Alleged thieves busted after snatching bait bike

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SALT LAKE CITY -- After police noticed a trend of bike thefts in Salt Lake City, they orchestrated a sting operation to catch those responsible.

The operation led to the arrests of three men Thursday, and police said the suspects are responsible for a string of bike thefts in Salt Lake City.

Det. Dennis McGowan of the Salt Lake City Police Department said they lured the alleged thieves into acting.

“In this case we hit the shelter area, and our community intelligence detectives in conjunction with our bike squad went down there and set up a bait bike,” McGowan said.

Police left a bike in the area of 300 South and Rio Grand, and by 10 a.m. Thursday they had 56-year-old Larry jones, 49-year-old Odell Butterfield, and 43-year-old Andrew Hummel in custody. All of the suspects are facing theft charges.

“They left the bike out there where some of these thefts have been occurring, and sure enough, I believe there were three arrests made,” McGowan said.

All of the stolen bikes were recovered, which, according to Mark Kennedy,  owner of Saturday Cycles Bike Shop, usually isn't the case.  Even professionals like Kennedy have had a bike stolen.

“I learned, you leave it out and no matter where it’s at it can disappear really fast,” he said.

Kennedy said most thefts can be prevented by locking up the bike properly.

“There’s sort of a sequence of how to do that right,” he said. “You need to make sure the frame is secured. You need to make sure the wheels are secure to the frame, those are the expensive pieces that disappear easily.”

And as far as locks go, Kennedy said a cable lock is, in general, the least secure.

“There’s some new locks, the U locks have been around for a long time and are very popular and very secure,” he said.

Salt Lake City police also want to emphasize the importance of reporting crimes, that way if there is a trend they can identify patterns, and, like in this case, try to find those responsible.

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