AVALON, N.J. (WPVI) -- All across towns in South Jersey, bicycles are disappearing at an alarming rate.
Police are on the case, and on Thursday released surveillance images of a person of interest.
The individual may be connected to an upswing of some 20 bike thefts this summer.
In Avalon, police actually conduct proactive bike sting operations.
They urge visitors not to be lulled into a sense of false security. Thefts happen, and every year they end up selling recovered, but unclaimed bikes that share a common trait.
"Ninety-five-percent of bikes auctioned off still have a bike lock wrapped around the frame, unused," said Capt. John Roscoe of the Avalon Police Department.
The lesson, the captain says: lock up. 140 bikes were stolen in Avalon in 2016, 150 in 2017, and so far 86 in 2018.
They hope that the lower number this year reflects the message to lock up is getting through.
At Tuckahoe Bike Shop, they rent bikes and make it clear customers need to use locks to prevent being easy targets.
"It is not like there are droves of people in trucks are cutting locks and taking them. It's mainly people coming out of bars and restaurants don't feel like walking home. They'll see an unattended, unlocked bicycle and they'll take it," said manager Tom Downs.
While the overall crime right at the shore is low, it still exists. That's why Capt. Roscoe recommends not only locking bikes, but cars and houses too.
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