If you currently have a bicycle that has been sitting unattended for days at a time on the campus of the University of South Dakota, take it now before the police do.
From May 28-30, the USD Police Department (UPD) will hold its annual Campus Bicycle Clean-Up, during which abandoned bicycles will be collected to be stored.
Bikes that go unclaimed will be sold at auction at a later date.
Lt. Dallas Schnack said UPD officers monitor the campus before the collection takes place so as to avoid taking somebody�s bicycle by mistake.
�Certain officers are assigned to certain areas, and they will keep track of what�s there so we�ll know if they�ve been there a specific period of time,� he said.
Once the bikes are collected, the UPD will go about trying to identify them.
�Most of them are either registered through us here at the university police, or they�re registered down at the Vermillion Police Department,� he said. �If we have no way of finding out whose they are, then we go ahead and take them in, put them into storage, and then we put out a notice that we have these bikes, and we�ll hold them for a certain period of time.�
Many of the bikes aren�t abandoned by owners, Schnack said, but by people who stole them for one-time use.
�This is kind of an issue throughout town. Bikes get taken, and they�re used as transportation,� he said. �We look at two different things: Are they stolen, or are they used without somebody else�s permission.
�Let�s say somebody saw a bike downtown, they jumped on it and they road it to Julian Hall, and then left it on the rack and never used it again. Did they steal it with the intent of using it again and again? No, but they still did deprive the person who had the bike,� he said.
For this reason, the UPD stores the bikes for a period of time before the final auction takes place. That way, people whose bikes have gone missing can have a chance to reclaim them.
�If you have a bike that�s missing, you can come in and give us a description of what the bike is. Because if you say, �I want to look through,� you go through and pick out the best bike,� he said.
To make identification easier for the UPD officers, each bicycle is itemized.
�We�ll go through every bike individually, and write down not only serial numbers, make and model, but if there�s anything on it, say a headlight or a taillight, so we�ll know,� Schnack said.
The city of Vermillion goes through similar collections and sales each year, he said.
For more information, contact the University of South Dakota Police Department at 677-5342.