Rise in bicycle thefts prompts crackdown by Honolulu police

Published: Oct. 6, 2011 at 8:13 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 6, 2011 at 10:02 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police seized dozens of bicycles near Aala Park on Thursday morning. Authorities hauled away roughly 30 bikes that weren't registered or may have been stolen. A spokesperson for the Honolulu Police Department said officers conducted the crackdown and two others in the Ala Moana and Keeaumoku areas after a recent spike in bicycle thefts in Urban Honolulu.

"They automatically assume that these are stolen. Some of those aren't stolen, but they didn't register them. So then you can't even have that either," said a homeless man named Shawn, who didn't want to reveal his last name.

State law allows authorities to automatically seize any bike or moped that doesn't have the required decal.

"About two or three weeks ago, they came in early in the morning and did the same thing. Took like 30, 20 -- my friend said about 20 bikes -- and that wasn't even a month ago and they just did it again," said Shawn.

Bicycles must be registered in Hawaii if their wheels are 20 inches or larger. There is a one-time fee of $15. It costs $5 to transfer ownership of a bike. Stores are required to sell bicycle registration.

"If you buy it at the swap meet or a garage sale, a lot of people don't take the time to re-register it," said Jay Kim, owner of Eki Cyclery.

There were 313,214 registered bicycles on Oahu last year, according to the city.

"Surprisingly, a lot of bikes are recovered because of that. A lot of people feel, 'Oh, my bike is stolen. It's gone.' But you'd be surprised. A lot of people get bikes recovered because their serial numbers are recorded," said Kim.

The city collected $503,898 in registration fees for both bicycles and mopeds during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2011.

"The funds go into the city, and it helps the bike education and the bikeways and all that stuff," explained Kim.

Under state law, owners have 10 days to pay the registration fee and a $1 penalty for a confiscated bicycle. After that, the bike can be sold at a public auction.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.