Police recently released video of a man in the Bella Vista section of Philadelphia stealing four — four! — bikes in one night.
First brought to our attention by Philadelphia magazine, the video shows the white man, described as between 20 and 30 years old and about 6 feet tall, apparently seeing the bikes in a garage on the 700 block of Bainbridge Street, squeezing by a parking garage grate, grabbing a bicycle, and riding off with it. He does this four times. Watch it:
The police are looking for this guy—and he’s pretty visible on the tape they released, looking straight into a surveillance camera at one point. If you’ve got any information, call the police tip line: 215-686-TIPS.
Unfortunately, bike thieves are rampant in Philadelphia. They can’t all be caught, but you can deter them with some simple steps we’ve laid out on our site here.
- Try to avoid locking your bike somewhere overnight, even in Center City or in front of your house.
- When locking in public, lock up in well-lit, well-trafficked areas.
- Take your bike lights and panniers with you when you lock up.
- Be aware of bicycle theft hot spots, but also remember that bike theft quantities are higher where there are more bikes. You can see a map of Philly’s bike theft patterns on our Reports page.
- Record your bicycle’s serial number and take photos of you with your bicycle, so you can prove ownership if it is stolen.
- Your police district may offer bicycle registration services, which will also help its recovery should it be stolen. Call your local district office to ask about bicycle registration.
- There is an ever-growing constellation of gadgets, gizmos, and systems designed to help you secure your bike and track it if it is stolen. They include GPS tracking devices, QR codes, and more. Look online or talk to your local bike shop for more information.
And if your bike is stolen, do something about it.
- Report the theft to the police and obtain a police report.
- If you have registered your bike with any other bike registration systems, report it stolen there.
- Keep an eye on bike sale postings on Craigslist. If you see your bike posted there, contact the police. In this instance, some people have had success in buying their bikes back from thieves. However, this encourages future theft and we do not recommend vigilante sting operations.
- If you live in Philadelphia, you can report your bike’s theft to the Philadelphia Stolen Bikes Facebook group.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for this thief.