08 September 2015

24-Karat Stupidity

A few months ago, I wrote a post in which I related something a police commander told me once:  "Lucky for us that most criminals are stupid."

Citibike--the bike-share program in my hometown, New York City, is fortunate that at least one thief was foolish.

Yesterday, when I was on my way to meet a friend for lunch, I saw a bike propped against garbage cans in front of a row house.

I took a photo of it which I, unfortunately, deleted accidentally.  However, the bike looked very much like the one in this image:

The perp took a Citibike and sprayed it with gold paint.  Said crook covered the serial number and anything with the Citibike logo  However, he (as a former male, I am assuming--not unreasonably, I believe--the thief is male) did not spray the front of the bike.  Thus, the head tube and fork showed the familiar Citibike blue:  a shade not found on very many other bikes.

Also. as you can see from this photo, the frame's distinctive shape, as well as the integrated front baskets and fenders, make Citibikes difficult to camouflage, even with a heavy spraying of paint.

As if the ham-fisted paint job wasn't vain enough as an attempt to hide the bike, the voleur chose one of the worst possible colors for the job:  metallic gold.  In the first photo, I spray-brushed the bike with the color, of the ones available on my app, that came closest to what I saw on that bike.  The hue is about right, but the thief used a brighter, more metallic, version of it.

I thought about calling Citibike when one of their vans pulled up.  I'm guessing that someone saw the bike before I did and called.  I wonder whether that person was chuckling, as I was, about the thief's color choice and lack of painting skills.


  1. that probably took more time than the toilet paper-covered logo coverage i once spotted a few days after bay area bike share began in our end of the states. i tweeted at them and they were prety responsive, this was last year or 2yrs ago.
    this labor day weekend walking downtown we came across an abandoned one, and did the same by sending pic of serial # and location. no response til a days later. oh well..

  2. Meligrosa--I was rather surprised at the quick response to the stolen bike I saw. Let's hope the folks at Citibike don't become blasé about losing their wheels.