The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Police Department arrested a man for stealing bikes after they received seven bike theft reports between Sept. 9 and Sept. 16.
Tobias Clark, 39, was arrested and charged with possession of tools for crime and theft on Sept. 17 at 2:54 a.m.
According to Public Information Officer Lieutenant Billy Abrams, Clark confessed to nine recent bike thefts, although he did not specify if the nine bikes included the bikes that were stolen in that seven day period.
On Sept. 9, someone stole a bike at Stephens Hall and another at Agnes Edwards. Two more bikes were stolen the next day from Legacy Park and Agnes Edwards. On Sept. 13, a bike was stolen from Burke-Hawthorne. Two days later, someone stole a bike from Dupre Library. Then, on Sept. 16, someone stole a bike from Heritage Apartments.
“Through our investigation, we were able to determine (Clark) was the suspect, so a warrant was issued for his arrest based on one of the bike thefts,” Abrams said. “Once we got him in here, through further investigation, he confessed to eight other bike thefts.”
According to Abrams, Clark was stealing the bikes and selling them on the internet.
Abrams said Clark was stealing the bikes and selling them on sites like Letgo, but this backfired when the students who had their bikes stolen saw bikes similar to the ones they lost for sale.
“I’m not sure how that came to be whether they were just looking for other bikes or if they were looking to see if they would find their bikes,” Abrams said. “Some of them saw what resembled bikes that were stolen, their bikes.”
Bike theft is a common issue at UL Lafayette. Many students, including Max Mithcell, a left-tackle for UL Lafayette’s football team, had their bikes stolen.
“Had my bike stolen not too long after Christmas last year, filed a report with the police and they got back to me and said they had no leads and that was the end of that really,” Mithcell said.
Kady Laudun, the SGA President of the College of the Arts, said she has also had her bike stolen on campus.
“I would park it in the same place every day at one of the racks. So, I moved out of the apartment at the end of finals week,” Laudun said. “I literally went back like two or three days later and my bike was gone.”
Although this is a common occurrence, Abrams said it’s bizarre how many bike thefts took place in such a short amount of time.
“You know that is a little odd, actually, it is a lot odd,” he said.
Abrams suggests students who ride bikes lock them up with U-Locks instead of cable locks.
“Again, U-Lock, U-Lock, U-Lock, U-Lock,” he said. “Some of the bikes can be quite expensive. Some of the locks that we see, sometimes, doesn’t represent the value of the bike, so, invest a little more. They really (are) not that expensive. Just invest in a U-Lock.”