Redstone College senior Jarris Wieme, 26, was riding his bike across the University of Colorado campus in early September when he noticed a bike lazily tied to a rack near Stearns West.
As he approached the bike, he realized with just a slight adjustment of the handlebars the bike would be free.
"I just walked over, removed the lock, and took it," Wieme said Monday. "I've never done anything like that in my life."
Wieme was arrested by CU police Thursday on suspicion of theft and possession of burglary tools, after a CU police officer pulled him over because of suspicious behavior.
Campus police have increased surveillance of bike racks and other popular bike-parking spots since a spike in thefts last week. Their vigilance led to two unrelated arrests of suspects last week: Wieme and 20-year-old Samuel Rowse, neither of whom are CU students.
Rowse could not be reached for comment Monday.
Weime said he was "really just looking" when he was pulled over for suspicious behavior.
"I'm a bike enthusiast, and I was just admiring them that time," he said. "But I guess that's what I get."
He was in possession of three bicycles -- one that was reported stolen last week and two that he says are his own -- plus bolt cutters and a socket wrench. He said the bikes and tools, which he uses for his studies in aircraft mechanics, were in his car because he's lived in the vehicle sine being evicted because of financial struggles.
Those same struggles, he said, prompted him to steal the one bike.
"When I saw that bike the only thing I thought was, 'This could help pay rent,'" Wieme said. "I figured I could get a couple hundred out of it on Craigslist."
Wieme, who is out on a $1,500 bond, said he's a "good student with no criminal record who went to desperate measures" trying to fix his financial struggles.
"I've never done anything like this before, and now I'm facing felony charges," Wieme said. "I'm so stupid. I can't believe I did something that dumb."
Rowse, the other suspect, was arrested Friday after a CU police officer saw him tryint to steal a bike locked to a tree near Hellems. He faces charges of attempted theft and minor in possession of alcohol.
Police recommending that students use heavy-duty U-locks on their bikes, and register their wheels with the university. Anyone with information about recent bike thefts on campus can call campus police at 303-492-8168.