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U-Lock Pretzel

Old 04-28-05, 12:02 PM
  #1  
gmacrider
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U-Lock Pretzel

The other day a co-worker's bike was stolen from a rack in front of our building in broad daylight. She showed me her U-Lock, it had been twisted like a pretzel until it broke (I guess they didn't know a bic pen would be a lot easier).

How could theives do this in broad daylight on a busy downtown sidewalk? What kind of tool would they use that could twist up a U-lock like that?
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Old 04-28-05, 12:50 PM
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They used a pry bar or a piece of pipe or a 2x4. Any lever will do... and it's about the most common way to lose a bike locked with a U-lock. If you use a mini, there won't be enough space for the bad guys to insert the lever...
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Old 04-28-05, 01:47 PM
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Search the forums for "bike thief video" and you will see how someone can do this in broad daylight on a busy street.
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Old 04-28-05, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ofofhy
Search the forums for "bike thief video" and you will see how someone can do this in broad daylight on a busy street.

OK, so I was bored and went looking for it myself: http://www.compfused.com/directlink/589/
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Old 04-28-05, 03:12 PM
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That gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
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Old 04-28-05, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ofofhy
OK, so I was bored and went looking for it myself: http://www.compfused.com/directlink/589/
Okay, I sat thru this entire video and saw NO U-lock pretzeling whatsoever.
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Old 04-28-05, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jasonsan
Okay, I sat thru this entire video and saw NO U-lock pretzeling whatsoever.
But it does show that bike thieves have nothing to fear from daylight or busy streets.
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Old 04-29-05, 10:10 AM
  #8  
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Don't you just love it that the messenger dude actually helps him break the chain!
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Old 04-29-05, 10:33 AM
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It's basically because most people think of criminal acts as things that happen sneakily. The criminal would be looking around furtively, at night, as he slides up to the bike. Whereas the guy breaking the chain in broad daylight must have lost his key. Especially when he used the angle grinder, no criminal would go to that much trouble (notice he wore proper safety equipment kids!).

That and the general assumption is that most other people are honest. You'd rather assume the guy is the owner who lost his key than a criminal stealing the bike. And no matter what, especially in a big city, you're not likely to be thanked for intervening. If it really is a criminal, you might be endangering yourself by stopping him. And if it's the owner, he's probably pissed as hell that he lost the key and has spent the last 5 minutes with a hacksaw working on his own chain... so when you say hey you stop stealing that bike he's liable to come after YOU with the hacksaw.
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Old 04-29-05, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Eggplant Jeff
That and the general assumption is that most other people are honest.
Possibly. It looked to me like no one cared to be honest-they'd look quickly, then avert thier eyes and pretend nothing was going on. The same thing happens in all big cities I think. Everyone is too annonymous to feel responsible for anyone but themselves-and they figure someone else will do it for them. Watch how people react when someone has a heart attach, or is injured in public. Everyone will stand and watch, but the vast majority of people will not do anything proactive.
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Old 04-30-05, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Eggplant Jeff
It's basically because most people think of criminal acts as things that happen sneakily. The criminal would be looking around furtively, at night, as he slides up to the bike. Whereas the guy breaking the chain in broad daylight must have lost his key. Especially when he used the angle grinder, no criminal would go to that much trouble (notice he wore proper safety equipment kids!).

That and the general assumption is that most other people are honest. You'd rather assume the guy is the owner who lost his key than a criminal stealing the bike. And no matter what, especially in a big city, you're not likely to be thanked for intervening. If it really is a criminal, you might be endangering yourself by stopping him. And if it's the owner, he's probably pissed as hell that he lost the key and has spent the last 5 minutes with a hacksaw working on his own chain... so when you say hey you stop stealing that bike he's liable to come after YOU with the hacksaw.
A common trick is for a thief to lock one of their own locks to your bike, then work your lock. Anyone asks and they can show you a "broken" lock and the lock they have a key for.

A tip... if you find a strange lock on your bike... don't leave it overnight and 'come back in the morning' it's a way to ensure the thief will have time to cut.
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Old 05-01-05, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by biodiesel
A common trick is for a thief to lock one of their own locks to your bike, then work your lock. Anyone asks and they can show you a "broken" lock and the lock they have a key for.

A tip... if you find a strange lock on your bike... don't leave it overnight and 'come back in the morning' it's a way to ensure the thief will have time to cut.
Yeah, but if you find a strange lock on your bike (locked to something solid) you can't take it anyway. If the lock is locked to the bike alone then you can't ride it. What *do* you do?

Chuckie
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Old 05-02-05, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by gmacrider
The other day a co-worker's bike was stolen from a rack in front of our building in broad daylight. She showed me her U-Lock, it had been twisted like a pretzel until it broke (I guess they didn't know a bic pen would be a lot easier).

How could theives do this in broad daylight on a busy downtown sidewalk? What kind of tool would they use that could twist up a U-lock like that?
On a Wal-Mart quality U-lock, the "pretzel" technique can work in just five seconds. That technique will work in under two minutes on some "premium" priced U-locks. The speed and effectiveness of leverage attacks is why a crook is never going to waste an hour down on his hands and knees going through a box of pens, looking for the "correct" size pen that MIGHT work on one of a zillion models of U-locks made over the past three decades.

The "pretzel" technique will NOT work when a compact OnGuard U-lock is attached around the rear wheel of the bike (just behind the seat tube) and around a sturdy steel post. Not enough room to insert effective tools and generate the leverage needed.

And, the pretzel technique will not work against the Kryptonite New York lock. If the NYL is attached to the seat tube, a leverage attack will mangle the seat tube, but leave the NYL in "like new" condition. Another reason you should NEVER attach a sturdy U-lock around the frame itself. After a "leverage" attack, your bike will still attached to the rack, but you will need a new frame.

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 05-02-05 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 05-29-05, 10:07 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Chuckie J
Yeah, but if you find a strange lock on your bike (locked to something solid) you can't take it anyway. If the lock is locked to the bike alone then you can't ride it. What *do* you do?

Chuckie
Perhaps you learn to saw the impostor's bike lock off, just as bike theives do.
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