Residents concerned thieves using bike-share to steal from homes - KMOV.com

Residents concerned thieves using bike-share to steal from homes

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Concerns are growing thieves are using a new mode of transportation to steal packages from residents’ porches.

In Tower Grove, suspects appear to be using the bike share program to facilitate crimes.

Thanks to bike-sharing companies LimeBike and Ofo, there are hundreds of affordable bikes available throughout St. Louis.

For just a few dollars, users can utilize the bikes to get around town. A GPS system tracks the locations of the bike, and when a rider is done, they can leave the bike for the next person to use.

The service solves the issue of making low-cost transportation available, but criminals appear to be using the bikes to make quick getaways after stealing from neighborhood homes.

Tower Grove East resident Shannon St. Pierre says in the last two weeks, there have been at least two incidents where people on LimeBikes were reported to have stolen packages.

She says it's no different if someone were using their own bike to get around a neighborhood and steal, but she thinks it's creating more opportunity for thieves to follow delivery trucks.

“When people don't pick up the packages immediately off the front porch they're approaching the houses,” St. Pierre said.

It doesn't help when deliveries sometimes don't even make it up to the front porch. Tuesday morning, a delivery was just left on the front steps, making it an easy target if St. Pierre wasn’t home to retrieve it.  

“There's no way that package would have been there at the end of the day,” she said.

St. Pierre said the problem is recent.

“In the ten years we've lived in the house, never had an issue,” she said. “Never had anything stolen from porch at all.”

While a smartphone is needed to rent the bike, News 4 has reported on at least one LimeBike that was stolen by teenagers who busted the GPS unit off the bike.

It’s forced some people to rethink the process of ordering things online, given that most people aren’t home during delivery hours.

“I’m frustrated, yeah. Frustrated in that we have to get a new plan in place,” St. Pierre said. “We have to have somewhere our packages are going to be delivered which really takes away that convenience.

News 4 has reached out to LimeBike and Ofo, but neither company has responded.

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