Particularly if you’re parking your bike at work, you can’t have enough security. Our office complex is a good example; bike thieves have found our location offers a nice selection of good quality bikes.
Earlier this year they cut the hasps off of two of our bike locker locks. Fortunately it was overnight and no bikes were in the lockers. Our landlord upgraded the locks to something quite bombproof. But they only provide four lockers, and we have more than a dozen people routinely biking to work, so they built a bike cage, located right next to the parking garage attendant’s booth. Should be nice and secure, right, with an attendant sitting there most of the time?
Well, Friday (day after Thanksgiving) someone’s bike was stolen from the cage during the workday (I don’t know if there was an attendant on hand). The following Monday the victim of the first theft spotted a suspicious character who indeed turned out to be the thief. He wrote:
When I left the office today at 5 pm (with my car since I don’t have a bike anymore) taking the Livingston exit, I saw a somewhat suspicious looking guy walking onto the parking garage property. On a closer look I saw a pair of pliers sticking out of the back pocket of his pants. Having a hint at what he might be up to, I circled around the garage to where the bike shed is located. Sure enough, the guy already got to work on one of the bikes parked there and had the lock already cracked open (must be a pro). Walking towards the shed, I was yelling at him asking what the heck he was doing. At the same time I told the parking attendant to call the police (which he didn’t but I ended up doing). Caught in the act, the guy, pushing his newly acquired bike, rushed out of the shed when I stepped in his way. What followed was a brief physical confrontation which I backed out off as soon as he threatened (with one hand in his pocket) to stab me. At that point, I decided to let go. So he sped off the lot and got away. Looking back, I am pretty sure he was bluffing and did not have a knife in his pocket but at time that I wasn’t really eager to find out…
Anyway, I then I called the police who sent an officer. I gave him a pretty good description of the guy and filed a report not only for thievery but also for assault. Also, the police collected the tools and the cracked lock the thief left behind to check them for fingerprints.
Both of these recent thefts involved cable locks, not U-locks or heavy-duty chains. As someone who lost a bike by getting his cable cut last year, I can’t stress it enough — don’t use one except as supplemental security for your wheels. Even if you think the location provides surveillance, assume it doesn’t. Bike thieves can seemingly work with impunity.
Watch this video to see how thoroughly people ignore bicycle theft.