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PSA: Recent armed bike thefts in Berkeley Hills

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PSA: Recent armed bike thefts in Berkeley Hills

Old 04-03-21, 03:48 AM
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PSA: Recent armed bike thefts in Berkeley Hills

Posting this link to a thread in the BF Classic & Vintage forum. There have been a rash of armed bike thefts on Grizzly Peak Blvd and Wildcat Canyone Rd in the Berkeley Hills. This is where I do most of my riding, so this hits literally close to home.

Be aware of your surroundings and be safe, everyone.
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Old 04-03-21, 05:11 AM
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Good advice during the best of times and maybe even more so now.
A year of lockdown seems to have exacerbated the crazy in some people. At least around these parts.
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Old 04-03-21, 12:51 PM
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That is the strangest story. Weird manner and weird location for organized bike thievery.
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Old 04-03-21, 09:18 PM
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Guess I'll reply here. This story is a bit troublesome for me. Obviously armed bike thefts are a serious thing, and I'm not calling BS on this, but after reading the article, I only have more questions. The article cites anecdotal stories from a few individuals, and nothing from the police. Did the author attempt to contact the police to check the veracity of the stories, or attempt to get a police report? This seems like a very egregious crime, even though stolen bikes are not considered a priority, this combines a bunch of different felonies in a very dangerous crime. The article quotes an individual saying this is "dominating" communication within the Berkeley Bicycle Club and Grizzly Peak Cyclists clubs. However, I have found zero other sources on this story on the internet, nor have either of these two clubs posted anything about this on their social media sites. Contrast that with Mt. Diablo Cyclists...any time a driver crosses the double yellow on Diablo, it becomes a huge controversy on their FB page (sarcasm intended!). I would think after literal carjacking of bikes, multiple times no less, I'd see posts all over social media from these clubs or other advocacy groups (we all know how vociferous cycling advocacy groups are!) But as of today, I've seen no mention of it, even a "be alert" type PSA posting other than this one article. Also, I know comment sections can be a total cesspool, that article included, but I didn't see anything in the 40+ comments confirming the events, first or second handed.

Again, as a cyclist, this is a terrible thing, and I'm NOT calling "fake news" on this, but I guess I'd just like to see more confirmation of this. Even in the posts here on BF, all of the comments are reacting to the story, no one is corroborating or verifying it. If anyone can personally attest to what has being going on, or the circumstances behind these crimes, I would sincerely appreciate it! I changed my route today to avoid Wildcat the GP just because of this story, and I'm really looking for more info!

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Old 04-03-21, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
That is the strangest story. Weird manner and weird location for organized bike thievery.
Exactly, I'm having trouble understanding the actual logistics of pulling this off. The article quotes some vaguely scuzzy "primered" and "racy" cars, so how exactly do they take the bike? You get run off the road by a beater type car which probably doesn't have room for a bike, and people get out, pull a gun, take the bike, and then what? They open the trunk and try to jam in partially inside? Throw it in the back, and again, try to jam it in and close the doors? So one guy is driving, one guy is holding the gun, and another is running around trying to find a way to stuff a bike into the car? Do they take the person's phone? "Hello police, I just had my bike stolen at gunpoint, look for a gray primer car with a bike sticking out of the trunk with the lid flapping around. It was on Wildcat Canyon, so it'll take them 15 minutes to get to a freeway."

A van or open bed pickup truck, ok I can see that quite easily, but some kind of small car? Another person claims it was two vehicles, one who cut her off, the second blocking from behind? But then they took off because someone else was riding *up* the hill from behind? And this was 11;30 on a Saturday?! And they do this on windy roads which have few exit points other than a very long drive (specifically the location described on Wildcat). Plus, these are fairly busy roads, especially Wildcat near Inspiration Pt, and GP really anywhere...there are so many more isolated areas that something like this could be pulled off (south end of Redwood, or areas of Pinehurst).

Again, I really am trying to keep an open mind, but there are SOOOO many questions about this it just seems extremely odd. I would love to see some police reports!

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Old 04-03-21, 09:31 PM
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^^^^^There were similar stories a few months back on another forum about armed bandits stopping groups of riders on the Rio Hondo River Trail accosting riders for their bikes, cell phones and wallets. I never could confirm the story from a legitimate news agency or police department.

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Old 04-04-21, 08:52 PM
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Understand, I reposted this not out of paranoia, I don't think the sky is falling and I don't propose going vigilante. I believe the reporter of the Berkeleyside article (linked the BF thread OP) said she was unable to get more info out of Berkeley PD.. I have no way of knowing if that is correct or not. But it is enough to remind me to pay attention to what's going on around me. That's the real point of my reposting the thread.

It is easy to let our minds wander while we're riding, especially on familiar roads where we feel safe. Heck, it's one of the joys of riding, at least for me. But when that happens, it is possible to get into situations we might get into if we were paying more attention to that little voice in our heads that says "this doesn't seem quite right." That little voice is a powerful safety tool, and we should pay attention to it - and not just when we are out for a ride.

I remember hearing a talk by a guy who was the equivalent of a black belt in half a dozen or so different martial arts. He gave some very wise advice: the best self defense technique is not to put yourself in situations where you will need to use self-defense measures. He was a big proponent of listening to that little voice. Does that dark alley feel hinky? Then don't walk down that dark alley. That's just an example, but you get the point.
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Old 04-04-21, 08:54 PM
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isn't it great out local news is telling everyone we ride around with bikes costing 10K +

thanks local news....
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Old 04-07-21, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
Another person claims it was two vehicles, one who cut her off, the second blocking from behind? But then they took off because someone else was riding *up* the hill from behind?
That could have been something other than intended robbery. I'm glad those other cyclists came along.
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Old 04-11-21, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
Guess I'll reply here. This story is a bit troublesome for me. [...] But as of today, I've seen no mention of it, even a "be alert" type PSA posting other than this one article.
From a message sent yesterday to UC Berkeley faculty, students, and staff via the WarnMe list:

Violent Crime Reported at Grizzly Peak - From: "UC Berkeley WarnMe" <noreply@everbridge.net
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2021 2:59pm
Subject: Violent Crime Reported at Grizzly Peak - Please note this message may contain information that some may find upsetting.

On 04-10-2021 14:02:00, an aggravated assault occurred at Grizzly Peak.
PC 211 (Robbery) via gun on Grizzly Peak. Suspects fled in vehicle Black/Grn VW Volvo 5DJK736. Taken was a Transitions Full Suspension Mountain Bicycle.
Aggravated assault is an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
If you have any information about this crime, please contact:
Oakland Police (510) 777-3333
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Old 04-12-21, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
From a message sent yesterday to UC Berkeley faculty, students, and staff via the WarnMe list:
Yeah, something's going on there.

According to authorities, UC Berkeley police officers responded around 2 p.m. Saturday to Grizzly Peak Boulevard between mile markers 12 and 13. There, officers learned two suspects approached the male juvenile, displayed at least one weapon and took his mountain bike before leaving in a vehicle resembling a Volkswagen Jetta.
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Old 04-13-21, 03:56 PM
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thanks for the additional info. Seems like this is completely legit. Insane...guess I'm gonna avoid that area for the time being! Almost unbelievable that someone would try something on that road, in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. That makes it even scarier, if they are that brazen. Plus they held a gun to a kid! TF is wrong with people!? Glad there's been at least one police report now, hopefully that will step up patrols or at least deter them from coming back to the same place over and over...yikes!

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Old 04-20-21, 12:46 PM
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I didn't doubt the news reports when I read them, but now reading through the thoughts in this thread it definitely seems pretty fringe (unlikely?) given the day-time, location, and even the practicalities of a bike stuffed in a small car. What does seem realistic is the idea that some enterprising criminals would do something like this, given the increasing demand for used bikes and the other items that can be snatched from a cyclist (and if they hadn't thought of it before, these news reports will surely plant the seed). Personally, the concept of this robs some of the enjoyment from a ride in the hills.

My family and I are moving out of the Bay Area after 20 years here and this is just another kick in the a$$ on our way out the door.
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Old 04-24-21, 09:40 AM
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More details:
https://www.berkeleyside.com/2021/04...n-grizzly-peak
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Old 04-24-21, 07:42 PM
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Probably started as a crime of opportunity. I kind of agree with the thought that the news is posting the potential worth of some bikes can bring in copy cats. The original story also had a victim describe the vehicle as maybe a Jetta.
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Old 05-01-21, 12:42 AM
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(Haven't seen it yet, YT just suggested it to me.)

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Old 05-16-21, 09:38 AM
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The last few times I've been up there (GP area) I've seen OPD parked in various places off the road. Has anyone else been up there and seen the same thing, or have heard of any new thefts occurring? I'm glad there's at least some kind of police presence, I've never seen police up there before recently. These guys might just move to a slightly different area, I did read of an incident of Redwood, which seems like (unfortunately) a "better" area to target cyclists, as it is much less traveled.

Just curious if anyone has heard of any new reports, I'll probably continue to ride there more seldomly at least for the time being.
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