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Bicycle Thieves Often Habitual Criminals

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Sacramento --

The Sacramento Police Department's Bait Bike program is in high gear during the summer months. Three suspected thieves were caught taking bait bikes equipped with hidden GPS sensors on Thursday alone.

Since the program began two years ago, around 100 suspects have been caught. Police have found a pattern.

"The people who we are catching stealing our bait bikes are not first time or one time offenders," said Sacramento Police bike patrol officer Jeremy Radcliffe.

Many are on probation who are caught with burglary tools. Police say their other targets are often cars, homes and businesses.

The bikes are stationed all over the city and are rotated, both the type of bikes and the location. Officers strongly recommend that bike owners register their bikes so that they can be returned if recovered by police.

Part of the program provides bike onwers stickers printed with a warning to thieves, "Is this a bait bike?".

City Bicycle Works owner Jess Polakoff says bike thefts can frustrate the many commuters who frequent his store. He says the bait bike program is a success.

"This is a huge deterrent. They see the sticker on there or they're going to have to think about being tracked," said Polakoff.

There is also no way to know for sure how many other types of crimes were prevented with the arrest of the bait bike suspects.

Officers say bike owners can find more theft deterrent tips and information on registering their bikes on the police bike website rideon.sacpd.org.