Reno police say bicycle theft is the top property crime around downtown Reno this summer, and they think the Burning Man festival may have something to do with it.
Police Sgt. Dan Thompson says the only time of the year the department sees so many bike thefts is in the weeks leading up to the festival, which begins Aug. 25. Bicycles are the main source of transportation at the weeklong event, held on the Black Rock Desert playa about 100 miles north of Reno.
Kevin Campbell of the nonprofit Reno Bike Project told the Reno Gazette-Journal bike thefts are on the rise this summer, but it has nothing to do with Burning Man. He attributes the trend to an overall increase in bike ridership around Reno. Burning Man spokesman Jim Graham says it's the first he's heard of the festival being linked to bike thefts in Reno. He says a program providing free bike rental use has been in existence for years at the festival to discourage bike theft there.