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How to catch a bike thief?(15 posts)

How to catch a bike thief?ElvisMerckx
Jun 6, 2003 11:55 AM
My LBS (also my club's primary sponsor) has been robbed several times in the last few months. Last night some crooks struck again and took 3 bikes with a total value of approx~ $12k. This is high-end, ultra-ginchy stuff, so it shouldn't be too hard to find.

Anyway, I seriously doubt these sleezeballs are RBR readers, so I've decided to solicit your ideas on how to catch them. Ideas?

NOTE: Several club members have already come up with some clever ways to recover the bikes. I won't divulge their methods because I want RBR readers to give us a variety of ideas [rather than comment on ours].

ALSO NOTE: We've got all sorts of ideas on what we're going to do with/to these guys once we catch them, but feel free to offer your ideas too (no matter how inhumane, bloodthirsty, and gruesome).
an episode of Andy Griffith.....ClydeTri
Jun 6, 2003 11:59 AM
Wally's garage was getting all kinds of stuff stolen from it, so, they hid in the trunk of a car parked in the garage and caught the robbers!
Jun 6, 2003 12:16 PM
YOu could set them up with a top end bike and fill the frame tubes up with C-4 and a radio controlled detonator..wait for the them to steal it and kaboom!
an episode of Andy Griffith.....SpoiledBikeDaddy
Jun 7, 2003 7:44 AM
Excellent! You hide in the saddlebag, I'll take the pannier, and we'll catch them in the act!
cameras first of allkenyee
Jun 6, 2003 12:39 PM
I think it's a felony if they steal something over $3k or $5K, so all you have to do is: a) find out who they are, b) validate that what they stole was yours. No need to torture them...the cops and court system will drain their wallets enough :-)

For (a), add hidden cameras to the store. Webcams are so cheap now, it's probably easy to do this.

For (b), each an inventory# inside the tubes or stick a label inside each one or something. They probably won't take the time to look inside for stuff.
re: How to catch a bike thief?purplepaul
Jun 6, 2003 12:41 PM
A few years ago, someone was vandalizing my brother's bike. He kept it locked in a stairwell in his building. So, we installed a tiny camera inside the railing of the stairwell. We just drilled a 1/4" hole for the lens to peek through and ran a wire to his apartment, connected it to his VCR, popped in the longest playing tape we could get and continued for several days. One night, about midnight, one of the tenants came out of their apartment, looked around, saw no one, and starting kicking the sh!t out of the bike. The next day, with tape in hand, my brother knocked on the door, asked the guy if he had a problem with the bike and, when the guy denied it, offered to play him the tape. Ever since then, the guy has been REALLY nice to my brother, especially because he was far more calm and reasonable than I would have been. is where I've ordered micro cameras from and the quality is truly amazing, even from their sub $50 cameras. With a hidden VCR, the bike shop should be able to capture everything that goes on. And with video evidence, the police will be more willing to throw the book at the thieves.

A note of caution: it could be an inside job. Only the owner should know that the camera has been installed as it really could be anyone else (not to offend anyone; it's just that sometimes the most trusted employees take advantage of that fact). And if nobody else knows, there should be no taping while the store is open (not sure if it's legal to tape people without their permission).

Hope this helps.
monitor ebaycyclinseth
Jun 6, 2003 12:57 PM
it is my feeling that there is a lot of stolen merchendise being sold on ebay. If you suspect one of your bicycles is being sold on ebay, you could ask for a photo of the serial number to confirm that the seller does indeed posess the bicycle. This depends entirely on the seller using ebay though. I presume the shop has copies of the serial numbers.

I would suspect that a high end bicycle would be hard to unload
re: How to catch a bike thief?Fredrico
Jun 6, 2003 1:58 PM
The fact that they knew what they were after might suggest the booty will leave town and go into a higher level underground network. But most likely the theives, if they keep coming back, are just some local crack heads who will sell the bikes in the 'hood for fifty bucks apiece. The bikes will eventually find their way to the local pawnshop.

Insurance should cover the loss, right? Seems like video camera with tape recorder would have identified them if they kept coming back for more. Any patterns? Dates, days of week, entrances and exits?

How about a large vicious dog? Or two or three large, vicious dogs?
Volunteer- One Jack Russell Terrier named Sinbadchipnseal
Jun 6, 2003 4:55 PM
Sinbad will bite them...or will take a bologna sandwich as a bribe...

Good Luck!
Hey Chip- How many Jacks do you have?...merckx56
Jun 7, 2003 5:09 AM
or, how many Jacks let you live in their house?

My wife and I have two! The fun never ends!
My rough-coat Corkie4bykn
Jun 7, 2003 7:09 AM
These are interesting dogs. Their throttle is either on idle(asleep) or wide-freaking-open.

Man I do love my new digital camera. I see a subject to post in, get the camera and two minutes later it's on the forum.
beautifull jack..colker
Jun 7, 2003 12:12 PM
just got a b/w springer spaniel puppy, 5 weeks old!... and doesn't let me sleep, barking all night. boy, he can bark!
can't wait to take my mountain bike and toby to the woods
Hey Chip- How many Jacks do you have?...chipnseal
Jun 7, 2003 8:35 AM
Just the one. But with three boys, ages 8, 9 and 14, our house is usually hopping.

Your two are taking a break before the next big event I'm sure. Chasing something furry probably. Sometimes Sinbad will play with a stick, or anything he can find for hours...
Amazing little dogs!
Silent AlarmJervis
Jun 6, 2003 3:02 PM
A shop I worked at last summer had the same problem, though not nearly as high end bikes. For the first couple of weeks after the two robberies occured, my boss slept in the shop with a gun close at hand (we also sold guns, mind you it was a VERY small shop). Should you decide that this is a tad bit overboard, the shop could look into a silent alarm system that routes a warning to the police station, but cannot be heard from anywhere else. I don't believe they're too much (maybe $200-300 installed??) and it can be set up discretely in a couple of hours. I also agree with the camera idea. As for punishment when you find the guys (before the cops do) nothing beats a good solid caning. Or perhaps more appropriately a thumping with some old ridgid forks? The movie Predator II coming to mind, you could string them up by their ankles naked and paint blood all over them. They'd be too emotionally scarred to do anything wrong ever again.
I don't know how much trouble you want to go to here.djg
Jun 8, 2003 11:29 AM
Retail value approximately 12,000 bucks . . . let's see, if a close friend had a used civic stolen I'd certainly recommend she call the police to report the theft and then call her insurance company to do the same. And I wouldn't recommend anything else. In fact, if she were contemplating doing anything else I'd advise against it.