First Stolen Segway Recovered
August 14, 2003 6:29 AM   Subscribe

First Stolen Segway Recovered. It was inevitable. And it was all caught on tape. Segway owners and members of SegwayChat covertly planned and implemented a successful sting operation to recover a stolen Segway HT. (Main link goes to 5 MB embedded Windows Media video of actual sting taking place!)
posted by docjohn (30 comments total)
Wow, that was a really boring video.

Oh, and the total lack of information. That was great too.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:13 AM on August 14, 2003

Great, Segway owners are like Macintosh groupies.

That owner should've thanked the thief.

At least the Mac could be legitimately be used by people for doing constructive things.
posted by angry modem at 7:29 AM on August 14, 2003

No chase?...what is faster a human running or a Segway? I'm guessing a human running.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:44 AM on August 14, 2003

Great, Segway owners are like Macintosh groupies.

Not exactly. The Mac users have a product that's actually worth a few bucks.
posted by bradth27 at 8:03 AM on August 14, 2003

( I know, I know, the whole stolen Mac-recovered-by-loser-Mac-forum-goons-story...but still...)
posted by bradth27 at 8:04 AM on August 14, 2003

I thought that Segways had like super top-secret special decoder rings that were required to start them up, such that if you stole some dude's Segway it would be worthless to you.

And you guys are just anti-Segway because you think it makes you counterculture. News flash: Segways are radical.
posted by Hildago at 8:08 AM on August 14, 2003

Don't steal Segways. We'll catch you.

This quote captures all the excitement and adventure of that video, without the 5 Mb download.

However, this post did introduce me to the concept of "Segway Enthusiasts." I can now take great comfort in the fact that I cannot be described with this term.
posted by moonbiter at 8:10 AM on August 14, 2003

And you guys are just anti-Segway because you think it makes you counterculture. News flash: Segways are radical.

Could you specify what makes it so radical - other than the $5,000 price tag? In my opinion, it's just a battery powered scooter, with the wheels in a different position, that travels slightly faster than I can walk. I don't understand how something like this can be called "innovative."
posted by bradth27 at 8:22 AM on August 14, 2003

posted by docjohn at 6:29 AM PST

docjohn's Profile
Name: Dr. John
Homepage URL:
Location: Manchester, NH, USA
Zip: 03101

posted by goethean at 8:57 AM on August 14, 2003

bradth27: Among the technical-solutions-to-social-problems set, it's seen as the first step in a long-overdue sequence of developments to end our unhealthy, inefficient, and dangerous automotive jones. Public transportation doesn't work because most of our active residential land has been raped for the past half-century by car-dominated, extremely low-density suburban development. This land use nightmare feeds in a vicious cycle on our smittenness with our cars, the ultimate American social penis enhancement. Add a last-mile solution that keeps office workers from getting sweaty or greased pant-legs, with a drive system designed to eliminate falls and thereby increase safety, and you can expand aggregate transportation capacity out to the low-density suburbs without densification.

This of course completely ignores the fact that there are no technological solutions for social problems, which is why Segways will cost five grand for a while yet (I don't know what DeKa's mass-production price point is, but I'm not optimistic at them hitting it in the near future).
posted by Vetinari at 9:11 AM on August 14, 2003

Vetinari - I'm all for your alternative solutions to fossil-fuel-mania, but if how exactly is it a first step? There have been electric scooters, cars, and other forms of transportation out there for years. The whole " It's so damn innovative!" concept strikes me as Media Spin.
Face the facts. There are electric scooters out there ( and have been for many years) that travel longer distances on a single charge, travel at much higher speeds, and cost a hell of a lot less. Plus, they don't look quite as dorky as the Segway. ( Dorky, yes. But not AS dorky.)
Now, I don't mind being a dork to save the planet and all, but I'd rather be the dork who got more for less than half the money.
posted by bradth27 at 9:22 AM on August 14, 2003

goethean, may explain why he only posted those links, the one's he not connected too. Wouldn't say, self post, unless he is in the video or selling Segway thieves.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:31 AM on August 14, 2003

I don't know about the self-post angle... but if he is the webmaster of, I wonder if this is him. If it is, he needs to buy a damn iron. Now, careful observation of the goober in the photo leads one to wonder.... did he get that wrinkle pattern on his pants by driving his car to the photo-shoot?
posted by bradth27 at 9:38 AM on August 14, 2003

thomcatspike: A segway's top speed is 12.5 mph, so, yes, a human could overtake one with some effort, and someone who could run a 4.8 minute mile could keep up for a while.

Segways are fun to ride--there's no denying it. It's like one of those airport moving sidewalks that goes wherever you want it to go. You get the same feeling of staying put while the world slides around you like a pie carousel. Regardless of metaphor, I think there's something fundamentally different about the experience than what you get sitting on a scooter.

Whether that's worth 5,000 dollars is highly questionable. It seems likely to me, though, from visiting labs on my campus, that Segway technology will be valuable to robotics. Like most two-wheeled robots, Segways can turn in place, a nice feature for various reasons. Uniquely, though, they have the clearance and stability to run on rough terrain--since they balance, there's no need for a dinky caster to keep them upright, nor is it necessary to try and keep the center of gravity close to the bottom.

FWIW. In any case, they're not totally useless.
posted by tss at 9:44 AM on August 14, 2003

"Homepage URL:"
Not a self link, but maybe counts as spam.
Definitely counts as a lame post in any event.
posted by Outlawyr at 9:57 AM on August 14, 2003

I'm anti-Segway (if casual boredom can be classed as 'anti-') cuz I'm a cyclist & think that anyone who wants to pay $5000 for a walking-substitute device is off their head. And lazy.
posted by i_cola at 10:15 AM on August 14, 2003

Segways are fun to ride.

Yeah. Every person I see complaining about Segways seems to miss this fact which will probably trump all else. Who really *needs* dirt bikes, jet skis, hang gliders, roller coasters, snowmobiles, go-carts, golf carts, hot-air balloons, etc.? $5,000 is peanuts compared to what people pay for all kinds of transportation/fun that's less practical than a Segway.
posted by straight at 10:24 AM on August 14, 2003

I agree that they are fun to ride. Absolutely. But not a plausible replacement for transportation, and not innovative in any way. I think "dirt bikes, jet skis, hang gliders, roller coasters, snowmobiles, go-carts, golf carts, hot-air balloons, etc" are all great fun. But most of the people I know don't ride jet-skis, roller coasters, or hang gliders to work, or attempt to make it seem "practical."
How is the Segway set apart from these recreational vehicles, and how, exactly, have they changed anything?
Now, if they made a Segway that cruised at speeds of, say, 75 miles an hour, on a 4 day charge.... perhaps I would buy one.

Still, riding a roller coaster to work would be cool.
posted by bradth27 at 10:37 AM on August 14, 2003

Geez folks, I thought it was an entertaining video and interesting story that these ordinary folks pulled this together and the guy was actually arrested. Sorry for finding something in my day interesting and wanting to share!! (and no, that's not me, I'm on my own personal site which is updated now in my profile)

Perhaps you'll find this tidbit more interesting, then... The iBot was was approved by the FDA yesterday. This is the self-balancing wheelchair that climbs stairs and was invented by the same guy as the Segway.
posted by docjohn at 10:38 AM on August 14, 2003

Thanks, docjohn. That iBot IS cool. Unless it costs around $700,000, I'm guessing that we WILL see some iBots in the future.
However, it kind of scares me, since the first thing I thought of was this - "Oh God, the lazy fat people at WalMart will not even have to get off the motorized carts in order to reach the top shelves anymore."
posted by bradth27 at 10:50 AM on August 14, 2003

I have had negative and positive experiences with the Segway. The former are the idiots who insist on riding them on sidewalks and trying to maneuver them through doorways, etc. without getting off the them. Those people suck. The positive thing I see from the Segway is that I see police officers in my city riding them. And I much prefer police officers who aren't sealed up in their bubble gum machines, whether it be on a Segway or a bike. I'd like to see more police officers on a beat than sitting in their air-conditioned cars eating doughnuts.
posted by terrapin at 10:58 AM on August 14, 2003

"I thought it was an entertaining video"

I want to hook you up to a lie detector and have you say that with a straight face.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:27 AM on August 14, 2003

Coming to theatres soon!!

No one will be seated during the riveting cuffing & questioning scene!!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:41 AM on August 14, 2003

The best bit was watching the cop struggle to lug the thing into his trunk (they stopped at the bit where it looked like it wouldn't fit)

I thought the Segway had some electronic key thingy in it ? How did this guy steal it in the first place ?
posted by zeoslap at 12:47 PM on August 14, 2003

I thought the vid was momentarily interesting, but only for the other people in it who can't even be distracted from their latte by a cop slapping the bracelets on some schmuck. Maybe when I grow up I can be an addict, too.
posted by NortonDC at 12:59 PM on August 14, 2003

In the meantime, lets go back to being petty assholes and comment how wrinkled some guy's pants are.
posted by crunchland at 1:21 PM on August 14, 2003

In the meantime, lets go back to being petty assholes and comment how wrinkled some guy's pants are.

Look, in order for the product to be represented in a professional manner, the models need to be at their best. And besides, if you took that little observation to be a serious comment, then perhaps you thought about it too much. Which makes you, of course, a petty asshole.
Hey, we could start a really small gang.
posted by bradth27 at 2:01 PM on August 14, 2003

In the meantime, lets go back to being petty assholes and comment how wrinkled some guy's pants are

I was more offended by the fact that the "him" in that picture is clearly a woman.
posted by dgaicun at 3:28 PM on August 16, 2003

argh. the stench of internet revisionism.
posted by crunchland at 4:21 PM on August 16, 2003

Could you specify what makes it so radical

I think hildago was being funny - segways are so dorky they're cool, kinda thing. It's passe to be snooty about them, the way trucker hats and big glasses are cool now.

That's my take anyway. Maybe he really thinks they're useful. I saw a police officer on one the other day, and god are they ugly. I mean, they look like strange wheelbarrows or something...
posted by mdn at 6:40 PM on August 16, 2003

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