Stolen bikes an increasing problem in Hillsborough County

New bike registry unveiled

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - "It's much easier to get on a bike or get on a skateboard, that's what most of my friends use," said Alex Rosenthal.

Rosenthal rides his bike to class, work and errands. 

"I actually don't know where my serial number is.  I wouldn't even know how to look it up if my bike got stolen," he said.

Which would make it nearly impossible to find for Hillsborough County deputy Gerald Andrews.

He spends hours combing pawn shops trying to locate stolen bikes.

"If they have a serial number, it increases drastically for getting their bicycle back, than make and brand," said Deputy Andrews.

Just in the University area, 326 bikes were stolen last year.  In Hillsborough County, almost 800 were reported stolen, an 8 percent increase from 2011. Tampa and Pinellas County are reporting similar bike theft trends.

"The people are more conscientious to the fact of not driving their vehicle, not spending their gas, fitness," said Andrews.

So deputies are encouraging bikers to register their property with the county. They give you a sticker and record your serial number. Right now the county has hundreds of bikes sitting in impound that could be stolen property, but they have no way to identify them.

"There's a vendor stock number and a model number and a Walmart item number down here on the bottom," said Rosenthal, taking a photo on his cell phone.

It takes just a minute to record on his phone and is just as easy as locking it up.

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