Lock it and still lose it: Bike thieves hit WHS

Stewie Pollock, Iris News/Features Editor

Biking is definitely a healthy, environmentally sound way of getting to school. However, parking a bike at WHS is where the problems lies.
According to Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson, there have been between four and five bike thefts so far this year, including thefts of some bikes that were locked to the school’s bike racks.
Bike thefts are nothing new at WHS. Several bikes were stolen last year as well and Nelson made an announcement. This year, he sent an email to WHS parents. In his Oct. 6 email, Nelson wrote, “I am asking that everyone stay vigilant and if you or your child see something, please notify the school administration or the Westfield Police Department.¨
Nelson said technology may assist the school in catching the thieves. “Bikes have been stolen throughout the years and last year we got upgraded camera systems so we could cover the bike racks,” said Nelson. “We’ve gotten people on camera and have turned it over to the police, but we have not identified anybody yet.”
Questions also continue over whether or not the thefts are being done by the same person. “We are still investigating the matter,” said Westfield School Resource Officer Ms. Elizabeth Savnik. “We hope to have a resolution soon.”
Savnik also noted that she advises students to lock up any belongings that are left either outside or in a locker.
Paraprofessional Mr. David Owens, who regularly bikes to school, noted, “[The bike thefts] make me feel uncomfortable about leaving my bike outside. I hope my bike isn’t targeted because my lock is easy to cut.”
Owens said that his bike was stolen from the Westfield train station a few years ago, so he is normally concerned about leaving his bike unattended anywhere.
Nelson also mentioned that he thinks that the thefts have been executed by outsiders who do not attend WHS. Like Savnik, he has advised students to make sure they are locking up their bikes and leaving them on the racks outside.
Senior Spencer Weigand, who bikes to school daily, has listened to this advice and has consistently checked that his bike is locked up. Weigand noted that two years ago on the one day he did not lock his bike, it was stolen from Kehler Stadium.
“As far as Westfield goes, I don’t feel too concerned most of the year,” said Weigand. “As long as I have a simple combo lock, I feel fine leaving it anywhere.