Lt. Eric Hermann, evidence custodian with the Dougherty County Police Department says there are just too many unclaimed bikes in storage and an advertising push is underway to match the bikes with their owners. Anyone who's been missing their bicycle, even in the past several years, can call the DCP and offer a description. (Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — Have you been missing your old bicycle and wondering where it went? Maybe it somehow ended up down at the police station, waiting to be reclaimed.
Lt. Eric Hermann, with the Dougherty County Police Department, says 64 bikes of all descriptions have been hanging out there for at least two and half years — as long as he’s been evidence custodian. Typically, the bikes are abandoned and someone calls for an officer to come and pick them up, Hermann said.
“We’re getting too many, just too many bikes,” Hermann said. “Sometimes we get two or three a week and sometimes a month will go by before we get a call.”
Hermann’s theory for most of the accumulation is that children sometimes leave their bikes “in a ditch or in the woods” rather than take them to school, then before they get back for them, someone has them picked up.
“After that, the kid just never tells his parents he lost the bike. Personally, I think that happens a lot,” Hermann said.
Few of the bikes are recovered as stolen property, Hermann said, although he cited a recent case of a northwest Albany robber riding stolen bikes to cars he would break into. When he had what he wanted from the cars, he left the bikes right there.
Many of the bikes are in poor — some even non-repairable — condition, Hermann said, while others could easily be brought back to tip-top shape. According to Hermann, there are a fair number of premium bikes, including Huffy, Trek and Mongoose brands.
Hermann said that while the DCP would like to liquidate its stock of bicycles, it must list them in The Albany Herald for four Sundays. After that, the department may seek an order from judge to allow the unrestricted sale of the bikes.
“I don’t know if we’ll sell them on www.govdeals.com with someone bidding on the whole lot or just sell them all as scrap and turn the money back into the general fund,” Hermann said.
Hermann wasn’t whether the law permitted the department to give the bikes to churches or civic organizations, but if he finds that to be a possibility, he would welcome that option, he said.
In the meantime, if anyone believes the DCP may have their bicycle, they should call or come to the police station with purchase paperwork for the bike or some sort of reasonable description for its return to their possession, Hermann said.
The Albany Police Department also has a current cache of bicycles, according to Phyllis Banks, spokeswoman for the APD, which upon reasonable description could be returned to their rightful owners.
To contact The Albany Police Department, call (229) 431-3277. To reach the Dougherty County Police call (229) 430-6600.