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#1 2008-12-20 09:35:59

luckyonabike
Member
Registered: 2008-12-20
Posts: 3

Austin police allow bike theft

My locked bicycle was stolen Dec 19 from the rack at 24 Hour Fitness, Hancock Center, and the police, who were in the vicinity and notified of the crime, did nothing to stop it from happening.  A witness, who works for a government safety enforcement  department in Austin, saw the thief break the lock and steal it from the rack.  The witness immediately called 9-1-1. The thief rode off on the bike and the pursuing witness encountered a police officer parked in the vicinity.  When the witness notified the officer that a crime was in progress and that he could catch the thief, the officer responded, "I work highway enforcement" and a different district would get the call.  The thief rode off with my bike, which is my principal means of transportation.

It's an outrage that a police officer would fail to pursue a criminal just because he works highway enforcement.  If my bike had been a car, I think it's likely the officer would have acted. That bike may not be worth as much as a car, but it's the only way I have of getting around and it is a hardship to lose it.  I have no doubt that thief will continue to steal other bikes, causing hardship for others.  Why was the crime against my property not taken seriously by the police?

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#2 2008-12-20 23:44:12

seth
Member
From: Austin, TX (Hyde Park)
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 53
Website

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

I park my bike at the Hancock 24 hour fitness. What type of lock did you have? What bike was stolen?

I'll keep on the lookout (as the rest of us will) if you'll provide a description of the stolen bike.

Seth

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#3 2008-12-21 13:38:18

luckyonabike
Member
Registered: 2008-12-20
Posts: 3

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

Hi Seth,

Thanks, I appreciate that.  Yes,  if you park at 24 Hour Fitness, Hancock, I would definitely be vigilant or have a very strong lock.  I think the thieves work that  parking lot/bike rack a lot.    I had a master cable lock with a combination.  The bike was a Schwinn Voyageur GS 07.  It was burgundy color.  The witness saw the guy who stole it and desribed him as a Hispanic man in his mid-30's with short dark hair. He was wearing blue jean shorts and had a short sleeve polo shirt.

I asked the 24 Hr Fitness people if they would put up a sign letting people know there has been a recent bike theft there.  I don't know if they have done that or not.

best,
Laura

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#4 2008-12-21 15:00:08

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

Even the very best cable locks (even the $100+ versions) fall in minutes to bolt cutters.

Get a U-lock.  Preferably a mini one, that doesn't give a thief room to put in a jack.  Even the best U-lock will fall in 10 minutes to the right tools, but a bolt cutter can cut most chains in under a minute.

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#5 2008-12-21 16:03:57

Jason
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-31
Posts: 48
Website

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

Wow, that sucks. Did you perchance get the officer's name or badge number? What a crummy attitude to have, "public servant" indeed.

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#6 2008-12-23 10:37:44

allendemling
Member
Registered: 2008-12-23
Posts: 9

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

I have been extremely disappointed with the way Art Acevedo has changed the direction of the APD away from public safety, and moved towards revenue generation via citation. He was asked about this on the KOOP radio show "A Neighborly Conversation" and his response was that he has "anecdotal" evidence that shows the more police people see on the highways, the safer they feel. I also have anecdotal evidence that shows when my house is getting shot at, a friend gets stabbed, another is mugged on 7th st, another has his apartment broken into, several have their cars broken into, and countless numbers (including myself) have their bikes stolen, all in the last year since Acevedo took over (in the previous 4 years to that I think the worst that happened was some kids egged my car), then our police department is not working. I hope others start paying attention to this as well, and it becomes a major issue during city council/mayoral elections.

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#7 2008-12-23 11:43:12

doughead
Member
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 37

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

The cops don't need you
and man they expect the same...

B. Dylan

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#8 2008-12-24 11:55:38

plarson
Member
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 42

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

Where do you live that your house is getting shot at and so many bad things are happening? Hell I'd move!

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#9 2008-12-26 02:29:45

seth
Member
From: Austin, TX (Hyde Park)
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 53
Website

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

plarson wrote:

Where do you live that your house is getting shot at and so many bad things are happening? Hell I'd move!

Not really a solution for Allen Demling. Lee Leffingwell likely would have found his new address as well.

Seth

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#10 2009-02-03 23:50:00

hovihats
Member
From: Central Austin
Registered: 2009-02-03
Posts: 3
Website

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

FYI,  I live in the 5300 block of Woodrow Avenue. Zip 78756.  I have a neighbor that lives a couple houses away.  This morning Austin Police raided his house at 5401 Woodrow Avenue. He was arrested and police found many bikes and bike parts.  They were there for about 4 hours and they also impounded his silver Land Rover.  So, if your bike has been stolen, APD might have it.  This guy was a MAJOR bicycle thief! I had no idea.  He had a bike rack on the back of his vehicle and on the top. I just thought he was really into cycling.  All my neighbors were shocked too..............

Last edited by hovihats (2009-02-04 14:53:58)

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#11 2009-02-04 08:49:11

Jason
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-31
Posts: 48
Website

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

The detectives on the case have been in contact with me regarding all the stolen bikes/frames/components and will be trying to get as much of it back to its' rightful owners as possible. It's going to take a while to sort eveything out but in the meantime the best thing you can do is find any pictures, receipts, serial numbers, or any other identifying marks/characteristics on the frames and either report the bike as stolen to the police, enter it in the UTPD Registry (if you're a UT Student), or post the stolen bike and some details on my Stolen Bike Registry: http://www.atxbs.com/?q=node/407

This is good news, as this guy was wanted on several felony warrants for similar crimes in Arizona, and has (allegedly) victimized quite a few locals before being caught yesterday. I've spoken to the detectives on the case on-and-off for over a month now, as they've been looking for additional victims and any proof against James they could find. I guess yesterday they finally decided they'd seen all the proof they needed and pulled the trigger. Freaking awesome!

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#12 2009-02-04 14:58:25

hovihats
Member
From: Central Austin
Registered: 2009-02-03
Posts: 3
Website

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

Hey Jason, thanks for all the info.! I wish I had been paying more attention to this guy.  You never know sometimes...........

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#13 2009-02-24 15:07:58

luckyonabike
Member
Registered: 2008-12-20
Posts: 3

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

Hi Jason, and thanks for the post on the bike thief getting nabbed.   Very good information.  I wish the police would put a few more of these guys out of business.

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#14 2009-06-15 03:27:12

tourtravis
Member
Registered: 2009-06-15
Posts: 4

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

Yes, unfortunately the cable locks aren't any problem for professional thieves. They can open them in seconds and so it's very difficult to prevent them the bike from being stolen. A friend of mine had his bike locked with an U-turn stolen a few months ago, even the U-turn didn't help in this case, although I have to say the bike was stolen at night.

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#15 2009-06-15 11:57:11

plarson
Member
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 42

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

I think you mean "U-Lock". Get the smallest U-Lock you can get.

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#16 2009-06-15 17:51:41

pueblonative
Member
Registered: 2009-04-11
Posts: 5

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

plarson wrote:

I think you mean "U-Lock". Get the smallest U-Lock you can get.

One other problem is the lack of places with reasonable bike racks around town (at least in Pueblo).  I had some jerkoff in a black cap and t-shirt grab my ride.  Thankfully a couple of people rode him down in a car and got it back, but lesson was learned.  If they don't have a bike rack, move on (after telling the locale about the reason why you aren't spending money there, of course).

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#17 2009-06-16 12:02:32

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Austin police allow bike theft

plarson wrote:

I think you mean "U-Lock". Get the smallest U-Lock you can get.

This warrants more explanation ...

The tool of choice for breaking a U-lock is a jack.  Thieves buy mini jacks that they put in the lock and break it apart with tons of force.  The better locks are stronger against this, but ultimately even they fail.  And while everything will fall to an angle grinder, a jack is quiet, portable and doesn't require power.

The best defense against this is to have a small jack that doesn't give you room to put the jack in.

Of course, the downside to having a small jack is that it limits what you can lock up to.

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