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Armed Bandit Robs Columbus Bicyclist

Columbus police say they're investigating the robbery of a bicyclist who was riding on the Olentangy River bike trail near 5th Avenue. A bicyclist reported to police that he was held-up at gun point.

The Columbus police department's Betty Schwab says the bicyclist reported the incident Monday night.

"The victim was riding his bike on the bikepath near 5th and Olentangy," Schwab says, "when the suspect, a male and white, came up to him and kind of stood in front of him and asked him for a light. The victim got off his bike and that's when the suspect pulled a gun and told the victim to put all his stuff in a backpack. He then took his bike and took off with it."

The victim described the suspect as about 20 years old with short brown hair, and 5-feet-7 inches tall.

Schwab says such incidents on the area's bike trials are rare. Peggy Handley, spokeswoman for Metro Parks, which oversees more than 100 miles of trails in its system, agrees.

"We have about 30 to 35 fulltime commissioned police officers and 60 part-time rangers, Handley says. "We patrol on foot, we patrol on bike. Our vehicles are pretty visible in the parks. And so we have not had incidents of crime on the pathways that go through the parks."

Biker Jay Martin, who was traveling south along the lake in Antrim Park, says he rides up to a hundred miles a week, rarely sees police officers, and doesn't ride at night.

"I hadn't thought about it really, Martin says. "During the day I think there's a lot of people. I feel pretty safe. But at night I just don't come out here."

The Columbus police department's Betty Swab agrees with that approach.

"It's kind of dangerous to be out there. It's dark at 9:00, 9:15, 9:30 and to be out there by yourself riding on the bike path may not be the best thing to do. Travel in groups and try not to be a victim," Schwab says.