Bike thefts on the rise in Rochester

(ABC 6 News) – Bikes are a great way to get around a bigger city and are also a great hobby, but there is also less security for bikes compared to vehicles.

A lock is a necessity. Eric Philipps is a bike mechanic at Rochester Cycling, and he agrees. “Lock through the frame and the wheel, preferably the rear wheel. Typically, it’s the more expensive one.”

Sometimes the lock can get picked, and that’s exactly what happened to John Weisenbeck while he was working last Friday.

“Found the lock on the ground; it was picked, and it’s a heavy-duty lock. Never thought this would happen to me,” said Weisenbeck.

Weisenbeck lives downtown and uses his bike to get to work every day. He checks on it while at work, which was when he found it was missing.

It was found Saturday evening by a Rochester police officer. It turned out the suspect who stole it had an active warrant for his arrest. Meanwhile, Weisenbeck had a sticker put on the bike with his name on it.

“One of my buddy’s dads printed stickers for my buddy and I. My name is on it obviously for identity,” said Weisenbeck.

But, the damage was done. His front brakes are shot, and his bike seat does not adjust correctly. Until his bike is repaired, he has to walk to work.

Tiffany Schiele and her 12-year-old son also ran into problems Friday afternoon. Her son has leukemia, and they ride bikes together from the Ronald McDonald House to his son’s appointments at Mayo Clinic. According to Tiffany, her son “hasn’t had a summer in 4 years” because of his leukemia.

They forgot the locks for their bikes one time. When they left an appointment that same Friday afternoon, her son’s bike was gone.

“A 5-minute bike ride became a 30-minute walk,” said Schiele. It took a toll on her son. Even though the bike has been returned, that one walk back to the Ronald McDonald House wore on him, draining him of energy.

Luckily, through the power of social media came a generous donation. April Dahl and Jeff Young donated the bike with a new helmet and lock.

“This couple just did it. They didn’t ask, they just showed up,” said Schiele.

Tiffany’s son’s bike was found on Saturday, but spray painted all over to make it harder to identify.

Both bikes now serve as a symbol for her son.

“That bike had a story of strength and perseverance, but this new bike has a story of kindness, love, and support from the community,” said Schiele.

John and Tiffany had their bikes registered, meaning they could be identified by their serial or vin numbers and be returned quickly.

Arrests have been made for both incidents but suspect/suspects are unknown as of the writing of this article. Charges are expected to be filed in both cases.