the theft has reminded her to be more careful.

"If you step inside the house, you want to make sure that door is shut," said Clemmons.

Even though some crooks are just making an exchange, police say they are not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.

"They're still a thief even if they leave one," said Lt. Leal.

Since these thefts are on the rise, police suggest recording your bike's serial number somewhere and marking it with an identifier like your driver's license number. That way, if your bike is stolen and they do find it, you can get it back like Clemmons did.

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