Roland Park hopes to put brake on rash of bike thefts

Police report 23 bicycle thefts in Roland Park between Aug. 6 and Sept. 6.

One of the victims was Dr. Pio Poblete, who has lived in the 400 block of Woodlawn Road for the past six years. Poblete told the civic league board Thursday that his neighbor witnessed a break-in in which Poblete's garage door was kicked in and two bikes were stolen.

"This is the first time I've thought, maybe I don't want to live in the city," Poblete said. "I love it here. My kids go to school here."

Poblete was among 15 residents who attended the league meeting and complained to a visiting police department spokesman that the bike thefts are making them feel unsafe in their neighborhood.

"It doesn't matter where you go, crime is going to happen, because of the economy," said James Barnett, a Northern District community liaison officer. He gave residents advice such as giving police the serial numbers on the stolen bikes, "otherwise there's no way the pawn shop owner can tell if it was stolen."

Police believe juveniles from Park Heights might be involved, Barnett said.

Barnett acknowledged the frustration that was evident as resident peppered Barnett with questions and complaints about the thefts and an inconsistent police response. Poblete said that police in his case were attentive, but that they didn't follow up with his neighbor, the witness.

"It is affecting quality of life," league president Phil Spevak said.

Sarah hickey, 21, said three bikes were stolen from her parents' house at Roland Avenue and West Cold Spring Lane on Aug. 13 at 2 a.m.

"They came in our backyard and kicked in the garage door," she said.

Hickey, a decorative painter, still feels safe, "for the most part," she said. "It's just uncomfortable knowing that people came into your backyard."

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