BUPD investigating uptick in scooter thefts, recommends vigilance

BUPD is currently investigating five scooter thefts that took place between Feb. 27 and March 23. Lilly Yablon | Photographer

By Josh Siatkowski | Staff Writer, Danika Young | LTVN Social Media Editor

The Baylor Police Department is currently investigating five scooter thefts that took place on and around campus in the last month.

The thefts took place between Feb. 27 and March 23, and assistant chief of BUPD Don Rodman said that among these five thefts, there have been few commonalities or linking traits.

“There hasn’t been a specific trend for time of day or day of the week or location,” Rodman said. “It’s been scattered throughout.”

The five thefts were reported on all corners of campus, from the Baylor Sciences Building to Brooks College. One was even reported off campus, on Ninth Street and Daughtrey Avenue.

Rodman also said there hasn’t been a trend in how well-protected the scooters were. One was left “unlocked and abandoned,” while others were secured with a cable lock. Rodman said one was stolen despite being secured by a u-lock — which is one of the most secure protection methods and is the type of lock BUPD recommends for those using scooters and bikes.

BUPD has recovered and returned some of these scooters, Rodman said. However, scooters whose serial numbers or VINs are not known by the owner are much harder to track down.

“If you don’t have a serial number or if it hasn’t been registered, … it makes it very difficult to follow up on,” Rodman said.

BUPD recommends having a means of identifying your scooter, whether it be a serial number or a VIN. Many scooter manufacturers have an app that owners can download and register their scooter with. Rodman said he recommends students use the app or other means of identification so that BUPD can be best equipped to help recover stolen scooters.

While you can register other vehicles, like cars and bikes, with Baylor Parking Services, the service does not exist for scooters. Matt Penney, director of parking services, said via email that while “a registration system for e-scooters has been considered, no specific start date has been set.”

These thefts are also occurring just weeks after Baylor’s new scooter policy was enacted, prohibiting the storage of scooters indoors. However, Rodman said he did not believe there was any link between the new policy and the thefts. Although five thefts marked an “uptick” worthy of informing students, Rodman said the number isn’t really “out of the ordinary.”

Rodman did not clarify whether the crimes were linked to a common offender, nor did he say whether a suspect had been apprehended yet. However, he did say that it was an “ongoing investigation” with some “strong leads” that BUPD is following up on.

In the meantime, Rodman shared some advice for students on how they can protect their scooters. He said to follow the “hide, lock, take” method. Students should keep their scooters hidden while not using them for long periods of time, as well as attach a u-lock to a bike rack. Finally, if the scooter has a key, it should never be left unattended near the scooter.

In the event that their scooter is stolen, Rodman said he advises students to involve law enforcement as soon as possible.

“You always want to involve law enforcement … because you don’t know who you’re going to run into [if you try to recover the scooter yourself],” Rodman said. “Any time you’re missing property, notify BUPD, and we can work with you even if it’s outside of the campus area.”

If you have had property stolen or need law enforcement for any other reason, you can reach Baylor’s Department of Public Safety emergency line at 254-710-2222 or call 911. For non-emergencies, call 254-710-2211. Students are also encouraged to download the BU Campus Guardian App for fast emergency response.

Josh Siatkowski is a freshman Business Fellow from Oklahoma City, with majors in Economics and Professional Writing and Rhetoric. Josh is in his first semester at the Lariat, and he's excited to find interesting and important stories to share with his fellow students. He is still undecided about his post-college plans.