On Monday, Oct. 4, two bicycles belonging to Knox College students were almost lost to their owners forever. Fortunately, two other Knox students called Campus Safety reporting suspicious activity near the bike racks — and just in time.
According to Director of Campus Safety John Schlaf, Campus Safety went to the area shortly after the second student called them. Sure enough, they found two men loitering by the bike racks of Conger-Neal. When questioned, the men claimed to having been checking on the bicycle of one of the men’s sisters, who was supposedly a Knox student. After looking up the name they provided and finding that the name wasn’t in the Knox registrar, Campus Safety called the police. When the police searched the area, they found two bolt cutters and two broken bike locks.
The men were promptly placed under arrest and charged with possession of burglary tools and attempted theft. Both men looked to be in their late 20s to early 30s and were Galesburg residents by the names of Tim Charles and Michael Ziggenhorn.
Bicycle thefts have been a source of distress on campus for a number of years. Thefts have been committed by people ranging from juvenile offenders who take bikes out for “joy rides” to much more organized thefts that utilize vans that are arranged to store stolen bicycles. Campus Safety has received evidence that these more organized ordeals then sell the bicycles on the black market. Students are in no way discouraged from bringing bicycles to campus, however — bicycle owners should simply register the bike to make it easily traceable should it ever go missing.
During the past two years, Campus Safety has been pushing for students with bicycles to register them with Campus Safety. Registering a bicycle consists of filling out a short form with basic information such as the student’s name, telephone number, a description of the bicycle and the bicycle’s serial number. The bicycle is then assigned a license number and the student receives a bright yellow sticker with that number on it to be displayed on the frame of the bike. That way, bicycles that have been found are easily identifiable. One of the targeted bicycles of the attempted Oct. 4 theft was registered, but the other was not. The registered bicycle was able to be returned to its owner much faster.
Thanks to the two Knox students who informed Campus Safety of the inappropriate actions that caught their eyes, the potential bicycle thieves were caught, identified and charged. Charles and Ziggenhorn are currently awaiting their trial. Since the successful hunt-down on Oct. 4, no further bicycle theft incidents have been reported to date.