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  1. #1
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Is bike theft still big business?

    Maybe I am naive, but does the bike theft/resale industry still exist in a significant way?

    I remember back in the 1970's when bicycling was really big for young adults, bike theft was a huge problem. Professional bike thieves would cut locks, strip down bikes, mix the parts, repaint, and then sell the bikes.

    My teen-age neighbor was just such a scoundrel and used his wicked business to fuel his drug consumption.

    In those days, it was easy to find and buy hot bikes. Bikes and parts were even sold at flea markets in great numbers.

    These days, though, bikes are so cheap and society is so affluent, it seems that bike theft "as and industry" would have a difficult time surviving. Who would buy a hot bike?

    Naturally, bike theft has not diappeared, but it seems to be random, unorganized theft almost in the vein of vandalism rather than theft for resale.

    What do you know/think?
    Mike

  2. #2
    BFSSFG old timer riderx's Avatar
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    I believe so. Last year Bicycling magazine did an article/test on locks and how fast they could be broke. A related article had interviews with bike thieves. One guy offered a lifetime warrenty! Another carried a pager and took orders. See article here:
    http://www.bicycling.com/magazine/bu...ks/index.shtml

    Now, just think if these guys actually applied this to a legitimate business.
    Last edited by riderx; 09-20-01 at 11:52 AM.
    Single Speed Outlaw
    Riding Bikes and Drinking Beer.

  3. #3
    Senior Member phoenyix's Avatar
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    Bicycle theft doesn't seam to be a big problem here. The Thefts where I am at seam to be more certered around, BMX, and the more higher priced Bicycles, and Non-registered, Bikes. My City has a Bicycle Registering program, while not perfect it appears to lower the theft rate a little, when used also with a Bike lock.

  4. #4
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    Yes it is still big business, I have just had my two day old fully tricked up MTB/Tourer stolen, it had two locks, and not a trace was left behind - I then find 4 other bikes have been taken from that reck this year. It's a popular rack as it is in a private courtyard, with a Security guard on duty 10 feet away and lights and cameras. In London hundreds are stolen every week.

  5. #5
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Brains, welcome to the forums, im sorry to hear about your loss, i had one of my mtn bikes stolen from bike back porch, it too was locked up, with no trace of the theft. I hope you had some type of insurance that will cover this loss? Home owners luckly covered the replacement of my bike.

  6. #6
    Dazed and confused Ellie's Avatar
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    It's certainly big buisness in Cambridge and Oxford (UK). I had two bikes stolen in Cambridge, admittedly over a period of about 7 years. Cambridge Police have a special bit to go to to report stolen bikes. Both places have a large student population, who mostly get around by bike. Apparently theives often steal the bikes in one town, then drive them to the other to sell them.

    When I reported my bike missing, the police said they had had a lot (which probably means 10+) go from that area in that week. Neither bike I had stolen was anything special. Except to me, of course.

    Ellie

  7. #7
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I've been in this town for close to 20 years now. And about every 3 years we get a band of gypsies come through and cause havoc to retailers. They perform smash and grabs, go to department stores, walk in, grap an entire armful of mechandise and run out all in about 30 secs. Last time they came through about 10 bike shops in the area were hit from Friday night to Monday morning. Stole only high end mountain bikes and sunglass display cases. Gone by the time the cops arrived. One shop owner was so concerned, he slept in his shop for a week! The bummer of it all was that the amount stolen at each shop didn't meet the deductable and the owner's had to eat their loses!
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
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  8. #8
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    A week ago, I would have responded that bike theft is not as significant as it was 30 years ago, although this is an admittedly biased comparision between a large urban college campus (UCLA) and a quiet beach town. However, last week, my son's 24"-wheeled mountain bike was stolen while he was shooting baskets at a local school playground. The thief left a new-looking Magna hybrid (overweight piece of merde from *-Mart) with a flat tyre and took off on William's Giant-built Peugeot "US Express." He dragged the Magna home, and I replaced the tyre, tube, and rim strip, and I told him to use it as a beater. Interestingly, he would rather walk than ride the thing, so he may have learned a valuable lesson. (It's also gratifying that a 12-year-old can distinguish so easily between an older mid-quality bike and a much newer, flashier-looking no-quality bike.) He is almost big enough to ride the Ross Rock Machine I fixed up for him, but I told him he will have to wait until he demonstrates that he can take security issues seriously.

  9. #9
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    John-get the serial # off that Magna, and file a police report. Chances are pretty good that Wal-Mart can narrow down the thief to a list of maybe .5 dozen, then find the bike with minimal legwork. Every purchase at Wal-Mart is on file, and if the bike was bought with anything other than cash (quite likely), there is a trail.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  10. #10
    Love Me....Love My Bike! aerobat's Avatar
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    Originally posted by D*Alex
    John-get the serial # off that Magna, and file a police report. Chances are pretty good that Wal-Mart can narrow down the thief to a list of maybe .5 dozen, then find the bike with minimal legwork. Every purchase at Wal-Mart is on file, and if the bike was bought with anything other than cash (quite likely), there is a trail.
    Unless it was stolen as well!
    "...perhaps the world needs a little more Canada" - Jean Chretian, 2003.

  11. #11
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    hey psyklnut....sheesh...Thats a scary story!! 10 shops!! If I owned a shop, I would have gotten a few of my riding buddies to stay there with me, and I would have brought in a few dogs and a shutgun filled with buckshot for each my buddies. Gee wiz, sunglasses racks are probably several thousand bucks right there!!! You figure each pair was 100 or so bucks, and there was at leat ten pairs in there, and they may have had more than one rack!!!...Wowzer!!!
    Booyah!!

  12. #12
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    Well, if somebody was stoopid enuf to actually steal a Wal-Mart bike, that would make them pretty obvious. Stupidity that bad usually shows.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  13. #13
    Junior Member champion's Avatar
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    In London Ontario, street bike theft seems to be declining for the last few years, but my store still has chains over few expensive bikes even during operating hours, just my insurance did not like my privies claims....
    on the road again
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  14. #14
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    Bike theft is sill a major problem. I had a jerk try and bang down my door with a rock for an hour or so. He was darn quick at running away. The cops won't stick their neck out for a bike. You get caught in this dichotomy in my town (ignorant central) where the middle class thinks bikes are heavy and you just can't drive and the the poor or addicted are killing you for lead tricycles in hopes of finding titanium skewers or something. The national Bike Registry says that there is a 50% chance that you will have your bike stolen if you are a college kid. They have the best statistics on bike theft and actually explain why it is such a problem. This being because of the drug trade trades with 3rd world countries which use bikes (eg. heroin and china). The problem is that bike theft has led to many financial problems and therefore I have been getting little sleep. this makes you seem incompetant which feeds the middle classes impression that you are just some bum or something. They even get more upity and self -righteous about killing you, since they figure that you must be scum to bike. The problem i have is that I crapped up my bike with stickers and paint and ditched wearing lycra to not scream "yuppie" from my appearance. there is such racial hostility here, that you get all kinds of dung just for riding. I think this town suffers from a all to heavy car dependence and false midwestern pride in "practicality." The truth is social programs are being cut to fund the wider roads urban sprawl mandates.
    We ranked 4th in the country in urban sprawl. Trust me, I am moving out of this town if it is the last thing I do.
    http://www.nationalbikeregistry.com
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  15. #15
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    Originally posted by Joe Gardner
    Brains, welcome to the forums, im sorry to hear about your loss, i had one of my mtn bikes stolen from bike back porch, it too was locked up, with no trace of the theft. I hope you had some type of insurance that will cover this loss? Home owners luckly covered the replacement of my bike.
    The house insurance will pay out, but only to the maximum allowed for a bike which is £500 (about US$750), unfortunatly by two day old reciept was for £1,003 (about US$1,500).


  16. #16
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mike
    In those days, it was easy to find and buy hot bikes. Bikes and parts were even sold at flea markets in great numbers.
    Well, I don't actually know about bike theft.

    But I have noticed that a good bike would cost twice as much if you bought the parts separately.

    (Don't give a sucker an even break--park your bike inside. Out of sight, out of mind.)
    No worries

  17. #17
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    In Texas I sometimes see trucks with trailers heaped with bikes heading south towards Mexico. Bike registry won't help those.

  18. #18
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Thanks for the cautionary post, Scubagirl, and welcome to the forum. I wonder whether we have a similar situation in San Diego.

    By the way, bicycling is rapidly becoming the preferred way to cross the international border at San Ysidro / Tijuana. Do you see a similar trend anywhere in Texas?

  19. #19
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    When I was at a moticycle shop they had this lock. It has a wire type lock. The lcok was about 2inches thick and woven with. The key part of it was the same locking device as what Volvo uses in their cars.

    The problem was it was expenisve. 210.00CDN

  20. #20
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    'THE' lock to get seems to be the the 'New York Krypotonite' locks - cost around £60-70 (=US$ 100) - They maybe be expensive (and very heavy at about 1.5kg (3lb), but that is a lot less than a new bike

  21. #21
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    I knew someone who found a thief in the act. The thief was a pro, with tools and fake courier bag and shirt.

    If you think that bike thief in the Bicycling article sounds cocky talking semi-coherently about the violence he inflicts on a lock, you should hear this guy talk about his treatment of this thief.

    A satisfying story, to be sure. One you'd love to hear repeated more often.

  22. #22
    WallaWalla! Rotifer's Avatar
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    I have a funky theft story ....
    Someone stole my friends Bontrager (rather uncommon bike). Well, about two weeks later I was on a morning ride and saw this dude ride by me on a Bontrager identical to my friends. Curious, and a little pumped ... I've had two bikes stolen and one stripped, I turned and followed him. We all know that modern, well maintained race bikes are very quiet and I managed to roll right up behind him at about 15 mph. When I was certain that it was my friends bike, I accelarated and grabbed him above the elbow. At that point we exchanged a few words and I had no idea what to do with the guy so I told him that if he got off the bike and scooted, I would forget he existed .. he like this idea. Strange but true, I swear. Needless to say, my friend is one of the luckiest bastards I know.
    Jeff

  23. #23
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  24. #24
    WallaWalla! Rotifer's Avatar
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    Great story ... may he rot in hell if it was stolen!
    Jeff

  25. #25
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    hm... i guess i'm speculating a little here since i'm not really old enough to talk competently about theft in the 70's since i was born in 1970...

    but i think bike theft is probably down from what it used to be say in the 70s b/c of rising costs of soceity and falling bicycle costs it's hard to make a living stealing bicycles these days --- as compared to say stealing and re-selling cars or computers where guys earn thousands, the blakc market for bicycles is just not so lucrative, with a typical profit probably only being $100 or so -- so most of the bike thefts are opportunity thefts at the school or playground or out of someone's open garage -- or maybe the poor guy needing money for a drug fix who can hawk a bike for maybe $50 at a pawn shop or whatever...

    as i see it, bike theft is still really bad in places where bikes are common and demand is high so you can sell one easily ---- mostly college campusses... otherwise i think it is down.

    i've heard that there are some 'professional' bike theives that can tell the difference in a $400 Hard Rock and a $3000 s-works and only steal the nice bikes... for example, i heard that at the huge MTB fest in Lake Garda Italy bike theft is really bad b/c criminal know that 5000+ bikers will be there with mostly high-dollar bikes...
    why drive when you can ride?
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