An average of two bikes a day are being stolen from garages, schools, public places and apartment blocks in Tauranga and the Western Bay.
Western Bay of Plenty area prevention manager Inspector Karl Wright-St Clair said more than $200,000 worth of bikes had been stolen from Tauranga and Western Bay areas this year.
He said 221 bikes worth $1000-$5000 had been stolen. A total of 87 were reported stolen from Tauranga, 67 from Mount Maunganui, 30 from Tauranga South, 22 from Papamoa, 10 from Te Puke and five from Katikati.
Mr Wright-St Clair said the most common style of bikes being stolen was mountain bikes, especially the bikes with disc brakes.
"The increasing trend of mainly mountain bikes being stolen over the last 12 months or so is of concern to police," he said.
"These bikes are expensive items and often victims can be very upset by the experience of having their bikes stolen."
An average of about two bikes per day was reported stolen, and most bikes were taken over the weekends, he said.
The most common place of bike thefts was from open garages, schools, other public places and apartment blocks.
Mr Wright-St Clair said only a small number of people had been prosecuted about bike thefts to date.
He said it was often difficult to prove ownership of bikes unless police were given a serial number.
"The public could help police by always locking their bike, recording the serial number of their bikes and having a recent photo to provide police should their bike go missing," he said.
"We would also like to hear from anyone who has information regarding the theft of bikes."
The manager of one Tauranga bike shop said the most recent theft was from a customer who had two bikes worth $4000 stolen.
He agreed there was a spate of bike thefts in the region and said the store had had an increase in bike lock sales recently.
Bay of Plenty district prevention manager Inspector Steve Bullock said police had noticed an increase in bike thefts in the area.
He said about 493 bikes had been stolen from across the Bay so far this year.
"We would encourage cyclists and bike owners to follow the advice outlined in our Facebook Post to ensure their bikes are secure and to report any suspicious behaviour to police immediately."
Teens have bikes taken by brazen thieves
A Papamoa teenager was working at Pak'nSave when his mountain bike was stolen from the supermarket's lock-up area.
Phil Clarke said his son Charlie, 15, saw someone riding off with his bike while he was working at the Papamoa supermarket on September 20.
"He did not take his bike lock with him to work," said Mr Clarke.
"So he put it in the storage area out the back of Pak'nSave where the public cannot go. He was working in the carpark when he saw someone riding out on his bike."
Mr Clarke said his son tried to chase the thief down the street but was unsuccessful.
"One of the supermarket staff took him out to try and find it but they were long gone."
Mr Clarke said the white Merida mountain bike was a Christmas gift to Charlie and was worth about $500.
"I was annoyed at him at first that he did not take his padlock but I did not realise he had put it behind the supermarket."
He said luckily the supermarket had CCTV footage which was handed to police and he was hopeful the bike would be returned soon.
Meanwhile, Coby Mak also had his BMX bike stolen from his home in Greerton.
The 15-year-old said he had left three bikes - one mountain bike and two BMXs - outside his garage on the evening of September 23.
He said he went inside about 5.30pm to have dinner and heard people outside his home between 7pm-8pm.
"We thought we heard car doors at the end of our driveway," he said. "We had a look but we could not see anything."
When Mr Mak went outside to check on his bikes the next morning the bikes had moved from where he left them and one of his BMXs was missing.
"In the morning I found one of the bikes sitting in front of our car, the mountain bike was left where it was, and my BMX was gone."
Mr Mak said the BMX bike was just a black frame with red writing on it. It had no tyres, but it was worth as much as $800 when he first bought it, he said.
He said whoever took the bike frame would have had to pass a house in front of his and go up a long driveway to get to the bikes.
"I thought it was strange at first," he said. "I found one bike and not the other. They probably did not take the other bike because it was heavier."
Mr Mak said the same bike was stolen from the carpark at Countdown in Greerton about five years ago when it had tyres.
Number of bikes reported stolen:
- Tauranga 87 (39%)
- Mt Maunganui 67 (30%)
- Tauranga Sth 30 (14%)
- Katikati 5 (2%)
- Papamoa 22 (10%)
- Te Puke 10 (5%)
How to keep bikes safe:
- Lock your bikes when they are not in use
- D-Locks are proven to be harder for criminals to crack
- Kevlar-coated cable locks are another robust option
- Take a photograph of your bike and the serial number
- Upload the serial number to the police website www.snap.org.nz