General Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Would not it be a good profession in 2014 to be a bicycle thief?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21100 points ) December 30th, 2013

Based off this:
”The bike rack, used by both clients and employees, was just left of the front doors. Bolted to the wall just above the rack, there was a nice, re-assuring metal sign that read, ”This Area Under Video Surveillance.”

One day after work, I went out the front door to find my beautiful Fuji gone. Gone. The heavy cable lock had been Freoned and snapped in broad daylight during the height of business hours right there in front of one of the busiest doorways in downtown St. Petersburg.”

If you can steal very expensive bikes, in broad daylight in a populated area and no one will stop you, bother, or care what you are doing, and the cops don’t care either, wouldn’t being a bike thief be a pretty good profession? Even if you fire sold the bike on the next street corner, you got it for nothing; making $175 off a $600 bike you are still ahead, you invested nothing and the risk of doing time for the theft is almost nil. Where else can you steal something as expensive and not have even the cops care to help out?

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23 Answers

Seek's avatar

In my area, bikes are stolen all the time. They’re traded for nickel-bags of weed or a Roxy here and there.

funkdaddy's avatar

I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but here bike thieves may as well be stealing children’s souls while blowing up puppies.

Catching someone stealing a bike seems to be one of the few culturally acceptable times for a public beat down.

not condoning, just reporting

gailcalled's avatar

Unattributed quote is from an answer, written by @Espiritus_Corvus, to this question of yours, asked two days ago.

LDRSHIP's avatar

This question reminded me of the quote along the lines of “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.”

whitenoise's avatar

In my book the chance of being caught doing something wrong isn’t the test of it being the right thing to do…

Aspoestertjie's avatar

To steel will never be a good ‘profession’. Sooner or later you will be caught. It is not worth sitting in jail over a bicycle or anything for that matter.

Smitha's avatar

Stealing is stealing. We are taking what is not rightfully ours. It’s heartbreaking to find out someone stole our bike. In short, stealing is bad.

zenvelo's avatar

No. @Hypocrisy_Central you seem to equate easily making money with being good. Being a thief is not a way to be proud of one’s contribution to the world.

And really, if you want to be crook, you can make a lot more money doing other more lucrative crimes. Being a bike thief doesn’t get you much money for the risk.

creative1's avatar

If you have proof the bike is really worth $600 the cops in the area are not going after what would be a grand theft event because according to wiki in the US grand theft is stealing anything over $300 in Florida. I would head down to the police station and bring the serial number for the bike and also bring something showing the cost of that bike and say you need to file a report.

JLeslie's avatar

Where does it say the police don’t care?

I find it pretty depressing that being able to get away with a crime or away with something that is unethical is a reason to do it. It is what we do when no one is watching and there is no fear of punishment that counts. It has to do with conscious, fairness, and understanding we are part of a larger society.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

That bike that you describe in your question would have cost about $2.5k new, but I got it on a trade and a little cash, legitimate. It was probably sold for drugs. The guy who bought it, if he actually knew what he had, probably stripped it for parts or resold it to a shop.

Back in the 70’s I knew a couple of thoroughly dedicated potheads, brothers, who had dropped out of U of M at Ann Arbor when their old man died and left them some money. They went straight down to Key West and bought an old Victorian mansion, turned it into a B&B. That’s where I ran into them. One brother was a good business man and concierge, but the other was a consummate criminal. Pot was damn near legal in Key West back in those days, retailed out of the Key West Fire Department Station No. 1, down the street from the hotel. It was run by the Fire Chief, a guy named Bum Farto. No shit. Bum Farto: Purveyor of powerful, sweet-smelling Jamaican Red Bud. Four fingers, ten bucks. The only pot in town.

So the criminal brother wants to start his own ancillary business. He rents a UHaul truck, a deuce-and-a-half, and spends the weekends packing it with stolen Schwinns, cheap old clunkers, off Miami Beach. He brings them back to Key West, paints all of them black with orange stripes, and rents them out from the front porch of the B&B for $3 half a day, $7 a full day. Money to the right local officials protected him from any heat emanating from up Highway 1. As the only bike rental in Key West, he does a booming business. Soon, he had a mechanic and a couple of girls renting the bikes for him. Anytime he ran short of bikes, he’d just head for Miami. Eventually he bought a charter fishing boat with his profits and became independent from his brother. He specialized in square grouper. Bum Farto, always looking for another independent supplier, was his only customer.

One day, Chief Farto was pushed into the back of a big black Lincoln and disappeared off the face of the earth. The criminal brother, no longer protected, got busted and did hard time in Belle Glade, one of Florida’s state hell holes.

Today that generation of Conchs are the old men you find on porches and in bars telling skeptical tourists stories of gun running, pot smuggling, and even Key West’s first successful bike rental. All but Bum. He hasn’t told a story in decades.

JLeslie's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Great story! Poor bastard could have made money even if he had actually purchased the bikes. It was a good business plan without the need for criminal activity.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@JLeslie Yep. That’s the difference between the criminal mind and everybody else. They just can’t get their rocks off doing it straight.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
glacial's avatar

Stolen bikes don’t sell for much. There’s not really a living in it.

bolwerk's avatar

It probably is. Pigs in many cities are hostile toward bikers. Plus, many bikers don’t bother recording things like serial numbers, which I think every bike should have.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Aspoestertjie To steel will never be a good ‘profession’. Sooner or later you will be caught. It is not worth sitting in jail over a bicycle or anything for that matter.
That is the point, if you can steal enough bikes you can made some profit, the bikes cost you nothing and as noted, your chances of being taken to task for stealing it is very, very low, enough to make the profits from it attractive.

@zenvelo No. @Hypocrisy_Central you seem to equate easily making money with being good. Being a thief is not a way to be proud of one’s contribution to the world.
By all means, I am not saying it is good in the sense of noble, I am saying it is a favorable way to make money with little effort, short of actually getting the lock off. Those who do it, I am quite sure being a proud productive member of the community is far from their thinking as opposed to getting some money selling something they did not have to buy 1st.

@JLeslie Where does it say the police don’t care?
That was personal observation. Around here, you can get your window smashed in your car and your stereo ripped off or your purse taken, a prowl car will not come out even if you called the cops; they will tell you to come in and fill out a report. For a bike, they will do even less. They will not tie up a cop making a report over a bike which is now gone, even if the lock was left, when there is no description of the perp. They could dust for prints, the perp might have been through the system, but they don’t even do that. The population around here is 100+ thousand people and if they won’t do it here, I can’t see them doing it in a larger city.

@glacial Stolen bikes don’t sell for much. There’s not really a living in it.
Steal enough Cannondales, Bianchis, Gary Fishers, high-end Trex, Fujis, etc. you can keep yourself in beer, gas, or other self-medicating chemicals.

glacial's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central “you can keep yourself in beer, gas, or other self-medicating chemicals.”

I guess you have a different definition of “a good profession” than I do.

gondwanalon's avatar

The sad fact of this is, if somebody wants to steal your bike they will get.

My Fuji Mountain bike was stolen just outside the front door of our health clinic. I just owned it for a month only and had two Master locks and two cables securing it to the bike rack. That apparently did not slow the thieves down very much. That happened about eight years ago. Now I secured my bike with a large kryptonite lock. So far so good.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Although I agree that often cops don’t make much efforts to find petty thieves, because they have very little chance of catching them unless there is truly some sort of rash and pattern, downtown St. Pete is a tourist area and it costs the city money if people are afraid to go there. St. Pete has one of the more expensive hotels in the area right in the center of the tourist area, the Dali museum, and other important tourist attractions. If tourists feel they are unsafe they might be less likely to go, there are many many places to go nearby and skip St. Pete. It behooves the city, the hotels, and the restaurants to make a big deal about keeping the place as crime free as possible and I am sure the owners of the businesses in town put pressure on the city to address any crime problems in the tourist spots.

Seek's avatar

The issue here isn’t the theft, because you can “see someone stealing a bike” and it can legitimately be a guy who lost his keys somewhere and can’t get the lock off. Since we don’t have bicycle registration, there’s no way to prove the bike is or isn’t his.

Would you like to push for bicycle registration? Cyclist’s insurance? Cycling licenses?

kritiper's avatar

Not here. There have been so many thefts that the cops and pawn shops are getting together to find stolen bikes and get the thieves arrested. Some get busted before they even get out of the pawn shops!

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