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On Campus, Bike “Borrowers” Cause Headaches

Bikes that go missing on campus are more often “borrowed” than stolen. As a result, many students whose bikes disappear usually just wait for them to turn up again before reporting the missing property to Public Safety. When PAPS does get involved, “99.9 percent of the time, the bikes turn up on campus somewhere,” said Tom Conlon, Manager of Public Safety. Conlon estimated that bikes disappear permanently at most two times per year. In those cases, after about two weeks, the case is turned over to the Andover Police Department, usually with little success, he said. Noelina Nakiguli ’09 said that when her bike was “borrowed” twice without her permission last year, her peers were unsurprised. “People were like, ‘Oh yeah, people do that all the time and just take it somewhere,’” she said. Nakiguli views bike theft as disrespectful toward the owner. “I don’t mind people using [my bike], but at the same time I want to know what’s going on.” “Anybody that’s nice about it…anybody that approaches me in the right way can borrow it,” Nakiguli said. Allison Theriault ’09, whose bike was stolen three weeks ago, said, “I think people’s friends borrow their bikes, knowing that that person wouldn’t mind.” Theriault added that many students lock bikes and then give friends the lock combination. Theriault’s bike was leaning on a tree outside Borden Gym, unlocked, when it was stolen. “I was running into Commons, so I thought it would be fine to leave it unlocked for five minutes,” she said. In the past, Theriault usually locked her bike, but felt that she was being overly cautious and distrustful when she did so. After three weeks, Theriault has given up hope that her bike will turn up and suspects the bike has been taken off-campus. Peter Washburn, Cluster Dean of West Quad South, said in an email to The Phillipian, “We do not seem to have much of a problem [with bike theft] right now. There are fewer bikes on campus and more people are locking them.”