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Thursday, October 30, 2014

FTPD Turns Crime into Kindness, Donates Unclaimed Bicycles

FTPD donated 40 unclaimed stolen and recovered bicycles to the Brighton Center on Wednesday/FTPD Lt. J. Gadzala

Everyone once in a while, a wrong can be turned into an even greater right.

Such was the case on Wednesday, when the Fort Thomas Police Department donated some 40 unclaimed stolen and recovered bicycles to the Brighton Center in Newport, who will in turn give them out to local children in need, who otherwise would not have a bike of their own.

"Knowing the great work that the Brighton Center does for Northern Kentucky, we felt as though they would be able to find a fitting new owner for the bikes," said FTPD Lt. James Gadzala, who helped coordinate the donation for the department.

The idea to donate to the Brighton Center came from FTPD clerk Debbie Lucas, when it became clear that donating the bikes would not only be a way to give back to Northern Kentucky, but would also cost the city less than auctioning the unclaimed bicycles.

According to Gadzala, bikes that are found must be kept in the police department's possession for at least 90 days before they are eligible for forfeiture through the court system. "Most of the bikes that are going out for donation this year have been in our possession for nine months to a year," Gadzala said.

Once the waiting period has expired, a judge must then determine whether the items can be forfeited and donated.

The FTPD's donation also sheds light on the prevalence of bicycle theft within the city, Gadzala explained, encouraging all residents to record their bicycles' serial numbers and to engrave their names on their bicycles, as well.

Name inscription is particularly important for getting a stolen bicycle back into its rightful owner's hands, Gazdala said.  

"We arrested two subjects last week who were breaking into cars," Gadzala explained, "We were able to locate the owners of some of the items taken, but have yet to find the owner of a white bike that was being used by one of the subjects."

Gadzala said that, while the FTPD is certain the bicycle is stolen, because neither subject would claim ownership of it, they have been unable to find the owner.

As a result, they cannot charge either subject with the theft.

"The Police Department would be happy to allow any resident to borrow a tool to inscribe their name on their belongings if they do not already have one," Gadzala said.

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