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Bikes are still missing

A few weeks ago, you ran a story about stolen bikes. It said that Judge Tim Barnack's expensive mountain bike was stolen, and that he was mad about it. It also said some waiter's bike was stolen.

My girlfriend and I have a bet. I say that the Medford cops have found the judge's bike by now. She says I'm wrong, and that neither bike has been recovered. We have a fancy dinner riding on this. Can you help me out?

— Brian O., Medford

We hope your wallet is fat and your girlfriend is hungry, Brian. Because she's the big winner in the Stolen Bike Dinner Sweepstakes.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Tim Barnack's $1,000 mountain bike remains MIA. The judge's bike was filched Sept. 17 from the back of his vehicle while he was working out at Superior Athletic Club off Biddle Road.

"The thief is still at large," Barnack says.

No luck in finding Downtown Market Co. employee Mark Smith's mountain bike, either, which also was stolen on Sept. 17 after thieves cut the cable lock on the 22-year-old waiter/musician's bike.

"No news. Still don't have it," Smith said, shaking his head last week while passing out plates at the downtown eatery.

Barnack and Smith are victims in a large and unexplained spike in bicycle thefts, said Medford police Chief Tim George.

The police are still working to find these bikes. But this year's rash of thefts has the department wondering whether a criminal ring is involved. Medford police Detective Sgt. Brent Mak said officers have come across bicycle "chop shops" in the past. Thieves will steal several bikes, switch out parts and put them on other bicycles. They often repaint a bike and then pawn it or sell it, Mak said.

Thieves do not seem to be deterred by locks or chains. Police are advising people to keep their bikes in sight and inside, if possible, said Mak.

Smith said he's already following Mak's advice. He's borrowing his dad's bike, which is worth a cool $1,400. It goes upstairs at the restaurant during his shifts, he said.

Mak said owners should keep pictures of their bicycles to help officers identify them. And Medford residents should register their bicycles on the city's website. A sticker and a copy of the registration form will be mailed to the bike owner, Mak said.

To register a bike with the department, see goo.gl/fKpgR and follow the directions.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.