Bicycle owners in West Palm Beach are finding out the hard way that even their locked bikes aren’t safe.
"They're good, they're fast, they know what they're doing,” said Jim Graham who manages a downtown West Palm Beach bike shop.
“They can carry stuff on them that you wouldn't even know concealed, get through a lock, be on it, gone before anybody even notices," he said.
Graham said that he’s heard all kind of stories. People have come into his store and told him that their bikes were stolen in broad daylight.
"They'll come in with either a picture of it, keep an eye out for it,” said Graham. “I just had it taken from you know the college or downtown or what have you. If it comes in please give me a call."
He says downtown bike thefts spike in August, around the time when classes start back up at Palm Beach Atlantic.
"There's more people riding down there, and more bikes, more opportunity," said Graham.
Graham explained that riders don’t often lock up their bikes securely enough.
"If you're spending $300 or $400 on your bicycle don't skimp out buying a $15 lock,” he said. “Because if you take it and you lock it up and there's no one around and a bad guy sees it, opportunity's there, it's too easy."
Bike experts recommend buying a chain lock or a thicker cable, and even combining that with a U-lock.
Graham suggests running the locks through the back tire and the frame because the front tire is the easiest to remove. He also emphasizes the importance of parking the bike on a visible spot, with lots of people around.
Nearby parking and a secure lock can make a bike less attractive to thieves, who don’t want to get caught.
"They're not going to want to mess with it,” says Graham. “They're going to move on to something else."
The city of West Palm Beach has a bike registration program. When a stolen bike is reported, with a serial number, they may be able to track it down through Craigslist or a local pawn shop.
For more information on how to register your bike with the West Palm Beach Police department, click here.