ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – You’ve heard of police using bait cars to catch car thieves. Now, police on the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) campus have turned to GPS technology to try and stop a string of bicycle thefts.
UTA Assistant Police Chief Rick Gomez said they’ve placed several “bait bikes” on campus.
“It has a GPS system inside the bike,” he explained. “If the bike is moved from its original location then we are sent a text message and an email, and then we are able to track it through the internet.”
The have been at least eight bikes stolen from the UTA campus since classes started a few weeks ago. Chief Gomez admits that number isn’t especially high, but said action needed to be taken. “Even though that’s not alarming, it [theft] is a persistent problem,” he said.
Just like a bait car, UTA police know exactly where the bikes are and officers hope to catch thieve ‘red-handed’. “We’ll just follow where the bike goes,” Gomez said. “We’ll pick a point where we stop the person.”
According to UTA police, thieves are after high-dollar bicycles and just bikes they consider easy to grab. “There are career criminals out there where they make a living just stealing bikes and selling them for quick cash,” said Gomez.
Several UTA students said they feel the “bait bikes” will help reduce the number of campus thefts. “I think that’s really smart because it does happen a lot, so I think just even people knowing that that’s going on will make them feel safer about having a bike on campus,” one student bicycle owner said.
Naturally, the GPS units are hidden on the bicycles, so thieves don’t know if the bike they’re stealing is rigged with a tracking device or not.