During the past few weeks, Temple University Emergency Medical Services had two bikes stolen in as many days outside the 7-Eleven located at 1912 Liacouras Walk. One of the bikes held expensive equipment, including an Automated External Defibrillator, an oxygen tank and regulator.
On March 19 around 9 p.m. one thief stole the first bike, and a second bike with medical equipment was stolen on March 21 around 1:06 a.m., according to Temple Police.
“We haven’t connected the two incidents, we don’t know if they’re the same individual,” said Charlie Leone, executive director of Campus Safety Services.
Temple Police Investigations Unit Capt. Edward Woltemate said the video footage from security cameras of the second incident showed the thief, due to better video quality. They took steps, however, to conceal their face.
The second bike held thousands of dollars worth of equipment, making it almost three times more valuable than the first bike that was stolen.
Each mountain bike—made by Trek Bicycle Corporation—can be valued between $700 and more than $1,200. The equipment stolen from the first incident totaled $1,800 because the bike was outfitted with a standard EMS Bag, emergency lights and gear rack.
The second bike, worth $1,260, also held a $1,950 AED, a $225 oxygen tank and regulator and other miscellaneous supplies, totaling $1,765. The equipment totaled a $5,200 loss for TUEMS and together the two bikes were a $7,000 loss.
Woltemate said Temple Police, who provides the bikes to TUEMS, are filing an insurance claim for the stolen equipment. The department will have new bikes within the next couple of weeks, Leone said.
“They’re volunteers, they’re students, they do a great job,” Leone said. “They park their bike and figure, ‘I’m just going to run in and grab a coffee or whatever’ and they come out and somebody took their bike. You wouldn’t think that somebody would take a bike from [TUEMS]. It’s definitely marked up, but to a bike thief, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s a nice bike and it’s not locked.’”
The incidents of theft have dropped the total number of bikes TUEMS uses from eight to six bikes, causing a reduction in how often volunteers are paired up to ride together but will not affect the overall services provided, Leone said. He explained newer members and members in training are paired with senior members to go on calls and the loss of two bikes will mean fewer people will be less frequently exposed.
“It’s a better chance of those getting recovered than any other bike only because they are very unique,” Leone said. “Depending on how this person decides they’re going to get rid of the bike … I would hope that somewhere along the line somebody notices them and gives a call and says, ‘Hey, there’s a bike out here with medical stuff on it.’”
Leone said the target was most likely the bike and not the medical supplies.
“[The thief] probably didn’t even know they were in there,” he said. “You wouldn’t think somebody would want to take a bike with 60 pounds of stuff. I doubt it was their intention to get an AED.”
Leone said Temple Police will sometimes check with pawn shops to find stolen items, and once they’ve made contact, a pawn shop will notify them if the item comes in.
However, “they may have just discarded it,” he said.
“Getting the bikes back really depends on what’s been done with them,” Leone added.
Volunteers from TUEMS declined to comment.
Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristieJules.