Splendid Cycles

Metro’s e-bike stolen while locked up at Pioneer Square

Posted by on February 2nd, 2012 at 9:42 am

A bike like this one was stolen from
downtown Portland on Friday.

Metro’s electric bike was stolen while locked up at Pioneer Square last Friday. The bike is worth about $2,000 and was the only e-bike in Metro’s vehicle fleet (which also includes a cargo bike and a standard bike).

According to Vicki Papasadero with Metro Office Services, an employee was attending a meeting at an office near Pioneer Square, locked up the bike with a “big chain lock” and when he returned from the meeting the bike was gone.

The bike was originally purchased at The eBike Store in North Portland. Store owner Wake Gregg says it was a white “Pathfinder ST” model with serial number PB91709163 (found on headset) like the one in the photo at right.

Papasadero says Metro has filed a police report and they hope the bike turns up; but they’re not waiting around. “We are going to replace it,” she says.

Keep your eyes peeled.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • mark ginsberg February 2, 2012 at 10:01 am

    End of trip secure parking is pretty important. Maybe Metro will learn this in the properties they manage too!(cough convention center cough)

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    • Kevin February 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      I completely agree. I know every time I go by the Beaverton Transit Center I my heart warms when I see 20 bikes parked in unsecured space, and the bright shiny new secure building never has more than 5 bikes in it. More of that is what we definitely need.

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  • Kris Akins February 2, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Man, we need to get that tracker out there!!

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  • Daniel Knighten February 2, 2012 at 10:29 am

    This is definitely one of the less discussed challenges to widespread adoption of bike transportation. You simply can not leave a bike worth more than about $500 locked up in public, and even bikes worth less than that will get cannibalized. It’s really depressing.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 2, 2012 at 10:36 am

      While I agree w/ you that fears of stolen bikes are a barrier for some people to try riding, I don’t agree w/ you that it has to be such a problem.

      A simple U-lock will keep your bike safe (at least in Portland). Note that this bike was locked with a chain! Anything but a u-lock is inviting thieves to take your bike.

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      • Alan 1.0 February 2, 2012 at 10:44 am

        What sort of chain was on this bike locked with? Any evidence of how it was defeated? A case-hardened chain and lock is about as resistant as a good, case-hardened U-lock.

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        • joel February 5, 2012 at 11:07 am

          octagonal chains by masterlock and kryptonite do not allow bolt cutters.

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      • dmc February 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

        I absolutely agree. A U-lock is manditory. In addition to a U-lock I used a cable lock as well for more of a visual deterrent

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      • spare_wheel February 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm

        I have had two bikes stolen and in both cases they were secured with top of the line u-locks. A u-lock can be cut off in a minute or so with a cheap portable dremel or angle grinder. Even a carbide blade hack saw will make short work of cheaper u-locks. Anyone who locks an expensive bike with a u-lock and feels any measure of security is delusional.

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        • Scott February 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm

          You need to stop locking your bikes in a soundproof room with adequate lighting and access to electrical outlets.

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          • spare_wheel February 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm

            CORDLESS dremel $40-100

            car jack: $20-50

            hacksaw: $20

            liquid nitrogen and mallet: $10

            just sayin’

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            • Scott February 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm

              All of those situations looked highly plausible. Thank you for opening my eyes to these quick, silent, truly thief worthy lock attacks.

              I would also like to point out that the first lock was an On-Guard, which although I wrote it in a post earlier trying to be nice, I would not lock up a bag of poop with because they use brass tumblers and you can beat it with a hand drill (the non-electric kind). The CORDLESS Dremel used sure did have a long cord and look like a Ryobi disc grinder with a cutting disc attachment.

              The lock beat with a jack was a 1st gen Krypto and I have no idea why he went through all of the trouble to use the jack while in the safety, comfort, and privacy of his own garage and could have broke the foot with a hammer.

              Those guys on the deck with the hacksaw could have taken days to do that since it was most likely WHERE THEY LIVED, and last but not least I can’t believe that that no name lock with the square barrel and flat spring strikers was beaten by liquid nitrogen HOW AMAZING!!!extreme sarcasm!!!!

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              • maxadders February 3, 2012 at 12:21 am

                yeah seriously. any lock can be defeated given infinite time and resources. like anything you need to secure in an urban environment, inconvenience is the best deterrent.

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              • spare_wheel February 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

                when i filed a police report after my series 2 mini u-lock was sawed through the officer stated that this happens all the time.

                while it is possible that you have not had a bike stolen because of your deep knowledge of bike locks, its also possible that you were:

                a) lucky


                b) have bikes and components that are hard to fence for a cheap hit

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              • Scott February 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm

                Truly. My bikes are always patented by absurdity. Custom frames and extremly nice parts don’t seem like such a big purchase when they last for 10 plus years in durability and resist theft due to uniqueness.

                Also lock knowledge is only good for anything when paired with common sense. My bike used to be directly responsible for my paycheck, so yeah, I did it right every time.

                Now it is just natural to lock my bike right.

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        • Stripes February 4, 2012 at 8:30 am

          wow. thanks for advertising that fact to THE ENTIRE WORLD!

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    • 9watts February 2, 2012 at 11:33 am

      “You simply can not leave a bike worth more than about $500 locked up in public”
      you may be right. But one way around this is not to ride a bike worth more than $500 – or at least make sure it doesn’t look like it is worth more. So many of the gleaming sleek expensive bikes advertise themselves: ‘I cost almost as much as a car.’

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    • Scott February 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      For 15 years as a messenger I locked up Italian frames with full Campagnolo Record groups (C-Record on my track bike) all day long in New York, Chicago, Denver, and Portland. Well over $3000 worth of bike.

      I’ve never even had a seat stolen because I knew what I was doing and how to do it. This is not just a quick lock either. I have sat in messengers center for hours and been fine.

      Now I ride a desk and all day long I forget to put attachments on emails and crap like that. If you have any kind of well made lock (Kryptonite, On-Guard, Knog) and your bike is stolen then either the lock was put on wrong or the thief really wanted your bike.

      So learn how to lock your bike up right and remember that if a thief wants it, it will be taken. That goes for everything.

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  • thefuture February 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

    There’s this great blog that has a stolen bike registry they may want to add this to:


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    • Stripes February 4, 2012 at 8:33 am

      I am also incredulous that Jonathan’s BikePortland Stolen Bikes Listings makes NO provision for how the bike was locked up.

      It should be a mandatory question when you are filling out the form. There should be a drop-down menu that lists all the different types of locks, and you have to pick one, in the same way whenever you fill out your address online anywhere, you have to pick you state.

      How the bike was stolen is THE most important piece of data.

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  • Editz February 2, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I’ve always said this would make for a great local TV news series. Instead of those stupid ‘Dirty Dining’ segments, how about ‘Catch a Bike Thief’? Use a planted bike and have camera crews chasing down some dirtbag, ending with a Chris Hansen “Why don’t you have a seat over here?” ala ‘To Catch a Predator’.

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  • naomi February 2, 2012 at 10:52 am

    bike shops should really do a much better job informing people about how useless most the locks they sell really are (ie cable wires, etc). i see super nice bikes all the time that are locked up with nothing more than a flimsy wire, a chain (looks intimidating, is actually weak), etc. how can a cyclist-savvy town like this still have so much ignorance toward adequate bike locks? i even see lots of the old bic-pen-vulnerable ulocks being used. i leave post-its informing them of such.

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    • Alan 1.0 February 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

      naomi: i even see lots of the old bic-pen-vulnerable ulocks being used. i leave post-its informing them of such.

      How do you tell which ones are vulnerable to Bic attacks?

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      • 9watts February 2, 2012 at 11:31 am

        those that use a round (cylindrical) key (rather than the flat style key that replaced them).

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        • Alan 1.0 February 2, 2012 at 11:55 am

          Well, not all tubular-key locks are susceptible to Bic attacks, not even all tubular-key Kryptos:

          Kryptonite researched the allegation, recognized that some (but not all) of the products using tubular cylinders could be opened this way and went to work creating a plan to stand by our customers.
          — Donna Tocci, Public Relations Manager for Kryptonite (emphasis mine)

          Kudos to naomi for for trying to help out vulnerable bikers but details matter when it comes down to which locks work and which fail, just like Jonathon’s dissing of all chain locks when actually case-hardened chain is a very good theft deterrent. I think most bike store folks know all that stuff, but they’re faced with customers asking for convenience, price, light weight, etc., which leads to compromises on the lock’s security. Naomi also nailed it with asking why a cyclist-savvy place like Portland isn’t more informed about bike locking, but we’re all human and I guess in this case someone at Metro didn’t get the memo.

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          • GlowBoy February 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm

            It may be that some tubular-key models were not vulnerable, but even among the others vulnerability varied greatly depending on the exact pin pattern on the key.

            When this fiasco hit the media, I tested out my two round-key Kryptonite locks — both the same model. I was able to open one of them after a couple minutes of trying (this was with zero practice), and I was unable to defeat the other despite working on it for an hour or so.

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          • Spiffy February 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm

            very true… at the time the news came out we were able to open my roommate’s lock with a Bic but not mine… so I’ve kept using mine…

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    • Scott February 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      …And customers should not be such cheap pricks and pony up for the lock that the clerk actually recommends instead of going for the cheap crap because they think “it will work just fine”, or my favorite “that they live in a good neighborhood”.

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    • Scott February 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      I also think it is right neighborly of you to post notes about how easy it is to beat a lock on someones bike that is locked up. Real nice of you. Got any gas you can throw on me when I catch fire?

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      • naomi February 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm

        I also think it is right neighborly of you to post notes about how easy it is to beat a lock on someones bike that is locked up. Real nice of you. Got any gas you can throw on me when I catch fire?
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        because im sure that’s the first thing bike thieves look for – post-it notes. your attitude could use some working on, btw.

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        • Scott February 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm

          No, bike thieves know what they are doing. It is their job.

          D-bags who want to see if what they saw 4 years ago on the “Big In Japan” blog actually works. Those are the ones that would steal a bike with a proclamation note on the lock.

          Your hero rap could use some working on, btw.

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          • naomi February 2, 2012 at 10:13 pm

            i don’t mention anything about a pen or how to unlock the u-lock on the post-it so how would someone automatically know to use that? perhaps you could’ve asked what i wrote on the post-it instead of assuming i give step-by-step instructions on how to steal their bike.

            honestly, your attitude is gross. don’t come at people so aggressively, especially when you’re insinuating i’m explaining to criminals how to thieve bikes. being a little less hostile to people on this site wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for you.

            your attitude on here says a lot about you. just saying.

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            • Scott February 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm

              “i even see lots of the old bic-pen-vulnerable ulocks being used. i leave post-its informing them of such.”

              What does it say then?

              “Dear person, your _____ is vulnerable to ______ attacks with a _____.”

              Does it just say “LOCK WARNING” with no useful information?

              Look, I was just saying. My attitude towards this thread was quite jovial. Any tone is imbued by you. That probably says a lot about you as a person.

              It’s the internet. Don’t take it personal. Take it out on Al Gore.

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  • Todd Boulanger February 2, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Yes the provision of secure and convenient bike parking is THE missing link left for bike friendly cities. Why is it the City of Portland is expected to provide quality secure off street car parking (Smart Park) but not bicycle parking?

    There are many great products out there for this : Bikelink, Bikestation, Biciberg, etc. Why is it expected that cyclists carry a heavy chain and lock around that might weight 20% of it’s vehicle weight vs a 3 ounce card or fob?

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  • Bikesalot February 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    “You simply can not leave a bike worth more than about $500 locked up in public”

    There are almost NO recumbent bikes available for less than $500. We should perhaps only do rides that end up in private locations or where we always stay on the bike?

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    • 9watts February 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      “There are almost NO recumbent bikes available for less than $500.”

      Who said you had to buy new? Can you say depreciation? Keep your recumbent around and lock it up and the problem (as phrased) will solve itself soon enough.

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  • Spiffy February 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    this seems like a stupid thing to steal… not a lot of them, nobody will buy it without a serial number, homeless people can’t charge the batteries easily…

    what is the thief thinking? they going to go through the trouble of parting it out? that would also be too risky for this kind of bike…

    I say the prospects are good that they’ll find this bike…

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    • Scott February 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      Ten bucks says that the sweet lock was placed around the seatpost, or was not attached to the fixed portion of the locking process and that bike is getting joyridden around the city by what would be better described as impish hooligans rather than actual bike thieves.

      Where is the lock?

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  • pdxpaul February 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Jonathan – I saw the mother effer who did it. I was curious, and had a bad feeling about it, but I had no good reason to accost him. He got on the Max headed towards the east side (red/blue). He was carrying the it with the back wheel up – I don’t think he had to cut the lock there…

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    • Roberta February 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      pdxpaul – See my comment below (hopefully?). Any additional details would be helpful. What time? What stop they got on? What train? Where they got off? Anything.

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    • Scott February 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      If he was able to carry it on to the Max, then it was not locked up. A lock being on the bike doesn’t mean that the bike is locked up.

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    • Stripes February 4, 2012 at 8:36 am

      If you saw it, and thought it suspicious, in any core part of your being, then you have PERFECTLY good reason to accost him. Just ask him to show you his key. If he doesn’t have one, phone the police.

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  • mark ginsberg February 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    @ pdxpaul, if you saw the alleged thief with the bike on max, there should be video. you should contact the police or metro and let them know ASAP as Tri_met only keep video about 2 days!

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  • Todd Hudson February 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    This is why I lock my bike with TWO locks – a new Kryptonite U-Lock and Master Streetcuffs. A good thief can defeat a good lock, but it takes an exceptional thief to beat three (Streetcuffs have two locks).

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  • Roberta February 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    pdxpaul – do you remember the time you may have seen the person? What stop did they get on at? Any other details? It would be helpful in determining if we might have video.

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    • pdxpaul February 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Roberta – I can’t tell you the exact time, it was around noon. It was the Pioneer Square stop. He got on an eastbound train, in about the middle. I’m hesitant to give a description in this thread because it would be kinda general.

      You can get my email address from Jonathan if you want to follow up offline.

      I was hoping you’d be able to get video and find out where he got off… it would have to have been close to home, because, like I said, the back wheel was still locked.

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      • Roberta February 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm

        Thanks for the additional information. We have connected with the police on this.

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  • pdxpaul February 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I hope to see this post updated with a ‘recovered’ tag!

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  • Kevin Wagoner February 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Jonathan, my assumption was that ulocks were easily broken with jacks. Do you know if they are really more safer? Hope so. I lock by bike up with a ulock and a cable lock. I hope that the need for two different tools to break two different kinds of locks is an increased deterrent.

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    • JA February 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Most u-locks are easily broken with car jacks, which are a common tool used to steal bikes in New York and SF, I didn’t think the Portland thieves had caught on to that trick in large numbers (perhaps due to the easy pickings with all the bikes here still using cable locks), maybe I’m wrong though.

      You can avoid car-jack attack by using one of the “shorty” u-locks that leave only a tiny bit of clearance between the bike and the rack. If they can’t fit the jack inside of the arc of the lock they can’t break it. Of course, those shorty locks don’t leave any room for a cable, so you might want to invest in pinhead locks or something similar for your wheels and seat.

      Also, thieves almost never carry more than one type of tool. If you lock your bike with both a u-lock and a sturdy chain made for that purpose almost any thief is going to keep walking looking for an easier target.

      This is what I did when I lived in a high-theft area, but it certainly adds a lot of weight… Here in portland I think a shorty u-lock and component locks are more than adequate. As I said, plenty of easier pickings in this town for the time being.

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  • Joe February 3, 2012 at 9:33 am

    If you can 2 ulocks better then 1. couple Fridays ago I yelled at this dude running with bolt cutters. he took off fast.

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  • John Landolfe February 3, 2012 at 9:36 am

    It seems to me, e-bikes should come standard with GPS. I mean, they’re supposed to be snazzy and modern, right? My phone has GPS and it cost me $50.

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  • Portland's One-Stop Electric Bicycle Shop
    Portland's One-Stop Electric Bicycle Shop February 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    @pdxpaul Bike has an Axa defender rear wheel lock that was used, so the rear wheel would not spin – the bike would have to be carried. Footage should be fairly straight forward to spot.

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  • zed February 3, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Track the criminal & rock the shocker!


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  • K February 4, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Never use cable locks. Never, never, never!!

    Bike shops are practically complicit in the bike theft industry by even selling them.

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  • Portland's One-Stop Electric Bike Shop
    Portland's One-Stop Electric Bike Shop August 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    This Bike was recovered last week when PPD was searching the house of a man arrested for a different crime. Will require moderate repair work, but it has been recovered. Wake

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