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  1. #1
    Senior Member fredgarvin7's Avatar
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    And the police wonder WHY vigilante bike theft efforts.

    Bike vigilantes: Victims strike back
    By Lauren Smiley Wednesday, Nov 18 2009
    A couple of weekends ago, Malcolm McMahon was on his way to buy a steel U-lock for his bike when he stopped at the Mission Branch Library, chaining his bicycle to a streetlight with a flimsy cable. When he walked out 10 minutes later, his stomach sank no bike.

    Malcolm McMahonBrian BuckelewCrimeBurglary Having just moved from New Jersey, the 22-year-old City College student had become the latest victim of the San Francisco "**** you." A library clerk told him it happens all the time. The bike shop said the same.

    Understand that McMahon is no gearhead: He says he knows nothing about bikes, and is just an "average guy" who moved here "to get my rear in gear." Yet somehow the theft roused something in him a sense of injustice, perhaps. He was appalled to learn that San Francisco had no "bait bike" program like the ones in other cities he had read about online, in which bikes are put out to lure unwitting thieves who are then arrested.

    So McMahon decided to do something. He posted an announcement on Craigslist headlined "Bike Thefts Must Stop/You Can Help $1," calling for people to "band together" for "ethical and legal methods of capture and prosecution." In three days, he received more than 130 e-mails.

    His idea was to place a bait bike out with a crappy lock and wait for a thief to home in. Once a thief cut the lock off, up to 10 volunteers nearby "one at a bus stop, one reading a newspaper on a park bench, a couple panhandling for change," as McMahon imagined it would surround the thief and "use enough force" to make a citizen's arrest and call the cops.

    McMahon discussed his plans with Officer Calvin Chow at Mission Police Station. "I said, I don't know," Chow recalls. "You think these people are just going to stop and submit to your guys? A lot of times they don't submit to us."

    Chow said he counseled McMahon about the dangers: The thief could have a weapon. If the volunteers became too aggressive, they could face charges instead of the thief. Plus, there's no guarantee that the district attorney would prosecute the charge. (DA spokesman Brian Buckelew seemed amused by McMahon's idea: "That's funny. It's possible.") Chow thinks he had little impact: "I got the idea he's really going to go ahead and do this, even after my caution not to," he said, chuckling. "I told him, e-mail me if you do."

    McMahon says his group might still consider the citizen's arrest route, yet will focus on Plan B: placing a GPS or radio transmitter device on the bike, which volunteers with receivers can then track down. With just 10 "supercommitted" volunteers at this point, he and his allies launched a blog last week, and will post fliers to attract more. The title? The Concerned Cyclists Community Program the CCCP, "just like old Russia," he says. Bike thieves beware: The comrades are watching.

    Notice the cops are doing NOTHING to help these folks. They just try and discourage them. That's WHY they have to do it themselves!!! No glory for the doughnut comandos in catching bike or even car thieves. But they will chase someone for 20 miles at 100 mph for not obeying a road stop. I know of one local case where a teen-ager ran because he panicked over having an expired registration. A 14 year-old girl was run over by a patrol car and later died. All because of a paper violation which would have resulted in a $20 fine. (This was before states & municipalities started balancing their budgets with traffic fines.) Nope, it's, "Fill out this form and if a MIRACLE happens and it turns up, or if someone stumbles over it in the dark, we'll tell you where to pick up the wreckage!"

  2. #2
    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    hope it all goes well for them
    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b View Post
    BF does not have the answer to what you will be happy with.

  3. #3
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Taking the law into your hands is a dangerous thing to do in times when a burglar can sue a house owner for breaking his leg while breaking in into his house. These guys may end up being sued.

    Just make sure there are no witnesses and shoot the mofo

  4. #4
    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    ...shoot the mofo
    but not in the back, harder to claim self defense that way
    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b View Post
    BF does not have the answer to what you will be happy with.

  5. #5
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Just catch him, and beat him badly..................

    Catch/beat enuf, and word will get around.......

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I moved out of the city.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
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    Alternatively, have the vigilantes shoot a ton of photos, and some video, too, good enough to ID the cretin, including pix of the van used to haul the bike away.

    That ought to get some police action.

    Be fun to post it on the Web as well.

  8. #8
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    I'd bring an extra chain and chain them to the pole.

    I'd do this in a second,the cops do NOTHING.Just like a cop,to lazy to do anything but will threaten you with prosecution if you do anything yourself.

    I got robbed at gunpoint in my own town,cops do nothing.I've had 2 cars stolen,cops do nothing.If you confront them,they get pissed and start threaten you.

    Just yesterday,I saw a local cop,stop in the middle of 5.00 pm traffic to let somebody make an illegal u-turn,right in front of him and they did nothing.I couldn't believe my eyes.

    Have another donut.
    Last edited by Booger1; 09-02-10 at 02:07 PM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  9. #9
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Here's their blog:

    http://cccpsf.wordpress.com/

  10. #10
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    LOL! i like the idea of chaining the thief to a fence, ha ha ha!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Kimmitt's Avatar
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    Cops are trained specifically to take control of situations; I hate the idea of a confrontation.

    However, a "bait bike" program in general is something I'm going to look into myself.
    I see unexamined people. All the time. I don't think they know they're unexamined.

  12. #12
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    Looks like the web site has been inactive for awhile,too bad,it's a good idea,especially if you could actually get the police to help/advise you.

    I love the idea of a confrontation,then the bad guys have to look over their shoulders all of the time.If they have to watch out for joe citizen in plain clothes,makes there job much tougher,they don't know who is who.

    If the group has overwelming numbers,they can take control with no violence.Can you say dog pile.
    Last edited by Booger1; 09-02-10 at 02:26 PM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  13. #13
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    All it takes is enough denials.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_McElroy
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  14. #14
    Senior Member ron521's Avatar
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    I just watched Jodie Foster in "The Brave One". Absorbing drama about a woman whose dog is stolen, and whose fiance is killed by street thugs when he tries to retrieve the dog.
    When the police seem unable to proceed, she takes matters into her own hands.
    One scene where she confronts one of the gang members who asks her what she wants. Her chilling reply...."I want my dog back"...and she gets him back.
    I should stress that this is much more than an action/crime drama. There is a serious message here about the psychological changes which take place in the "vigilante" as a result of their decision.
    Reading the thread, I could not help but picture Jodie saying "I want my bicycle back"....

  15. #15
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, I saw that movie. It was pretty good.

  16. #16
    nashcommguy
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    Quote Originally Posted by canopus View Post
    All it takes is enough denials.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_McElroy
    Hmmm, I get your point, but I'm wondering why the '30 or 40' people weren't charged w/conspiracy to 1st degree murder? Or, at least some sort of civil rights violation(s) by the Feds? Anyway, I wish these CCCP people all the best in their efforts to curb bicycle(or accessories...having been a victim myself) thievery.

  17. #17
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Just get Clint Eastwood to drive his vintage "Gran Fondo" around and set things straight with the local thugs.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  18. #18
    Pro Paper Plane Pilot wunderkind's Avatar
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    We need the caped crusader in times like these!
    Will some one wheel out the searchlight!

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  19. #19
    Senior Member Absenth's Avatar
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    Why can't we just booby trap the seat post so that if not disarmed properly, a second smaller tube fit inside the seat tube be launched skyward when >=100# of force is placed on the seat by 12gram.....


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  20. #20
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Even if is little club turns out to be a failure, catch no criminals or get arrested themselves, their efforts are bringing the problem to the public's attention. They have a website and they are talking with local law enforcement about their concerns. If they do get arrested or do catch a thief they will get even more press.

  21. #21
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    Same in my city, anything stolen, be it a bike, car, tools, etc "thats what insurance is for"

  22. #22
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
    If the group has overwelming numbers,they can take control with no violence.Can you say dog pile.
    If the group has overwhelming numbers, violence probably can't be avoided. When have you known an angry mob to do the sensible thing? And violence in response to mock property crime is kind of insensible.

    Now if they can avoid rousing angry mobs to lynch people, and actually get the police to take this seriously, more power to them.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  23. #23
    Senior Member ianbrettcooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
    I've had 2 cars stolen,cops do nothing.If you confront them,they get pissed and start threaten you.

    Just yesterday,I saw a local cop,stop in the middle of 5.00 pm traffic to let somebody make an illegal u-turn,right in front of him and they did nothing.I couldn't believe my eyes.

    Have another donut.
    Yup. And with a bicycle in the mix they seem even less likely to do anything. Basically cops consider bicycles to be kids' toys on par (in terms of value) with the Happy Meal toy a kid gets with his McDonald's meal. The only way the police would go after a bicycle thief would be if the stolen bike's pannier contained the precinct's donut ration.
    1997 Jamis Aragon (converted to touring bike), two white 1974 Gazelle-built Raleigh Grands Prix, two red 1973 Gazelle-built Raleigh Grands Prix.

    All I need is a bike and a road, and to be left with the same freedom any other road user has to decide what's the safest lane position.

  24. #24
    Senior Member mustang1's Avatar
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    Harry Brown
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  25. #25
    Beer and nachos today!
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredgarvin7 View Post
    ...McMahon discussed his plans with Officer Calvin Chow at Mission Police Station. "I said, I don't know," Chow recalls. "You think these people are just going to stop and submit to your guys? A lot of times they don't submit to us."
    This dude's not kidding... there was an instance here where, IIRC, the thief fought, in succession, the rightful owner, a campus security guard (the attempted theft was on university grounds) and then a for-real cop. All to escape a charge of theft under $5000, and maybe a charge for possessing burglary tools- I'd be surprised if he got any actual time for that.

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