The Bicyce Thief
February 12, 2009 1:48 PM   Subscribe Videos of folks who have had bikes stolen. Kristy chased the thief down and got hers back.
posted by fixedgear (30 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It makes for good training if you're a boxer.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 1:56 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

bike thieves make me want to build a bike out of plastic explosives and just wait for the next one to come along. i can wait all day, bike thief.
posted by orme at 2:07 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Bike thieves deserve a long, hard stint in prison, that's for sure. Fuckers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:11 PM on February 12, 2009

I bet you could rig a bike with servos and a radio controller to brake the front wheel when someone steals it and catapult them over the handlebars.
posted by stavrogin at 2:12 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

This has reminded me to go hunt for pricing on Lojack-like components. Thanks!
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:14 PM on February 12, 2009

posted by Sticherbeast at 2:15 PM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

Kristy annoys me. Like, real annoyed, ya know?
posted by thanotopsis at 2:18 PM on February 12, 2009

I've had fantasies of leaving a bike out and hiding in the bushes with a 2x4.

One day, one day.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:20 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

For a long time I've thought about engineering a seat tube with a breach at the bottom that could hold a single 12 guage shotgun shell loaded with rock salt and iron filings. When you get off your bike and lock it, you remove a single 'safety' pin from the lower section of the seat tube. With the safety removed, if enough weight is applied to the seat, a spring loaded firing pin strikes the primer: The end result being that you can easily track the bike thief by following the trail of his ass blood . . . the bonus feature being that he has also been rendered sterile and unable to produce little bicycle thieves.

That's my Dragon's Den idea.
posted by isopraxis at 2:25 PM on February 12, 2009 [9 favorites]

When I was a young tyke, someone stole my bike. Feeling pretty dejected, I prayed that it would come back. The next day, as I was playing outside, I see someone walking down the street with my bike, and he's bringing it back to my house. The person who returned it said that he didn't steal it, but felt obligated to return it for the person who did.

Interpret that how you will, but it was a pretty cool experience for a kid who thought he'd never see his bike again.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:43 PM on February 12, 2009

Hmm. Let me know when they make their sure-to-be-more-profitable sequel,, and Be sure to watch out for the whole bike-and-lock discount package.
posted by theefixedstars at 2:49 PM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

When I was 16, I walked from my house over to a nearby video store, only to see my mountain bike leaning against the store window. I flagged down some cops and informed them that it was my bike and the thief must be inside. After about half an hour of waiting for the culprit to exit, my friend and I decided to take off. He hopped on my bike and was promptly tackled by the police. About 5 minutes after we got home, I realized that I had actually ridden my bike there that morning and simply walked home. I'd left my bike outside for nearly 12 hours in the #1 bike theft area in all of Toronto. What an idiot.
posted by gman at 3:06 PM on February 12, 2009 [20 favorites]

You know who else was a bike thief?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:37 PM on February 12, 2009

Bike thieves deserve a long, hard stint in prison Hell, that's for sure.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:54 PM on February 12, 2009

I'd like to see this tv show about bike theft in London.
posted by orme at 4:01 PM on February 12, 2009

I used to work in a shop (City Bikes in DC) that ran its own DB of stolen bikes (in FoxPro -- gag). One major hangup for bike-theft victims who wanted us to look out for their bike was that they often had no record of sale, no registration with the city or their own insurance co, or any idea of what the serial number of the bike might be (usually stamped on the bottom bracket shell, or the part of the frame where the cranks are mounted, for those who don't nerd on bikes). Sometimes they didn't even know what make it was -- "it was a red mountain bike". So it's worth recording some of that info if you really like your bike and want to have an outside chance of recovering it in the event that it's stolen.
Another problem was that, it being DC, and not the latter day fancy DC that it is now with the semi-functional city govt and so forth...but I digress...people would often not report the theft to the police, figuring (rightly) that the cops did not devote m/any resources to looking for hot bikes. People would hear that we recovered stolen bikes sometimes and just come to us. The problem was that, although the shop took an unusually pro-active stance against theft, our hands were tied even if the thief came into the shop that evening with the bike in question, unless we had a police report # in our records. Taking a bike from someone, even a probable criminal, is itself theft unless you can prove that you own it. So before you crazy kids go off on on a mad spree of urban bike vigilantism...uh, first of all call me before you go, 'cause that shit sounds like fun, but also:
-- make sure you can prove the bike is yours: register it with the city, your insurer (renter's insurance usually covers bikes, and for cheap) or just track down a sales receipt. Yeah, before it gets stolen, that's the hard part. Shops that have modern POS systems can often generate a sales receipt for your bike long after you lost the original. Failing that, make your own receipt. The point is twofold: 1) to have something to put in the eventual theft report, and 2) have something to fall back on if/when in the process of recovery your dispute winds up being mediated by the police, because cops love pieces of paper that state in totally unambiguous terms who the good guy is.
-- Once you've reported a theft to the police and obtained a report (can be easy, can be PITA, depending, but should be done) you can forget about them. Hit local bike shops, pawnshops, etc; if there's a shop that will take reports of stolen bikes, call them up. Very often I've taken a report from someone, turned around and picked up the phone, and found the bike in a shop across town. Many if not most bike shops will not make this kind of effort, but the good ones will, and they deserve your patronage. Check CL of course.
-- If and when you do confront someone riding around on your precious, be cool. You are likely dealing with someone who is really psyched about the great deal they just got on this sweet ride, and aren't going to be happy about being told that not only did they get ripped off, 'cause they're not going to get to keep it, but that they're also criminals themselves in that they posses stolen property. This usually does not go down too well. You can make things go more smoothly by being calm, not too friendly but don't be a dick, either, and honestly, as galling as it is, you can often avoid quite a lot of hassle if you're willing to recompense, even partially, the possessor for the pittance that a stolen bike is usually sold for. This can only sound like the coward's way out, 'cause here we are on the Internet where everyone is tough, but if you want to get back on the bike with a minimum of hassle, it can be worth it. Don't offer it unless you're reasonably sure that the person you're talking to is not the actual thief, of course; if you think they are and they ask for any damn thing before they hand the bike over to you, offer to bring the constabulary into the equation. It's amazing how effective that can be, even if you're really no more eager to talk to the cops than they are.

If all that fails to pan out, grab that 2x4 and start swingin!!
posted by $0up at 4:39 PM on February 12, 2009 [5 favorites]

Also obligatory.
posted by Kronoss at 5:26 PM on February 12, 2009

Hey, lock your bike properly! If you lock your bike in a way that, say, the front wheel can be removed and circumvent your lock path, or if you lock your bike to scaffolding, or if you have a cheap lock and chain, then you are partly to blame.

Do it right, keep the ride. Do it wrong and it will be gone.
posted by fuq at 5:58 PM on February 12, 2009

You know, before you break out the 2x4, it might help if people actually cared about bikes being stolen.

  • The angle grinder, replete with safety equipment
  • The police officer who asks him to move his bicycle-theiving out of the street, as he's blocking traffic
And that's why I don't lock my bike up anywhere.
posted by oostevo at 6:00 PM on February 12, 2009

thieving ... oops
posted by oostevo at 6:01 PM on February 12, 2009

isopraxis reminds me of a design I once saw a picture of it. It involved using a quick-release saddle as a lock. I can't find any diagrams of this, but I did find a patent reference here.

But yeah, bike theft makes me sad....
And wheels that have been kicked in for fun.

I feel like most bicycle racks have been designed by people who never use bicycles as often times your bike is very exposed, and it can be hard to lock frame+wheel
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:00 PM on February 12, 2009

Kristy should consider free-lance costumed crimefighting. She could take the vinyl coating off the straight crossbar on a U-lock and swing it like a warhammer.

...why, yes, I have considered braining a bike thief with a bike lock, why do you ask?
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:09 PM on February 12, 2009

oops... patent link was the wrong type of bicycle lock. nevermind.....
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:10 PM on February 12, 2009

oostevo:A couple years back, I chained up my (at one time very nice) bike up to a tree by my dorm at school, which ended up getting buried in a snowdrift. Over the course of that winter, I lost my keys.
So, that spring, it was move-out day, and I had to figure out what I was going to do with my bike, since despite the awful treatment it was still a pretty good bike. Luckily, my roommate had a cold chisel and a hack saw, so we brewed up some coffees and went out, drank coffee, and took turns going away at the cable with chisel and hacksaw.
Success! I had my bike back, and nobody even called the campus cops on us, which was great considering how the previous week, someone called the cops on some kids in the very same place wearing sombreros and selling cups of unspiked Kool-Aid for 5c a cup- but that's another story.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:15 PM on February 12, 2009

good thing bi one mentioned the meme. you know which one...
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 8:49 PM on February 12, 2009

i meant no one. Not bi one :) sorry.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 8:50 PM on February 12, 2009

I once saw an unlocked white mountain bike at my local 7-11 and returned later and saw it again. I asked inside about it, and one of the employees(just a kid) said it had been there all day. I offered to take it and post on Craigslist, but he said it was the property of the store now and he needed it to get home(I kid you not). He said it would be back the next day and I could take it then and try to find the owner. Soo... I come back the next day, and guess what? Yup still belongs to the store, no one had come asking for it and as best I could tell he was going to keep it.

Asshole! I was seriously going to actively look for the owner. Not much I could do, in my experience the police don't care too much about this sort of thing, so I moved on. Kinda pissed but opting to read at a local cafe.

I was sitting outside and I see a guy walking down the street with a white mountain bike, so I said, "hey, you got your bike back! Cool." He just looked at me kinda funny and said no he hadn't, this was his other bike. He had built up two nearly identical bikes, one a fixie the other with dangly bits. He lived really close and rode over to the store, forhot he had a bike with him and walked home. I told him who had it and he walked over there only to be told by the kid that there was no bike there. He said he knew it was and the kid actually gave it back. Walking back past the cafe, he gave me a hearty thank you and my good deed was done!

That asshole kid didn't last long there, but every time I went in, I called him a bike thief and sneered at him. If I thought my luck was better with not getting arrested for this this sort of thing, i would have smacked him firmly upside the head. Asshole.
posted by a_green_man at 12:46 AM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

So we are agreed: Bike thievery is bad.

I still don't understand the linked site, though.
posted by DU at 5:44 AM on February 13, 2009

Kathleen is cute.

My bike was stolen this winter. Fuckers.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:01 AM on February 13, 2009

You know who else was a bicycle thief?
posted by hattifattener at 1:26 AM on February 14, 2009

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