Sixteen bicycles, valued at more than $2,500, have been reported stolen in Westminster since March 3. None of them was locked or secured, according to Lt. Randy Barnes, a city police spokesman.
Westminster police encourage riders to lock their bikes securely when not riding them or to store them inside to prevent theft.
The lieutenant said most of the stolen bikes had been left on the lawns of homes, from The Greens on the west edge of the city to Charles Street on the east side.
He said that in most cases the theft victims were young riders who dropped their bikes on the lawn at home overnight and discovered them missing the next morning.
The most expensive bicycle reported stolen recently was a Gary Fisher Aquilla mountain bike that was taken from the screened porch of a house on West Main Street. The bike was valued at $663.
Some of the stolen bicycles were recovered and taken to the police station on Locust Street, where officers try to match them with the descriptions of bikes reported stolen.
Recovered bikes that can't be matched to a victim or that aren't reported stolen are sold by the Police Department in an annual sale.
The next sale is scheduled June 10 at the armory on Longwell Street.
Bicycles offered at the sales usually are priced under $45 to make them affordable, said Maj. James Austin. About 45 bicycles, collected since last June, will be sold next month, he said.
Bikes should not be chained to parking meters or other short objects from which thieves can lift them off and carry them away.