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Bike Lock? That Didn’t Stop This Thief

by Paul Bass | Jul 1, 2014 4:18 pm

(20) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Transportation, East Rock

A determined thief encountered a bike fastened to a rack—so he ripped the rack from the ground.

A nearby surveillance camera captured the episode. A video started making the rounds of East Rock block-watchers Wednesday. (Click above to watch it.)

It was one of two similar heavy-lifting attempted bike thefts to occur within a day of each other in the “Sohu”—south of Humphrey Street—enclave of East Rock. In the other incident, the thieves failed in the end to ride off with the prize.

Taken together, the two incidents offer a cautionary tale for cyclists looking to hang onto their bikes in the city, according to Sohu’s block watch captain, Lisa Seidlarz.

“People need to lock their bikes through the frame AND tires!” she wrote in a group email to her neighbors. If bikes are locked that way, it’s harder for thieves to ride off on them, even if they can uproot a bike rack.

The incident captured in the video occurred at Nash and Lawrence streets on June 25 at 6:18 p.m. The sun hadn’t even started setting yet. In full public view, the thief tugged and tugged at a bicycle, which was chained around its frame to the rack.

Finally the thief pried the whole rack out of the ground. The lock slipped off. The thief rode away.

“Street signs are even easier to get out of the ground,” Siedlarz noted in her email message.

Lt. Herb Sharp, the neighborhood’s top cop, said he knows of no similar recent bike theft involving a ripped-out rack. (It’s unclear from the video whether the thief slipped off the rack after the rack fell over, or whether the chain may have broken open.)

The day before, on June 24, two young men tried to steal a bike from a back yard on Pleasant Street at around 2 a.m., Siedlarz reported Tuesday.

The rattling woke up someone in the house, who described the incident this way to Siedlarz:

“I awoke to loud metal banging and saw two young males at the back porch ... in the process of stealing one of two bikes locked to the metal railing of the back porch. Before I could get my camera or phone to call the police, they had kicked the metal rung apart and took an old style road bike that was cable-locked to the railing and fled. ...

“The one that kicked the railing loose, retrieved his small, low-seated bike from the lawn and rode away. The other took the stolen bike and they both exited the driveway. The stolen bike was dropped at the end of the driveway because it couldn’t be ridden as mentioned above. It was confirmed today that the bike in the driveway was indeed the one taken from the porch.”

In this case, Siedlarz said, the owner had cable-locked both the frame and the front tire of the bike—and that made the difference.

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posted by: ILivehere on July 1, 2014  2:19pm

gentrification would fix this problem.

posted by: HewNaven on July 1, 2014  2:42pm

These don’t look like city bike racks. They look like the cheap version that Upper State Street Association puts in. I don’t think one should be able to just rip the whole rack out of the ground! LOL

posted by: cunningham on July 1, 2014  2:56pm

No, it’d just move it somewhere else.

posted by: McMansion man on July 1, 2014  3:16pm

Yes, would have to agree the vampire problem would fix this.  Gentrification can be a beautiful thing.

posted by: Threefifths on July 1, 2014  3:44pm

posted by: ILivehere on July 1, 2014 2:19pm

gentrification would fix this problem.

And How so.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 1, 2014  6:40pm

The real story is the lack of effort by NH Police to catch bike thieves. When was the last time they put out some bait and waited?

Bikes are an investment of money, a valued recreation equipment and cheap therapy. The loss of a bike hurts.

Considering that the police say that bike theft is an “epidemic”, why has it continued since the 1980s. You can check the NHI archives for articles on this.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 1, 2014  6:41pm

For theft prevention, check out various GPS devices for insertion into the bike. They cost a few bucks, but losing a bike is a lot costlier.

It’s time to fight back.

posted by: McMansion man on July 2, 2014  6:26am

@ Three fifths

As gentrification occurs and increases within a area/neighborhood, crime goes down.

As a “gentrifier”, the neighborhood(s) had their chance, the occupants failed to “step up” and maintain it in a clean and safe manner, now it is my turn. 

I am not aware of any crime ridden gentrified neighborhoods Unless you can provide a reference that proves that’s not true?

posted by: Threefifths on July 2, 2014  9:41am

posted by: McMansion man on July 2, 2014 6:26am

@ Three fifths

As gentrification occurs and increases within a area/neighborhood, crime goes down.

As a “gentrifier”, the neighborhood(s) had their chance, the occupants failed to “step up” and maintain it in a clean and safe manner, now it is my turn.

I am not aware of any crime ridden gentrified neighborhoods Unless you can provide a reference that proves that’s not true?

Did you read this.

Author Bloodied In Visit To City.

McCann (pictured) was attacked outside The Study at Yale Saturday night.

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/collum_mccann_attacked/

Also gentrification is associated with increasing larceny and robbery rates.

posted by: ILivehere on July 2, 2014  10:28am

@3/5
right that explains why we are always hearing about all the larceny and robbery reports out of Guilford and Madison. Everyone is always saying its to way to dangerous to walk along the Guilford green at night.

posted by: wendy1 on July 2, 2014  12:54pm

@ McMansion

WRONG…as gentrification increases crime goes up cause that’s where the $$$ is.  You should read Philip Slater who came up with the toilet assumption in The Pursuit of Loneliness.  You cant move far enough away.  To cut crime we must decrease poverty.  Meanwhile I own 2 bikes just in case.

posted by: ILivehere on July 2, 2014  1:20pm

@wendy1
Really can you give 1 real word example. Is New Cannon not safer then New Haven? Is Eastrock not safer then The Hill? It’s common sense and easily observable less poverty in close proximity = less crime.

posted by: Threefifths on July 2, 2014  2:13pm

posted by: ILivehere on July 2, 2014 1:20pm

@wendy1
Really can you give 1 real word example. Is New Cannon not safer then New Haven? Is Eastrock not safer then The Hill? It’s common sense and easily observable less poverty in close proximity = less crime.


First it is New Canaan.Second New Canaan is not a urban area and there is no gentrification going on in New Canaan or East Rock. But there are crimes base on larceny and robbery in both New Canaan and East Rock.Again show me data where gentrification would fix this problem.

posted by: wendy1 on July 2, 2014  2:18pm

@ ILIVEHERE….too.

posted by: ILivehere on July 2, 2014  2:30pm

@3/5
how about hells kitchen if you want an urban area http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell’s_Kitchen,_Manhattan

@Wendy1
Really you live downtown and you don’t understand why having crime and low end stores are killing property values and making it a less desirable place to live?

posted by: Threefifths on July 2, 2014  5:20pm

posted by: ILivehere on July 2, 2014 2:30pm

@3/5
how about hells kitchen if you want an urban area http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell’s_Kitchen,_Manhattan

Again what is your point.

posted by: TheMadcap on July 2, 2014  5:59pm

Thank you yuppie NHI readers for actually making me more on the side of 3/5 now in regards to his rants about gentrification.

posted by: William Kurtz on July 3, 2014  12:15pm

Bicycle theft is an ongoing problem and it’s not going away soon because the economics are good for thieves. It’s relatively high-reward and relatively little risk.

I would like to see the police take it seriously, since a bicycle can represent a sizable financial investment and for many, a primary means of personal transportation. The theft of a bike can be a major cost.

A few tips about bicycle security:

1. Use a good lock. The story mentions a ‘cable lock’. They’re useless, and some area bike shops won’t even sell them anymore. The thieves around here can chew through those. I once interrupted a bicycle thief (at 6:30 a.m., no less) twisting one around with his hands. Buy a good u-lock from a reputable bicycle shop or a heavy-duty chain like Kryptonite’s New York lock.

2. Any lock is only as good as the anchor. Secure your bike to a solidly-fixed object, like a parking meter or a dedicated rack cemented into the ground. The rack in the video was installed irresponsibly; no one should be able to just pull one out of the ground with seemingly little effort. Likewise, street signs are often just stuck a few feet into the dirt and can be easily yanked out. The posts on wooden porch railings are usually only held in with a nail or two and are easily broken. The short version? Don’t lock up to anything that’s easier to cut or remove than your lock.

3. Lock the bike properly. As Ms. Siedlarz said, it’s important to secure the frame and wheels. If you can only get the lock through one wheel, the rear one is more expensive to replace. Many u-locks come with short steel cables to thread through the wheels. If you have one, use the ‘u’ part to secure your frame and the cable for the wheels. You can also buy hardware to replace quick-release skewers on wheels and seats so that they are harder to remove.

4. Take bags, lights, panniers, and other easily-removable items with you when leaving your bike.

A wealth of information: http://goo.gl/gMzy8n

posted by: cunningham on July 3, 2014  1:12pm

Seconding everything William Kurtz says above. However: Kryptonite locks can be expensive - I recommend this: http://www.harborfreight.com/heavy-duty-padlock-chain-66067.html

Recently someone broke a key off in my padlock when I had my bike locked up outside the library. After days of fruitlessly trying to get the bike free, I finally asked a downtown beat cop for help. It took two cops the better part of a half hour with a sledgehammer, crowbar, and bolt-cutters to get my bike free by destroying the padlock. The chain was indestructible. All for less than $20 at the Harbor Freight on Whalley.

posted by: HewNaven on July 3, 2014  1:35pm

Cunningham,

Great comment. Often, when I recommended that a rider purchase a better lock, they’ll explain that the price is their only deterrent. The lock you link to above, seems like a good alternative, if only because of your anecdotal evidence of its strength. Thank you!

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