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Old 03-07-14, 02:03 AM   #1
max5480
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Chasing down a bike thief

So today I rode up to the bike rack at work, just like pretty much every day, when I notice a brand new "Republic Bike" (or similar brand) locked up with a thin cable lock at the rack. "Oh, I say to myself, this must be my coworker's new bike he's been talking about. Man, I sure need to let him know to get a proper U-lock."

I work at a retail shop and I was going about my day, when I just happen to be near the window and see a man in a hoody unlocking my coworker's bike. I yell my coworker's name and run out of the store as fast as I can. I almost grab the thief as he's turning a corner but I slip and fall. I get back up and for a second think about how I'm never going to get the bike back, but my passion for bikes overcomes and I start sprinting after the dude. He's riding in traffic so I'm running in traffic yelling as loud as I can "STOP HIM!" As I'm running a car does a u-turn and yells get in and I jump in and we drive after the thief. The driver saved the day because he ran a red light to catch this dude. The thief starts riding on the sidewalk at this point and we yell to him, "Just give up the bike and nothing will happen." He drops the bike and starts running and I run out and pick up the bike.

The whole day goes by and all I can think about is what I should have done differently. Should I have chased him and called the cops until they showed up? I know some people would have probably chased after him until they could have broken his nose, but I was just happy to get the bike back. It would have been nice to know that a bike thief was in jail, but do I really want to be the one to have put him there? Most bike thieves are just opportunists in my opinion, and this poor ******* just saw a cheap cable lock and went for it. I've been working at that shop for 2.5 years, and have had bikes worth over $1k locked to that rack. It's amazing that it only took one day for a cheap cable lock to be noticed and stolen.

Thanks for reading and I'd love to hear your thoughts if you have them.

Last edited by max5480; 03-07-14 at 02:18 AM.
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Old 03-07-14, 08:01 AM   #2
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Let that be a lesson to your coworker, I guess.

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Old 03-07-14, 08:05 AM   #3
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I made LOT'S of money "after" crime. Almost nobody really thinks they will be a victim. When they are, they go to extremes spending twice as much as would have been necessary to prevent loss. I don't think that will ever change
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Old 03-07-14, 08:17 AM   #4
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The cops probably will have little sympathy for the guy who ran the red light to help you catch the thieve however heroic that may me.

On the other hand, the cops probably wouldn't have made much effort to locate the bike anyway and the thieve could easily get quite far away by teh time the cops come.

I'm torn.
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Old 03-07-14, 08:30 AM   #5
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You did the right thing.
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Old 03-07-14, 08:56 AM   #6
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You did a great job!! Not only did you get the bike back but you let the thief know you were watching the rack and he will probably not be back. Kudos also to the driver for helping you. A lot of people will say that it isn't worth the risk of getting injured to protect something that can be replaced however that is why this type of crime is so rampant today. If more heroes would step up to the plate this activity would diminish exponentially. Our criminal justice system is a dismal failure and is absolutely no deterrent so calling the police is a waste of time on this type of petty crime, even the officers taking the report will tell you that. So congrats you are the hero of the day !!!
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Old 03-07-14, 09:51 AM   #7
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i think you are mistaken about theives being opportunists

he must have been carrying at least one theft related tool even to cut a cheap cable lock

think about the last time you were carrying a cable cutter and examining the locks on locked bikes
i would bet this never happened
because you are not a bike theif

if the bike had been left completely unlocked then the opportunist descriptor might be accurate
but that guy is almost definitely checking bike racks in another part of town right now

you did the right thing by chasing the guy
and i would be saying the same thing if you had done anything up to
and including
breaking both the guys arms
but anything that extreme would almost certainly been more trouble for you
than that peice of trash
the theif not the bike
is worth
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Old 03-07-14, 01:34 PM   #8
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You did good getting the bike back.

Ideally you'd let the professionals (AKA the police) handle it. However when my car (with my bike in the back) was stolen, it took an hour for them to respond and the car had been stolen within the previous 15 minutes. Also the local police make you fill out an on-line report for stolen bikes around here. They wouldn't have done squat for my $2,000 bike if it wasn't in the car. Hopefully your police are better about stolen bikes.

As far as feeling even an iota of guilt about putting the thief in jail (if you could), thieves like that seldom stop stealing unless it no longer becomes profitable or the personal cost is too high. If nothing else, they can't be stealing much stuff while they are in jail.
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Old 03-07-14, 02:13 PM   #9
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The cops probably will have little sympathy for the guy who ran the red light to help you catch the thieve however heroic that may me.

On the other hand, the cops probably wouldn't have made much effort to locate the bike anyway and the thieve could easily get quite far away by teh time the cops come.

I'm torn.
This. I once saw a guy on a bike drop a bike and take off running after an unmarked NYPD cruiser beeped at him. Apparently the cop just wanted the guy to move out of his way. The guy when he realized this walked back to the bike got on it and rode off. I'm sorry but this should be suspicious as hell. If a driver abandoned his car like this the cops would go after him. Cops don't care about stolen bikes.
@max5480 good for you!
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Old 03-07-14, 02:24 PM   #10
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Kudos sir. While it is dangerous, I think it's more dangerous for us law biding citizens to stand by and not protect our property. If more people did this type of thing, thieves would maybe do something more productive with their lives.
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Old 03-07-14, 02:48 PM   #11
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Exciting story! That driver was a good Samaritan. Above all you are a wonderful coworker. Just be careful don't get hit by cars when chasing... Glad it ended well (only I wish the thief was caught, made known and jailed--especially important if the driver got a ticket for running the light or either of you had an accident).
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Old 03-07-14, 03:15 PM   #12
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If I saw a guy with lock cutter, I'd stand behind him and tell him I'd call the cops. If he threatens me, I'll walk away then when he turns away, smack him on the head and take away those lock cutters.

We cyclists have to look out for each other.
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Old 03-07-14, 06:13 PM   #13
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Exciting story! That driver was a good Samaritan. Above all you are a wonderful coworker. Just be careful don't get hit by cars when chasing... Glad it ended well (only I wish the thief was caught, made known and jailed--especially important if the driver got a ticket for running the light or either of you had an accident).
It's wise to take a moment to appraise the thief before pursuing them. At one apartment I lived at, six months after I moved away, a neighbor and his wife returned home and noticed a guy across the street on a bike that looked just like her bike. They parked and went in to the apartment and sure enough her bike was missing from the back of their apartment. He went across the street to confront the guy on her bike.

The guy on her bike shot him point blank and killed him. I don't know if the guy was caught.
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Old 03-07-14, 08:35 PM   #14
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You did well, congratulations. OTOH the driver running a red light, well I'm not so sure about. If he took the time to verify there were no cars around, I'm ok with it. But if a cop was watching IMO the driver would have had to pay a price. BTW most cops could care less about a bike being ripped off. My opinion comes from experience with them. It turned out well, you got the bike back, no one was hurt, again congratulations .
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Old 03-08-14, 12:38 AM   #15
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Thanks for chiming in everyone. Yeah, it would have been nice for him to be locked up. Then again, I wouldn't want to pursue him any more than I would have to and risk him turning around and knifing me or something worse. I appreciate the everyone's opinion and it made me feel better.
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Old 03-08-14, 02:37 AM   #16
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Most bike thieves are just opportunists in my opinion, and this poor ******* just saw a cheap cable lock and went for it.
Here's part of the problem. The scumbag who cut a lock to steal someone's bike isn't a "poor" anything. They are a criminal, plain and simple.

Would anyone use this kind of language to describe other criminals? You know, "this poor ***** just saw a car left running with the keys in it and went for it", "this poor ****** saw a girl so drunk she couldn't stand up and just took advantage"? They are still people who prey on other peoples' weaknesses.
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Old 03-08-14, 10:31 AM   #17
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Nice job my friend!

Would have been nice to have made a right turn in the vehicle just as the thief entered an intersection from the sidewalk!
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Old 03-08-14, 10:46 AM   #18
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It's wise to take a moment to appraise the thief before pursuing them. At one apartment I lived at, six months after I moved away, a neighbor and his wife returned home and noticed a guy across the street on a bike that looked just like her bike. They parked and went in to the apartment and sure enough her bike was missing from the back of their apartment. He went across the street to confront the guy on her bike.

The guy on her bike shot him point blank and killed him. I don't know if the guy was caught.
This is why I carry a .40 S&W. If I'm approaching someone like this, my hand is on the gun. Make any move and out it comes. Yes I do train for this so it's not something I'd hesitate with.
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Old 03-08-14, 11:04 AM   #19
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So you keep chasing him: Probably nobody is looking after the bike, so it's gone when you get back. You catch the guy, and he pulls a gun or a knife so you get injured. Or you catch him and get him, and he sues you for assault.

Much as I like justice, he'd given up the theft and was simply fleeing. Unless a cop is there, let him go.

Cheers
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Old 03-08-14, 01:51 PM   #20
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Most bike thieves are just opportunists in my opinion...
Most bike thieves are thieves. Sure, they'll take the low-hanging fruit first just because it's the easiest. An honest person wouldn't have taken that bike, even if it had been unlocked.
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Old 03-08-14, 04:42 PM   #21
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This is why I carry a .40 S&W. If I'm approaching someone like this, my hand is on the gun. Make any move and out it comes. Yes I do train for this so it's not something I'd hesitate with.
OMG! Gun nuts! Move this to P&R! Censor it! Auuuggh!
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Old 03-08-14, 04:57 PM   #22
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Years ago a friend saw a purse snatch go down and chased the thief. He reached out and grabbed a dred lock to stop him. The dred came off in his hand. Later it made it pretty easy to confirm the identity of the perp.
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Old 03-08-14, 06:56 PM   #23
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Oh OW that sounds painful as all hell.

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Old 03-08-14, 08:03 PM   #24
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I too chased a theif that broke into my house via a back window , chased him for about 5 blocks thru the neighborhood while the neighbers called 911, didn't catch him for the fact that he waded across a canal and I didn't follow, but by that time the police had come and picked him up on the other side!!! since then I've installed alarmes and cameras,, cost me money!! oh he got 2.5 years he had other things on his record ,, But the police told me I should have just called them, because you never know what they'll do to get away, guns,, knives,, anything,,, I was lucky I guess
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Old 03-08-14, 08:24 PM   #25
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You said he was "unlocking" the bike. Since you had never seen the bike before I thought the story was going to end like " I chased the thief down and broke his nose. Then I loaded the bike in the car and took it back to my co worker. Upon seeing the bike the coworker said That's not my bike its at home."

But I guess not you did good I hate a thief!
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