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Deerfield police: Bike thieves targeting Metra station

Two juveniles who police stopped for selling candy are now suspects in two bicycle thefts in town, Deerfield police said.

Four bicycles have been reported stolen around the downtown Deerfield Metra station in the last six weeks, police said. A chance encounter between police and the two juveniles enabled officers to identify them from a video, according to Deputy Police Chief Tom Keane.

In some of the recent cases, individuals selected a bike, cut its lock and got back on the train with it, according to Keane. With the two suspects who have been identified, that was not the operating procedure.

Keane said the two identified juveniles were found selling candy without a solicitors' license, given a warning and told to stop until they had the required permit. When the bicycles were reported stolen, he said officers watched video of people boarding the train.

"We know who the juveniles are because officers had contact with them the same day," Keane said. "The officers said, 'yes, those are the guys.' They were wearing the same clothes and everything."

Deerfield police are currently working with the juvenile justice system to bring the pair into custody, according to Keane.

"Those bikes were not stolen from the depot," Keane said. "They were taken some place in town and then they got on the train with them. The locks were not recovered so we are under the assumption the locks were cut."

Keane said in a separate incident on Sept. 13, a bike was stolen directly from the train station bicycle rack. He said the owner reported the bike was chained to the rack by the depot. When the owner returned later in the day the bicycle was gone and so was the lock.

There have been a significant number of bike thefts reported along both the Milwaukee District North line running through Deerfield and the Union Pacific North line, which goes through Highland Park, according to Keane.

"There has been an increase and we're working with Metra," Keane said. "One day they get off in Highland Park and the next day they may come over to Deerfield."

Police are reviewing security measures at the train station to determine if more precautions should be taken to protect bicycles. In the meantime, he suggests people use a quality lock that requires a power tool rather than bolt cutters to snap.

"It's not easy for them to carry around power tools like it is a bolt cutter," Keane said.

Steve Sadin is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.