Thieves target three-wheeled bikes

Eleanor Wynn enjoys her daily bike ride, but lately Eleanor's also been exercising a bit more caution, especially when it comes to securing her three-wheeler bicycle.

Word has been spreading around her Boynton Beach, Florida retirement community about what some are calling a "rash" of bicycle thefts.

"Just that they're stealing them," said Eleanor. "Don't leave them unlocked."

Sharon Philion says several neighbors have been warning others.

"Just telling people, just word of mouth," she said. "Our next-door neighbor told us."

The Leisureville community is typically a quiet place to live, but recently some think their retirement community has been targeted.

Bicycles, they say, have been snatched from peoples' porches and garages.

"They might be out to make a quick buck," said resident Michael McCartan, "I can't think of anything else, you know?"

One woman says about a week ago she came out to her back patio where she kept her three-wheel bicycle and it was gone.

She spoke with one of her neighbors on the next block, and the same thing, she says, had happened to her.

"I guess when the economy is down a lot of people are stealing stuff, so that's probably why," said resident Patrick Hughes.

Leisureville does have its own security patrol that cruises the neighborhood.

Still some are afraid they've got a less-than vigilant reputation.

"I guess they know we're trusting in here," said Philion.

Boynton Beach police say they've only received two official reports of stolen bikes at Leisureville over the past few weeks, but they suspect there may be more.

They encourage those victims to come forward.

"It helps us with our statistics to find out if we need to pay a little more attention to that area because of bicycle thefts," said officer John Huntington.

Police also advise residents to to bring their bikes inside at night, or lock them to something secure.

"People here are supposed to be trusted," said resident Al Lett. "It's the people that come from the outside."

Police also recommend bicycle owners engrave a serial number into their property and then register it with police so it can easily be traced if the bike is ever recovered.

They also recommend people take pictures of their bicycles so that law enforcement knows exactly what they're looking for if they're searching the neighborhood.

They also recommend checking local bike stores and pawn shops.

Often thieves won't travel very far, says Officer Huntington, if they're just trying to make a quick buck.