Bike Theft at Reed College Leads Police to Chop Shop Behind Secret Passageway

Reed College's bait bike has foiled another thief—and uncovered a small chop shop behind a false bookcase in an abandoned Brentwood-Darlington home.

Late last month, GPS signals revealed a thief had broken the lock on a bike that Reed's campus safety department had outfitted with a tracking device as part of its effort to decrease the number of bikes stolen from campus. Reed students and staff report losing about 30 to 40 bikes per year, Reed officials previously told WW.

When Reed started this campaign during the 2014-15 school year, and the GPS device first showed a bait bike leaving campus, Portland police couldn't respond immediately. This time they could. And with their help, Reed's security officers tracked the bike two miles southeast of campus to a house that had a false bookcase concealing a secret room.

In addition to the bait bike, police found two other stolen bikes through the secret passageway, Reed's student newspaper, The Quest, reports.

"Despite its initial success in locating other stolen bikes, [Community Safety Field Manager Nano] Douglass said that the PPB had not initially been supportive of the bait bike program," The Quest writes. "[T]he Portland Police Bureau 'eventually warmed' to it."

Gary Granger, director of community safety at Reed, told WW in January his hope isn't to bust thieves.

"The intent here is not to have a really successful thief-catching program," Granger said. "The intent is to convince people in the community who might want to steal bikes that this is a bad place to do it."

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