Dalhart, TX - Dalhart Police tell us they are seeing an unusually high rate of one particular crime in the area.
Officers are calling it the current "item of interest." Bicycles are disappearing and popping up all around areas of Dalhart.
The Dalhart Police Department unclaimed property room is filled to the roof with bikes. They are turning up in people's yards and in areas around town.
The thefts have increased rapidly, up about thirty percent since this time last year.
But why the odd trend?
"They'll strip them, sand them down, replace parts which makes it more difficult for an owner to identify a bicycle, but yeah they're I suppose that they're selling parts, or taking them to other areas and selling them," says Lieutenant Mike Ford.
However there is an issue with officers helping recover the stolen property. they don't know who many of the bikes belong to.
Bikes are rarely reported stolen...and those that come looking for theirs, do not have a serial number or any info to identify them.
"So we'd really like to encourage everybody to at least, it would help law enforcement a lot if they would just record their serial numbers or apply some older identifying number or symbol that we can match that property with that owner," says Ford.
But officers won't hold it against you if you don't have that information. While it would make it easier, ford says they will give back property if you can do something else.
"An obviously a unique number is great, but if they can identify their property by some unique mark or symbol that's particular to that property, then that helps also return the property," says Ford.
And for future reference, ford has a tip for all items you value.
"Not just bicycles, but any valuable property needs some kind of number that we can trace back to the owner. Sometimes they don't even know that their property and if we come across it, we can still match that property to a particular owner."