A Columbia man has been charged in a string of bicycle thefts that occurred between May 29 and July 15 in the West Columbia area.
John Mark Hagan, 27, of the 6300 block of Bright Plume in Hickory Ridge, was being held at the Howard County Detention Center on $1,000 bond. Police said they charged him with felony theft after he admitted to taking seven unlocked bicycles, then traveling by cab to sell them to area pawn shops.
Police have recovered three of the bikes. They are being held until their owners claim and identify them, police said.
Mr. Hagan was arrested Thursday after a routine check of pawn shops in the area last week showed that the serial number of a bike he had pawned June 7 at Jessup Coin and Jewelry matched the serial number of a bike that had been reported stolen June 6, police said.
Mr. Hagan pawned the gray and white mountain bike, which was stolen from the front of the Harper's Choice Village Center, using the alias John Mark Hogan, police said.
The pawn shop owner told police that Mr. Hagan had pawned other bikes for $40 each at the shop, arriving in a cab each time. Police said they notified the cab company of their investigation, and waited for Mr. Hagan to make his next trip.
Mr. Hagan was arrested at the pawn shop, where he was attempting to deliver another stolen bike, police said.
He admitted to stealing bikes at the Hawthorn Pool at Sunny Spring, a High's store on Hickory Ridge Road, the Abbott House on Cedar Lane, the Merriweather Post Pavilion, Atholton High School and Fall River Terrace near Harpers Farm Road, police said.
Police are asking victims of bike theft in those areas to prepare descriptions and contact Detective Ellsworth Jones of the Property Section at 313-2223.
"A lot of people don't report bike thefts," said Detective Jones. "It's not considered a major crime."
Last year county police recovered 238 bikes. Some of them went unclaimed and were sold at the annual police auction.