Bike Theft Chronicles

Bike theft is rampant and on the rise in the Portland region. We get so many inquiries, tips, and reader rants on the topic that we can’t possibly follow-up on all of them. That’s where Bike Theft Chronicles comes in. This column features anonymous reader rants and insights into the complicated underbelly of Portland’s bike theft crisis.

Send us your bike theft stories.

Bike Theft Chronicles: Man gives chase via cab but bike is still missing

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on March 23rd, 2015 at 8:59 am


Seen this bike?
(Photos courtesy David R.)

David R. got his bike stolen in the wee hours of Saturday morning. We’re posting this not only to help spread the word in hopes of getting it back, but also to share David’s story. He’s learned an important lesson. See if you can spot it in his email below.
[Read more…]

Bike Theft Chronicles: Accosted, chased, then recovered

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 24th, 2014 at 11:45 am

As more Portlanders get sick-and-tired of the bike theft-related activities happening in broad daylight all over our city, we’re hearing more incidents like the one just shared by reader Spencer B. this morning on the OBRA Chat email list:

SUBJECT: accosted, chased, chased suspect, then recovered high end MTB fork- Portland

long story short, this AM i rode underneath the Burnside Bridge where a group was finishing up chopping a high end bike. I yelled, they stalled, skeazy mkskeazo took the fork and bolted on his bike while I was surrounded. I broke free, chased the guy down in Old Town, the man proceeded to chuck the fork in the gutter when I got close.

Its expensive, its what I’d race MTB’s on. If you’ve lost anything recently send a message soon, otherwise its going into the black hole bike vault of the Portland Police Bureau.

Lock that business up.



Read more Bike Theft Chronicles.

Bike Theft Chronicles: Tracking down a chop shop in Hillsboro

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 18th, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Reader Evan B. shares what he knows about an alleged chop shop in Hillsboro — showing that bike theft isn’t just an issue here in Portland, but across the region…

(Evan’s message below also appeared on Reddit)

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to give you a heads up that there is most definitely a bicycle “chop shop” in Hillsboro. It is somewhere in the neighborhood of the area bounded by Baseline, Cornelius Pass, Lois, and Century roads.

My girlfriend and I had our u-locked bicycles stolen from our doorstep overnight on Sep 30th – Oct 1st. While out walking yesterday we caught the thief on her bike at the intersection of Cornelius Pass and Lois. I managed to grab the bike from him and pursue him for a few miles while on the phone with the police, but he ultimately got away.

Looking at the bike afterwards, we found parts from my missing bike had been installed on her bike, as well as the parts of many other, presumably stolen, bikes. This is a very common technique used by bicycle thieves to disguise stolen bikes and components.

While filling out the police report in the Albertsons parking lot, a bum approached us and corroborated much of what had happened, adding that he saw the general direction the thief headed. The police dispatched units to that area but have thus far come up with nothing.[Read more…]

Bike Theft Chronicles: Shop reports thieves are cutting cables to steal parts

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 20th, 2014 at 2:53 pm

This installment comes from our friends at Metropolis Cycle Repair on N. Williams and Page.

The shop owner Nathan Roll emailed us to share an alarming trend they’ve noticed at the store lately. Here’s what he posted to Facebook (emphases mine):

A heads up to all of our friends in the neighborhood. We have had 2 bikes come in during the last week that had significant parts stolen off of them. In both cases, the thief cut the control cables (brake and shift) to facilitate the theft. One had an expensive front rack taken while parked outside a workplace, the second had the handlebars and stem taken while locked outside the owners house. The first was at Thompson and Vancouver, and the second was at Williams and Morris. Unfortunately, a good lock is no defense in these situations. Stay watchful, and don’t leave your bike locked in public longer than necessary.

This really sucks. And I can relate. A few months ago while parked on the side of the EcoTrust Building in the Pearl District, someone cut the wire to my dynamo light and stole it.

Bike Theft Chronicles: DRT winning Bike Friday stolen, possibly seen in Portland

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 15th, 2014 at 1:26 pm

2014 Disaster Relief Trials-118

Stolen in Eugene on Friday and it might be in Portland now.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Willie Hatfield, the winner of Portland’s Disaster Relief Trials event has just informed us that the bike he used — a custom Bike Friday — was stolen in Eugene this past Friday. [Read more…]

Bike Theft Chronicles: ‘Scumbag’ stealing lights in broad daylight

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 15th, 2014 at 11:37 am

via reader email and Reddit:

[Read more…]

Bike Theft Chronicles: ‘They snapped the sign off the pole’

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on October 9th, 2014 at 9:40 am

This installment comes in the form of a Twitter conversation:

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Bike Theft Chronicles: Stolen from TriMet bus rack

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 8th, 2014 at 1:06 pm

From RM on 9/24/14:

“About two weeks ago my husband’s bike was stolen off the front of a TriMet bus. It was not taken by another rider. It was taken by a random person on the street who ran up to the bus, grabbed his bike and rode off. The driver alerted our friend, who had borrowed the bike but by the time she got off the bus the thief could not be caught. I contacted TriMet and got a weak sorry from them but no hint that they could or would compensate us for the loss. The person I spoke to said, “it’s public transit,” like that somehow made it all go away. From what I understand, this type of thing is a rarity and I would think that TriMet’s Risk department or some such would have a way to compensate (even a small amount) for the loss of something that was put in their care while someone is riding the bus. I’ve made a report to the police but am not holding my breath for a result. Our homeowner’s policy has a deductible greater than the value of the bike. I don’t know if you have any suggestions or influence in a matter of this sort, but any input or help would be greatly appreciated.”

— Read more Bike Theft Chronicles

Bike Theft Chronicles: “I can only conclude it’s all stolen”

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 6th, 2014 at 11:36 am

[Note: In case you missed the announcement, we are now posting reader emails, comments, and other communiques we come across regarding bike theft. We are hearing so much about this crisis, we can’t follow-up with a story on everything, so we figure the next best thing is just to try and highlight as many of these as we can. Keep in mind, these posts have not been vetted or verified by BikePortland, we are simply re-posting and will include a link to the original source when possible. – Jonathan]

From C T on 10/6/14:
[Read more…]

Bike Theft Chronicles: “I just feel so defeated and vulnerable”

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 1st, 2014 at 2:33 pm

“I’ve had it up to here with the stolen bike parts in Portland… This is just another notch in the belt of biker discrimination and injustice.”
— Reader email, 9/24/14

As we reported back in July, bike theft in Portland is out of control. The problem shows no sign of going away and in fact, if my judgment of web chatter and other intelligence-gathering channels I monitor daily is correct, it’s getting worse.

We are working to help in various ways (a major update to our Stolen Bike Listings is coming online soon and we’re sitting down with the PPB next week to talk about various strategies), but in the meantime I wanted to do something with the constant stream of emails we receive on this topic.
[Read more…]