Section: News

String of bike thefts leads to email chains and frustration

String of bike thefts leads to email chains and frustration

Shane Canfield

Mary Liz Brady’s ’18 bike was stolen from the bike rack in front of Wiggin Street Coffee sometime between late Saturday night and Sunday morning. At 2:27 p.m. on Sunday, she sent out an email to the student body asking for help locating it.

Her email was one of several sent out this past week by people whose bikes have been stolen. Despite the increased publicity of bike thefts, Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper said the number of reported thefts has been steady this year compared to previous years. So far, 13 thefts have been reported and seven bikes have been found.

Brady found her email to be effective; many people responded by suggesting that she look at the Kenyon Athletic Center or the New Apartments. She also approached Campus Safety and filed a report. She described the officer on duty that night as very helpful.

Sean Deryck ’18, student manager of K-Bikes, mentioned that he had heard reactions to the onslaught of emails about missing items — Brady’s followed emails concerning another missing bike, missing headphones, a missing pair of glasses and the painting stolen from Bemis Music Room. Brady said that it is not the emails themselves that annoy and inundate students but the “reply all” feature. She was referencing the three reply-alls to an email with the subject line “Lost headphones” from Oct. 11 and another titled “stolen bike” on Oct. 10 that garnered seven replies.

Luckily for Brady, she received an apology over email from the perpetrator, who claimed to have stolen the bike because their roommate was in trouble. The thief dropped the bike off in front of Peirce Dining Hall before 10 a.m. the day after the email was sent.

Though bike thefts have not increased, Deryck has noticed an increase in public outcry over bike thefts this semester. He said that K-Bikes, also known as the Bike Barn or Bike Co-op, is considering sending a weekly email blast to formalize a way of communicating missing bikes to the community. He often gets emails from students to alert him that they have lost their bikes.

“People are getting relaxed about locking stuff,” Deryck said, suggesting this happens more frequently as the temperature starts to drop since students are less willing to take the time to lock it. “I would advise people to lock their bikes through the frame to a fixed object to minimize risk of theft.”

Hooper agreed that bike theft likely is more frequent as it gets colder. He also suggested the problem stems from students’ failure to lock their bikes.

The increased visibility of bike thefts may be related to the increased presence of bikes on campus this year. Early in the semester, Campus Safety ran out of registration stickers, though Hooper said  the office has plenty now. He said registering bikes makes it much easier to get them back to their rightful owner.

Students can register their bikes at Campus Safety’s office by the Gambier Post Office or at the Bike Co-op.

For students who have stolen bikes and fear repercussions, Deryck offered anonymity to those who return them to the Bike Co-op.

Alex McDaniel ’20 said his bike has been stolen twice this year.  In an email to the Collegian he wrote that the first time, his bike ended up in the hands of a few of his friends when it “had been thrown at their New Apt window the previous weekend.”

When his friends discovered it was his and returned it to him, he decided to leave it outside Mather and planned to get a lock for it. The next morning, he discovered that it had been stolen once again, though it eventually turned up in front of Peirce. McDaniel chose not to contact Campus Safety in either case, although his friends filed a report with them after the bike had been tossed at their window.

He is not the only student to fall victim to multiple bike thefts. Vincent Lewis ’20 has had his bike stolen five times this semester, including one instance where the bike lock was broken off. He claims that this never frustrated him because whenever his bike has been stolen, it has always turned back up. Moreover, as long as he gets it back Lewis  expressed that others using his bike is all part of the Kenyon experience.

“There’s no bike theft at Kenyon,” he claimed, despite his experience. “It’s just extended borrowing.”

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