24 May 2016

To Catch A Thief (And He's Not Cary Grant!)

I have to admit:  I take a perverse pride in having foiled a bike theft.  Well, to tell you the truth, I'm not as proud of having kept a stranger's bike from being stolen as I feel, even to this day, glee in recalling the expression on the would-be bike thief's face after I tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around, only to see my glowering visage.  I wish I could have captured it on film, video or something.

In those days--circa 1990--there weren't nearly as many surveillance cameras as there are now.  I can't say I'm happy that Big Brother Is Watching Us, but I will admit that some crimes are foiled or solved as a result of some would-be perps' fifteen seconds of fame.

This took place outside WCG offices in San Francisco.  From what I've read about the company, the designer who tackled the would-be thief might have been acting out of anger and frustration brought on by the workplace environment!


  1. A similar experience of mine, about ten years ago...
    I had left my bike unlocked outside for just a minute to run inside and pick up something I had forgotten. When I came back outside a teenage boy was riding off on it. I ran after him, shouting and throwing sticks and rocks. But then came the good part. I had left the bike in it's lowest gear (42-24, 47 gear inches), and he was really spinning out, trying to make a getaway, but I was gaining on him. He reached down and I could see the moment of panic as his hands felt around the handle bars: he realized the bike had down tube friction shifters. For a fraction of a second he froze, and then forcefully shoved the right shifter all the way forward, and the chain jumped off the sprocket. So he leaped off the bike and ran like hell.

    Like a faithful steed that is horse-thief-proof.


  2. Leo--I'm glad you were able to get your bike back.

    Probably the most thief-proof bike I ever saw was a track bike. A librarian at my college rode one back in the days when almost nobody rode them off the velodrome. So, most would-be thieves wouldn't have known how to ride such a bike and would probably break their legs when they eased off or tried to back-pedal!