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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.

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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: 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

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Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

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

Bryan Hance (The Bike Index)
Subscriber

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.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

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

specialK
Guest
specialK

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.

Justin Gast
Guest
Justin Gast

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.

Adam
Subscriber

No thanks.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Don’t be stupid.

Justin Gast
Guest
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.

Adam
Subscriber

Joking about inciting violence upon others is never funny.

Justin
Guest
Justin

People so quick to get offended by comments around here

joebobpdx
Guest
joebobpdx

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!

Melinda
Guest
Melinda

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

Steve B.
Guest
Steve B.

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

Oliver
Guest
Oliver

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.

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

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

Adam
Subscriber

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. 😉

Mike Reams
Guest
Mike Reams

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

Paul Z
Guest
Paul Z

What, no ankle cuff?

Pete
Guest
Pete

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

eddie
Guest
eddie

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.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

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?

Dave Jasa
Guest
Dave Jasa

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.

Peejay
Guest
Peejay

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.

Dave Jasa
Guest
Dave Jasa

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

Dave Jasa
Guest
Dave Jasa

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

Pete
Guest
Pete

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

Pete
Guest
Pete

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.

Retired Cop.
Guest
Retired Cop.

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.

Max
Guest
Max

Another cable lock victim?

Steve B.
Guest
Steve B.

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.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

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

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

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.

9watts
Subscriber

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.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

“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.

9watts
Subscriber

“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.

AEG
Guest
AEG

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

Pete
Guest
Pete

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!

Chris L
Guest
Chris L

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)

9watts
Subscriber

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.

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

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.

9watts
Subscriber

“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?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

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.

Brian M.
Guest
Brian M.

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.

Mike Reams
Guest
Mike Reams

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.

Adam
Subscriber

A frame lock is what you’re describing.

Paul Z
Guest
Paul Z

How about a hitch pin thru a chain link?

Paul Z
Guest
Paul Z

What became of the thief’s bike? Evidence?

Dave Jasa
Guest
Dave Jasa

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.

mh
Subscriber

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

Dave Jasa
Guest
Dave Jasa

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

Mark Smith
Guest
Mark Smith

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.

eddie
Guest
eddie

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.

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

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?

fozman
Guest
fozman

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.

eddie
Guest
eddie

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.

eddie
Guest
eddie