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Video shows thief stealing bike from Red Cross while owner is inside giving blood

Posted by on March 17th, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Consider this video your monthly reminder to stay vigilant when it comes to protecting your bike from thieves.

On March 6th Portlander Dave Jasa rode his bike to the American Red Cross on North Vancouver Avenue and locked his Cannondale road bike up right outside the front door. While he was inside giving blood, a man casually walked up to his bike, took out a pair of bolt-cutters from his backpack, snipped the lock and then walked away with Dave’s bike. If you love to ride, and especially if you’ve ever experienced the heartache of a stolen bike, the video is hard to watch.

It is with great sadness,” Dave posted on Facebook that day, “that I announce my faithful bicycle, George, was stolen. He and I shared over 18 years and nearly 43,000 miles of adventures together.”

It is indeed sad. But hopefully Dave’s loss will inspire others to take measures to protect their bikes and/or increase the chances of recovering them.


Please remember to use as strong of a lock as you can. And no cable locks! Thieves cannot cut a strong u-lock quickly and easily. You’ll notice from the video how nervous the thief was during the cutting motions. He knew he’d only get a few tries at it before drawing too much attention and being forced to give up. That’s your goal when locking your bike. Make it so hard to defeat your lock(s) that a thief will either give or not even try to take it in the first place. Yes, it’s a sad state of affairs, but I’ve started using two locks (a Kryptonite u-lock and an Abus Bordo) when I park downtown.

Portland has some excellent resources to help educate you about bike theft prevention and recovery. Check out EndBikeTheft.org for starters. And stay tuned! The Portland Bike Theft Task Force just met yesterday and we’re planning our annual Bike Theft Summit for mid-May along with some other fun stuff planned for 2016.

UPDATE: Just got an email from Dave. “For my replacement bike I have purchased a U-lock,” he said. “Wish I would have used one with George.”

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: At BikePortland, we love your comments. We love them so much that we devote many hours every week to read them and make sure they are productive, inclusive, and supportive. That doesn't mean you can't disagree with someone. It means you must do it with tact and respect. If you see an inconsiderate or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan and Michael

56 Comments
  • Mike Quigley March 17, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Looks like he already stole one bike but found a better one. Also, some pretty clear facial shots that can be enhanced.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • bikeindex March 17, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Here’s the BikeIndex listing on the bike for those of you that want to keep an eye out: https://bikeindex.org/bikes/70049

    Cannondale T700, serial: IH B10302 00196

    “Outfitted for commuting and touring. Has Cateye Strada bicycle computer, Niterider 250 headlight, two tail lights, rear rack, Topeak road morph pump with gauge, seat pack with spare tube and Topeak alien multitool, Brooks B17 saddle, resin platform pedals with toe clips, and three water bottle cages. ”

    ^^^ of course most of this is likely stripped now, but if you see an online seller with these items – and a Cannondale T700 – give us a shout.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Eric Leifsdad March 17, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      Sorry about your bike. Thank you for knowing your serial number.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

  • specialK March 17, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Frank and Joe knew the bike had a squeaky drivetrain, and was stolen by a young bearded man, but this was Portland. Case remains unsolved.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Justin Gast March 17, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Can we get a law established that allows the owner to use bolt cutters to cut off a finger of the thief if he or she is caught? Such as law would allow us to easily recognize bike thieves, especially if they’ve been caught a few times.

    Recommended Thumb up 24

    • Adam H. March 17, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      No thanks.

      Recommended Thumb up 10

    • Patrick March 17, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Don’t be stupid.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • Justin Gast March 17, 2016 at 4:10 pm

        If you think I was serious then you need to look up the definition of “Joke.”

        I hope George finds his way home.

        Recommended Thumb up 10

        • Adam H. March 17, 2016 at 4:11 pm

          Joking about inciting violence upon others is never funny.

          Recommended Thumb up 16

          • Justin March 17, 2016 at 7:40 pm

            People so quick to get offended by comments around here

            Recommended Thumb up 26

            • joebobpdx March 17, 2016 at 8:40 pm

              I’m offended and outraged by your reply. This the comments section of a bike advocacy page. On the internet. Outrage is our most important product. C’mon! Get with it!

              Recommended Thumb up 8

              • Melinda March 18, 2016 at 9:03 am

                I am outraged by your outrage. Even my cat, Simon, is outraged. Have a great day folks and be safe out there!

                Recommended Thumb up 13

    • Steve B. March 17, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      This has to be one of the most abhorrent comments I’ve ever read on this site.

      Recommended Thumb up 11

      • Oliver March 18, 2016 at 9:24 am

        I suppose if I motion to report a ‘shoot on sight’ resolution out of committee, I won’t be getting a second from you then.

        Recommended Thumb up 9

    • Racer X March 17, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Sorry…you will have to move to ISIL land or other parts where such justice is more common.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Adam H. March 17, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I use no less than three different locks every time I lock up: a U-lock, a folding lock, and a frame lock; in addition to pinhead bolts securing my wheels, headset, seatpost, and saddle. No, I don’t think I’m paranoid. ;-)

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Mike Reams March 18, 2016 at 10:25 am

      If you have a nice bike, it’s not overkill.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Paul Z March 18, 2016 at 10:48 am

      What, no ankle cuff?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Pete March 19, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      That’s called the “defense in depth” approach. :)

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • eddie March 22, 2016 at 11:09 am

      What is a frame lock? I use a thick cable lock and a bulldog mini, independently locked so the thief would have to get through both locks to steal the bike.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Patrick March 17, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    It looks like that there was some sort of lock still on the bike since the wheel seem like it’s not turning. Was the wheel secured with a substantial lock and the lock to the rack with a cable?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Dave Jasa March 17, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      I am the sad owner of George the bike. Thank you Jonathan for posting the video. I have learned my lesson and now have a good U-lock for my replacement bike. Wish I would have learned the lesson before George had been stolen.

      In answer to the question about a lock on the wheel … There was just one cable lock through the frame and wheel and then secured to the bike rack. The front wheel is not turning because the bike thief did not pull the cable out of the front wheel after he cut it.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Peejay March 17, 2016 at 5:44 pm

        Dave,

        Are you the Dave I shared a bike shed at ESI for six years with? And I didn’t tell you to throw that cable lock away in all that time?

        So sorry for your loss, and I hope you get out there and keep riding.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

        • Dave Jasa March 17, 2016 at 6:06 pm

          Yes, that’s me. I had the big blue Cannondale.

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          • Dave Jasa March 17, 2016 at 6:42 pm

            Yes I will keep riding. Got a replacement bike last Sun. and this time I got a good U-lock.

            Recommended Thumb up 4

            • Pete March 17, 2016 at 10:42 pm

              Make sure it doesn’t have a key code etched on it…

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          • Pete March 19, 2016 at 10:32 pm

            Small world. I see on LinkedIn we have a few friends in common (Frank, Leo, likely others). I’d done business with ESI years ago while at Electroglas. Good luck with your recovery. My neighbor saw my bike being ridden the other day, couldn’t do anything about it.

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      • Retired Cop. March 21, 2016 at 9:57 pm

        Dave,

        Sorry for your loss. I understand how important and sentimental a bicycle or many other items can become to its owner.

        May I suggest you use a combination of an Abus or Kryptonite padded New York chain and u lock or an Abus Bordo 6400 such as the one I use and like very much that has a nice rubber holder that mounts to the two bolts that hold a water bottle cage.

        I hate to see this happen to good people, or anyone for that matter.

        Have a better day Dave.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Max March 17, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Another cable lock victim?

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Steve B. March 17, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I’ve gone to a number of community meetings at this Red Cross where the bike parking is overflowing. I’m not sure it would have prevented this theft but more bike parking, especially replacing those wheel-based locks under the awning is a necessary improvement for folks arriving by bike here.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Scott H March 17, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    At this point, shouldn’t it be a crime to sell cable locks?

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Eric Leifsdad March 17, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      Shouldn’t it be a crime to steal bikes? Even if you simply tie a nice bow in a shoelace to secure your bike, it’s still your bike. Please don’t blame the shoelace or the victim.

      I’m not looking forward to a time when sub-5lb u-locks are blamed for bike theft.

      Recommended Thumb up 10

      • 9watts March 17, 2016 at 11:55 pm

        I certainly wouldn’t disagree that stealing bikes is a crime. But I also appreciate the pragmatics of using a U-lock to lock my bike. I have for thirty years, and although attempts have been made to steal my bike, the only time they were successful was when I forgot to lock it (with the U-lock). As we’ve had ample opportunity to learn right here, a U-lock is no panacea, but since this is an actuarial exercise I’ll go with the U-lock, thank you.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

    • GlowBoy March 21, 2016 at 9:25 am

      “At this point, shouldn’t it be a crime to sell cable locks?”

      No. Cable locks are still useful for secondary security: locking a wheel, saddle, etc., assuming you’ve at least locked the frame and likely a wheel with a U-lock.

      Should it be a crime to deliberately sell someone a cable lock, knowing they’ll use it as their primary lock? Maybe.

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  • 9watts March 17, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    “Please remember to use as strong of a lock as you can. And no cable locks! Thieves cannot cut a strong u-lock quickly and easily. ”

    Thanks for that, Jonathan.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • AEG March 17, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    poor George looked like he put up a struggle. So sad!!

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Pete March 17, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    If you have a U-lock, check to see if it has a key code etched on it. If it does, grind it off. We just lost my wife’s commuter bike this way, a trusty old Gary Fisher Tassajara that I bought in Corvallis years ago. I’d just built it as a an 8×1 with 44T ring with guard, Shimano Zee clutched rear derailleur, and SRAM x4 shifter (same actuation as the Zee). Thief walked right up to the bike in front of a very busy hospital entrance in broad daylight, but when you have the matching key nobody knows it’s not yours (even though he’s a short guy and she’s 6’2″). I hope he cut himself trying to grind the wheel locks off…

    Also, hope your Cannondale finds its way back!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Chris L March 18, 2016 at 9:08 am

    This ad brought to you by U-LOCK!
    (Disclaimer: Still just a real-life actual lock, which can be cut in seconds, as I’ve been victim of, and even done myself when my lock failed)

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • 9watts March 18, 2016 at 9:36 am

      I think I’m missing something. You know how many seconds (as opposed to minutes) it took the thieves to steal your bike?

      Like I said above, this is an actuarial game. Most bikes (it would seem) that are stolen in this town are (still) not locked at all, or not locked properly (frame and wheel to stationary object) with a U-lock. Unless you have some above average expensive-looking bike, my hunch would be that your bike has a *very* good chance of being there when you return if you follow standard U-lock procedures.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • lyle w. March 21, 2016 at 6:35 am

      The ironic part is, the selling point of Ulocks is that a thief will just continue on down the line looking for a bike that is cable locked when they see you have a ulock on yours. So on one hand, ulocks depend on cable locks to exist as a superior option, and then on the other hand, they sell you on that advantage.

      In reality, as anybody who knows how to operate an angle grinder, bottlejack, etc knows, it’s incredibly easy to get through a ulock if you’re motivated.

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      • 9watts March 21, 2016 at 7:00 am

        “ulocks depend on cable locks to exist as a superior option”

        I’ve been referring to this as an actuarial game. You are right, to a point. But if you take this one step further and imagine that everyone’s gotten with the program and now not only appreciates that a decent U-lock is just part of the standard equipment but also buys and uses one, I am quite certain that the incidence of bike theft will drop dramatically.

        “In reality, as anybody who knows how to operate an angle grinder, bottlejack, etc knows, it’s incredibly easy to get through a ulock if you’re motivated.”

        I’m not sure about ‘incredibly easy.’ I know it can be done, but the requirements (bulk of equipment, noise in the case of cordless grinders, chutzpah in deploying either) are not nothing, so I don’t think at this stage of the game, when 90%(?) of bikes stolen are not properly locked with a U-lock. it is that useful to be all defeatist about this. Let’s give it a decent shot and then see where things stand, eh?

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        • GlowBoy March 21, 2016 at 9:27 am

          I know it’s not always that *difficult* to defeat a U-lock, but it’s quite a few times harder to defeat than a cable lock. Even if cable locks disappeared overnight, thieves would have a harder job. And not all U-locking is created equal: it’s pretty hard to defeat a mini-U with a bottle jack, for example.

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  • Brian M. March 18, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I watched almost the whole video before I realized I was watching the thief and not the owner of the bike that was about the be stolen. That is some pretty good cover to show up with a bike, helmet on and pretending you are about to lock your bike up. Thieves are getting pretty tricky. That said, hard to believe he did not clear the front wheel before trying to walk away. I was waiting for him to completely fall over.

    Sorry for your loss, Dave.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Mike Reams March 18, 2016 at 10:33 am

    This video made me think of a couple of things:

    One, I remember one of Jonathan’s posts a few months back about stopping a bike thief. It is suspicious for someone to be constantly looking around when they approach a bike rack.

    Another, as the thief was struggling to get away, I wondered if there is a more covert lock that could lock your tires in a non-obvious manner. Something that locks your hub? That way, even if the thief manages to remove your bike from the rack, he will not be able to ride away. This would not work on performance bikes as it would add weight to the bike but, for a nice commuter, I would gladly take a few extra ounces to increase the likelihood of my bike still being there.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Adam H. March 18, 2016 at 10:45 am

      A frame lock is what you’re describing.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Paul Z March 18, 2016 at 10:54 am

      How about a hitch pin thru a chain link?

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  • Paul Z March 18, 2016 at 10:58 am

    What became of the thief’s bike? Evidence?

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Dave Jasa March 18, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      I don’t know what happened to the thiefs bike. It was there when I left the Red Cross, though at the time I didn’t know the thief had left it.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • mh March 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm

        Did you go right back in to report the theft? Is that how you got the video?

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        • Dave Jasa March 20, 2016 at 12:23 pm

          Yes, I reported it immediately to the security guard at the Red Cross. A couple of days later they sent me the video.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Mark Smith March 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    If it’s a well equipped bike that is high quality, as this bike appeared to be, a thief will work at it as long as they can. They can sell it for 1/2 of new on clist.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • eddie March 22, 2016 at 11:26 am

      that’s the key, though, isn’t it? As long as they can. More locks means more time, means they’ll pass over a bike which looks like a pain to steal. I’m all for removing the front wheel, actually, that alone significantly lessens the likelihood of theft. If they get through all the locks they wouldn’t be able to ride the bike away.

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  • lyle w. March 21, 2016 at 6:32 am

    That guy needs to take some lessons in being less suspicious. I mean, come on, can it be any more obvious that you’re up to no good?

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  • fozman March 21, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Justin Gast
    If you think I was serious then you need to look up the definition of “Joke.”
    I hope George finds his way home.
    Recommended 10

    I looked it up:
    “a thing that someone says to cause amusement or laughter, especially a story with a funny punchline.”

    You statement fails that definition.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • eddie March 22, 2016 at 11:24 am

    how to break into a folding lock

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtCY3GC5VYY

    a cable lock and a U lock

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYUf4h0Lv_8

    I think a frame lock would actually be harder to cut, given how close to the rim it is… they’d have to drill out the keyhole, which would only take a few seconds, but they’d need a drill and a bit to do it, plus time and noise.

    At the end of the day, there isn’t a lock in the world which can’t be broken.

    You just have to have enough lockage to make the thief pass over your bike, they’ll look at it and figure it would just take too long to take.

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  • eddie March 22, 2016 at 11:32 am

    then again…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0VUiTwKcPU

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