A bike thief was taken off the streets Monday. UWPD Sgt. Aaron Chapin said it is good to lock bicycles by the frame and front wheel, but that U-locks are better.[/media-credit]

An alleged bike thief was taken off Madison streets Wednesday when the University of Wisconsin Police Department arrested a man for charges regarding a series bicycle thefts on campus.

According to a UWPD statement, Ryan Loughrin allegedly sold stolen bicycles on Craigslist. He admitted to these thefts and said he targeted bikes on campus locked with cable locks, the statement said.

Loughrin was admitted to the Dane County Jail under charges of theft, the statement said. Loughrin’s investigation is still underway and additional charges may follow, the statement added.

UWPD Sgt. Aaron Chapin said UWPD knows that thieves routinely and frequently use Craigslist for things they have stolen.

“It is easy to be anonymous and target people,” Chapin said. “It is easy for thieves to find people to sell their stuff to.”

According to Chapin, there is no safety net in place for people on Craigslist. He said because it is a free forum, people can post whatever they want. It is easy for people to steal property and get somebody to buy it on Craigslist, he added.

Chapin said because thieves commonly use Craigslist for items they have stolen, those who plan to use the website for purchase should take adequate safety measures.

“Thieves frequently use Craigslist and other internet sites to sell their stolen items,” the statement said. “If you choose to purchase an item from Craigslist, make sure to obtain the serial number from the seller along with a contract from the seller to help protect you from fraud.”

Theft in general, Chapin said, is the number one crime UWPD sees on campus. He said thieves target campus because they know students have things worth a lot of money, citing bicycles and technology gadgets as examples.

Of the 300 to 400 cases of theft reported to UWPD every year, Chapin said on average 50 to 100 of the cases deal with bicycle theft.

Chapin said he would recommend for students locking their bicycles to use a heavy duty U-lock, to lock the frame to the front wheel and to use an approved bike rack. He said he would also encourage the student population to contact UWPD with any case where it appears if someone is trying to steal something.

“We rely on our community to be the eyes and ears for us on campus and help make campus a safer place,” Chapin said.