Bike thieves beware: The sting is on

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Bike thieves on the eastside of Charleston beware. Sergeant John Lites and his Community Action Team are re-writing the books on police work. And it's working.

For the past few weeks Sergeant Lites has conducted bike stings.

"We'll have a plain clothes officer ride the bike up, drop it and he'll remove the chain," describes the Sergeant. "When somebody gets on and tries to ride it they'll start to ride it and then say 'oh no.' When they stop and try and fix it we can go pick them up."

Lites is one of eight members on the Community Action Team, or CAT for short. For the last year and a half they've been permanently based on the eastside of Charleston. Their mission is to come up with new ideas and use those new tactics to keep crime of the streets.

"The history of the area I'm working in, a lot of things haven't working," says Lites. "We're trying a lot of different things now and they're working."

Setting up bike stings is just one of those new ideas.

"Typically they'll say I was just moving it but that's not what they we're doing."

The stings have produced four arrests so far but the unit admits the red bike may be burned. The community has already realized it belongs to the police department.

The CAT team says they will continue with the bike stings, but for the stings to continue their success they have to change up the bait.

For now the sting is stung on the eastside of the city, but that doesn't mean the Sergeant and his team are all out of ideas on how to make the community a better and safer place.

Lites wants his team to focus on becoming an actual part of the area they protect.

"I think the difference before is we weren't really part of the community," says Lites. "I really feel like we're part of the community down here now."

Sergeant Lites is the President of the East Bay Boys and Girls Club. A position he took to help change the community and break the barriers between law enforcement and the citizens of the Eastside. With the help of the unit, he's also in the beginning stages of starting a mentoring program to get to kids before they make bad decisions.

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