A joint effort between UNMPD and the Albuquerque Police Department has already caught one alleged repeat offender, Daniel Lee Lawrence, who had a warrant for bike theft, said Lt. Tim Stump, UNMPD’s public information officer.
Lawrence was arrested on Wednesday, after being seen riding a bait bicycle valued at $1,600, which was planted by APD at UNM Hospital, according to court documents.
Stump said UNMPD plans to continue this sort of operation in the future in order to cut down on theft around campus.
“Anytime we can utilize the sources that helped us with this, we will,” Stump said.
The documents state APD planted the bike with a combination lock at the UNMH employee bike rack and officers were alerted that the bicycle had been taken around 1 p.m.
Lawrence was later found riding the bike along the northbound frontage road of I-25 directly underneath the “Big I” according to the criminal complaint.
An APD officer turned on his lights and sirens in order to try to question Lawrence, who began to pedal faster before nearly losing control of the bike, dropping it and running on foot from the officer, according to the documents.
The officer then exited his vehicle and “pushed (Lawrence) from behind to cause him to lose balance and fall forward to the ground,” the documents state.
At that point, the officer took Lawrence into custody, according to the complaint.
The documents state the officer then searched Lawrence, and found a glass pipe with marijuana residue in the left front pocket of Lawrence’s shorts.
Lawrence was then taken to APD’s Southeast Substation and medically evaluated for scrapes and cuts caused by falling to the ground, according to the documents, at which time emergency medical responders deemed the injuries not in need of immediate medical attention.
APD searched Lawrence’s backpack and found “side cutting pliers capable of cutting the cable bike lock” along with another glass pipe with marijuana residue and two methamphetamine pipes with residue, as well as a ziplock bag of marijuana, according to court records.
Lawrence is being charged with felony larceny and possession of burglary tools, according to the documents.
Stump said he was proud of the work APD did in this case, but that students should always be careful when securing their property.
The Daily Lobo previously reported that bike thefts have increased by nearly 70 percent over the 2013-14 academic year, and according to the criminal complaint they have been increasing this year.
“We’re very appreciative of everyone who has helped us with this, but he’s not the only thief,” Stump said. “There’s a lot of them out there.”
Daniel Montano is a staff reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JournoByDaniel.