Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
londonbikerider
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Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby londonbikerider » 11 Feb 2019, 6:09pm

Just saw a guy I know, with his bike missing almost the whole front end: handlebars with shifters, rear derailleur, the whole thing vanished in minutes while the bike was locked outside.

But what's really to worry, is the comment from the shop he had left the bike to be repaired: he was actually lucky to not have the forks and the complete front wheel nicked, too!
According to the shop, this seems to happen in the Islington area, even in broad daylight, and happens every 3-4 months: someone that knows exactly what is looking for, cuts the cables and after loosing up the stem and headset (they've also removed thereaded headsets!) grabs the most valuable parts of the bike: shifters, rear derailleur, forks and wheel(s). They've seen this happening on a regular pattern for the last couple of years.

I hope this will help those folks that have to leave the bike outside for some time, maybe's worth considering some gizmo to make the life of those criminals a bit harder.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby Bmblbzzz » 11 Feb 2019, 7:41pm

I think this is a staple of all urban areas. Handlebars, forks, everything apart from whichever component (so usually frame or wheel) is locked to an immovable object. The remains then sit there for months till the council do their next clear up. :(

MikeF
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby MikeF » 11 Feb 2019, 10:40pm

"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

Ivor Tingting
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby Ivor Tingting » 11 Feb 2019, 11:53pm

About 4-5 years ago some **** tried to steal my colleagues tri bars off his TT bike that was chained and D-locked up outside the back of where I was then working off Jesus Lane in Cambridge. It was a quiet area and well hidden from the road but some one must have seen his bike and thought .......... hmmmm. My colleague found the stem clamp bolts all loose so who ever it was must have been disturbed while trying to get them off. After that my colleague brought his bike inside the building and put it in one of the toilets so it wouldn't be targeted again. I used to have a locker for my bike.
"Zat is ze reel prowoking qwestion Mr Paxman." - Peer Steinbruck, German Finance Minister 31/03/2009.

londonbikerider
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby londonbikerider » 12 Feb 2019, 8:35am



This is something different, and the pattern is always the same: it does not include damage to the bike as they litterally blitz through all the valuable parts and the job is done very well (so to speak), they never try to break locks but go straight for the parts.
In fact, this fella I know and apparently the other unllucky ones too, had the bike serviced two weeks ago so those criminals are keeping their eyes to the potential targets.

Bmblbzzz wrote:I think this is a staple of all urban areas. Handlebars, forks, everything apart from whichever component (so usually frame or wheel) is locked to an immovable object. The remains then sit there for months till the council do their next clear up. :(

See above, this is a different approach: they quickly steal the parts only on bikes that are regularly used and not the cheap ones "left ot die outside the station" :-(

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby Bmblbzzz » 12 Feb 2019, 8:56am

No, it's just a more selective subset of the same approach. It's just that the stripped bikes you see are the ones which were either abandoned in the first place or become abandoned once stolen of the parts.

londonbikerider
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby londonbikerider » 12 Feb 2019, 2:23pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:No, it's just a more selective subset of the same approach. It's just that the stripped bikes you see are the ones which were either abandoned in the first place or become abandoned once stolen of the parts.


I fear is not.
Like said, it seems to happen on a regular timeline: they steal valuable parts on a dozen of selected bikes, they stay quiet for a few months, then they start again. It has been happening with exactly the same procedure for the last two-something years.
According to the shops, all of a sudden they have bikes coming back for repair (they are good bikes, they aren't left to die on the street) with the same type of parts missing.

What's worrying, is that during the months those criminals seem to stay "quiet" (or perhaps they briefly relocate to another part of town) they are actually keeping their eyes on potential victims, and wait until their bikes are serviced or have new parts fitted.
This is what worries me, cyclists are being sistematically stalked.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby Bmblbzzz » 12 Feb 2019, 3:20pm

We could lump and split till eternity and back again, what about practical measures? Beyond the obvious such as Pinhead-type bolts and varying parking places, I'm afraid I don't know what to suggest.

londonbikerider
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby londonbikerider » 13 Feb 2019, 8:52am

Ain't your fault mate!

Perhaps is best to change the place the bike is left on an irregular schedule?

thirdcrank
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Feb 2019, 9:39am

Cyclists are sometimes stereotyped by other cyclists as angelic and incapable of wrongdoing, but a keen cyclist baddy might use this MO. They'd know exactly what to nick and how to remove it cleanly from the target bike. Only the simplest multi-tool is needed to get most of the components off a bike PDQ. Dressed in cycling togs they'd not attract attention faffing about near locked bikes and only the unexpected return of the owner of the bike being stripped would risk discovery. Bike parts are easily shifted by bike, especially if you have a vehicle nearby. The only bits of a bike "identifiable" ie with serial numbers, are the frame and possibly fork so there's little risk of detection through possession of the stolen property. Finally, a keen cyclist would have the cover when selling on and the knowledge to get the best price. One person on their own wouldn't amount to a crime wave but successful MO's are quickly copied by others.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby Bmblbzzz » 13 Feb 2019, 10:32am

Yes, the "best" (most professional, successful) bike thieves are going to be cyclists, just as motorcycle thieves are bikers, etc.

pete75
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby pete75 » 13 Feb 2019, 10:32am

thirdcrank wrote:Cyclists are sometimes stereotyped by other cyclists as angelic and incapable of wrongdoing, but a keen cyclist baddy might use this MO. They'd know exactly what to nick and how to remove it cleanly from the target bike. Only the simplest multi-tool is needed to get most of the components off a bike PDQ. Dressed in cycling togs they'd not attract attention faffing about near locked bikes and only the unexpected return of the owner of the bike being stripped would risk discovery. Bike parts are easily shifted by bike, especially if you have a vehicle nearby. The only bits of a bike "identifiable" ie with serial numbers, are the frame and possibly fork so there's little risk of detection through possession of the stolen property. Finally, a keen cyclist would have the cover when selling on and the knowledge to get the best price. One person on their own wouldn't amount to a crime wave but successful MO's are quickly copied by others.


Sounds very plausible especially when said by someone with years of "criminal" experience.

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Audax67
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby Audax67 » 13 Feb 2019, 10:45am

:( Long may they stay your side of the Channel. Though we do have our own thieves, of course.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

thirdcrank
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Feb 2019, 11:00am

Had somebody else not suggested it was happening, I'd not have thought of it. I'm generally doubtful of the idea of would-be burglars keeping an eye on houses: I'm pretty sure that most of it is opportunism and victims looking for explanations conclude that they've been watched. Thinking about it a bit more, the thief or thieves in this scenario needn't arrive by bike. Park a vehicle nearby but in a different street, get out in ordinary, non-descript togs, once away from the vehicle produce, say, a bike helmet and yellow jacket and to all but the most sceptical observer you are a cyclist at a bike rack. Walking back to your vehicle, even carrying a pair of handlebars + levers with a retail price of £1K+ you are still apparently a cyclist. With time to get the brakes and mechs off, they can go in your bag taking up no room and weighing little but still valuable if sold on by a fellow cyclist who seems to buy all the latest gear and then sell it when they've only had it five minutes.

mercalia
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Re: Beware of handlebar thieves in north London!

Postby mercalia » 13 Feb 2019, 3:04pm

has also been Brooks Leather saddles? Are these still stolen