What Would You Do If You Caught Someone Stealing Your Bike?

What Would You Do If You Caught Someone Stealing Your Bike?

The fantasy of catching a bike thief does involve a measure of violence, if truth be told. A u-lock upside


The fantasy of catching a bike thief does involve a measure of violence, if truth be told. A u-lock upside the head, perhaps. At minimum, a good aggressive shove, physical expression of the sense of violation, frustration, and anger you feel at having something something stolen that’s as a special and intimate as a bicycle.

Reality, though, well, that might be a different story. Imaginary smackdowns are tempered by real-world common sense and, perhaps, pacifism. A scumbag who would steal a bike might turn out to be a scumbag who’d stomp you into the ground, too, unless you have the brawn and smashmouth experience to stand up for yourself. Fact is, getting your bike ripped off is a crappy situation, uncontrolled, potentially dangerous, and with no good option. How would you respond?


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Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal.
Showing 92 comments
  • T.J. Mora
    Reply

    Thanks

  • matt
    Reply

    I would try to avoid violence….howeva

  • off-roadie
    Reply

    I like to think most theives would give-up once called out. If not, maybe a big stick would be in order…

  • Aidan
    Reply

    make bas rutten proud of his teaching skills via youtube

  • Jay
    Reply

    Made this mistake once and got stitches in my head for it. Most thieves will find an easier target if you confront them without violence.

  • Brandon
    Reply

    Hope I’m not in that situation, but…

  • David
    Reply

    I like these polls, hwo dyou come up with such good questions?

  • Adam Klevinas
    Reply

    Depends which bike they try to steal…

  • Jack
    Reply

    Not my bike!

  • kyle
    Reply

    The deepest circle of hell is reserved for bike thieves.

  • Scott H
    Reply

    yeah, it wouldn’t be pretty…

  • jake
    Reply

    if he/she decided to steal my commute bike (aka The Ghetto Cruiser), the joke would be on them…

  • Lane
    Reply

    Probably depends on the size of the perpetrator and my mood at the time.

  • Chris
    Reply

    no point getting a conviction for assault … so try to get some pictures/video on my phone and let the police deal with it …

  • Alex L
    Reply

    Should’ve been a combo answer for call the police, then proceeding to beat the living snot out of them.

  • Callum
    Reply

    Its insured; would be a great oppurtunity to get a brand new bike

  • Tyler
    Reply

    I think most people have fantasies about catching these people in the act. Think Chris has it right…can’t say I would be that smart in the heat of the moment though.

  • Tony Burnett
    Reply

    I would beat the living snot out of them. I would compare it to someone trying to steal my child, if I had one.

  • George
    Reply

    Definitely pics & a call to the police.

  • David
    Reply

    I’d first make some witting comments about how it looks like that they are stealing the bike, and then hint that it is my bike. If they don’t get the picture, a call to the police, and a little physical coercing may be in order.

  • Sam Gendler
    Reply

    I spotted a thief riding past on my bike (easily identifiable) several weeks after the theft. I ran up next to him and grabbed the front brake, looping him over the handlebars. Then I just grabbed the bike and walked away. It was tremendously satisfying. The thief didn’t try to argue my point.

  • Aaron
    Reply

    To bad beating people for stealing your stuff will probably get you thrown in jail.

  • stormin'
    Reply

    Like nearly half the respondents I voted for “beat the snot out of them” although we all know it’s likely wishful thinking. I’ve actually confronted a bike thief who was brazenly riding my recently stolen bike about a mile from my house from where it was taken. My 1 year old son was with me at the time so no beat down happened, just a loud, public confrontation with many expletives. In the end none of the many curious bystanders called the police (despite my pleas to do so) and the thief rode (sprinted really) away into the sunset leaving me fuming with a very scared and upset little boy. My son is 20 now and seems fine despite seeing his old man go completely mental those many years ago.

  • Tina
    Reply

    I’d have a hard time not attempting to foil the thief in some way, but my bike isn’t worth more than my well-being.

  • A-rod
    Reply

    Citizens arrest!!!

  • IdahoRider
    Reply

    Stealing bikes ought to be treated like stealing cars. Since the law won’t do it, thieves, put up your dukes.

  • kc
    Reply

    I’d like to think most will stop if called out… but a satisfying bead-down would be hard to pass up, at least in my head. Calling the cops if they don’t back down is probably smarter.

  • GOOG
    Reply

    Maybe take a finger off with their chain cutters and mail it to the police. Guilty as sin officer, no doubt about it. Yeah I’m still a little mad about my bikes being stolen over time.

  • Roderick
    Reply

    I would be ready to kill

  • Stuckey
    Reply

    I would call the police, you never know what kind of person you could be dealing with.

  • Tony Fitzsimons
    Reply

    if they were stealing my bike I feel the social contract has been broken, hence manners be damned, somebody is going to have an unpleasnt day.

  • Andy
    Reply

    Definitely wouldn’t just sit back and watch them take it…

  • Lee
    Reply

    I clicked beat the snot out of them with the assumption that being caught, or the threat of physical violence will ecourage them to run off. If not, I guess we’re going to see who wants that bike.

  • Aaron
    Reply

    Hopefully I never have to find out.

  • Jeremy
    Reply

    Get a running start from behind and go for the head like I’m defending the goal line.

  • jared
    Reply

    I think this would be a situation where adrenaline would get the best of common sense.

  • Andy
    Reply

    Oh, in my area, police will drop errything to stop a bike theft.

  • Casey
    Reply

    Of course the natural reaction is to say beat the snot out of them, but I guess it would all come down to the situation, the person and the mood I am in.

    Honestly, if it was my daily ride, 89 Schwinn Single speed, I would probably unlock it for them and say you need worse than I do.

  • kelly o
    Reply

    I don’t think protecting my bike falls under the umbrella of self-defense. I wish it did though.

  • Dan
    Reply

    Bike theft is not cool, hitting someone with a spud bar or large wrench may alleviate the problem

  • ZT
    Reply

    agree with jared

  • Kenneth Sams
    Reply

    He wouldn’t be walking away

  • Glenn
    Reply

    Would not let them get away with

  • Larry Vanderlinden
    Reply

    Asking a bike thief to stop seems too passive to me. I would also issue a threat that if the thief didn’t stop I would beat the snot out of him and I would call the police as well.

  • Caleb
    Reply

    It would be a forceful asking. No harm necessarily needed

  • Parker
    Reply

    Beat him or her, indeed.

  • Roy
    Reply

    Usually confronting them should scare them off. And if it doesn’t, they probably aren’t somebody I want to get physically violent with.

  • K-ro
    Reply

    I knew a world class mountain biker that chased a guy down after his very nice titanium bike was snatched while his back was turned. The thief thought he could ride away fast enough. My friend sprinted after the guy for about 2 minutes and finally pulled him off the bike. The thief was far more winded and weezy than my athlete friend who completely lost his mind and kicked the bejesus out of the guy. We pulled him off of him and waited for the police. All they said was ‘serves him right.’ This was in Canada, incidentally.

  • Brian
    Reply

    I’m still looking for the two bikes I’ve had stolen out of locked garages (and the scumbags that stole them).

  • Chris
    Reply

    Not sure. Either instant anger followed by violence, or let him finish cutting the lock and pumble him with it. Then take his wallet and use his card to buy a new lock.

  • Loonfeather
    Reply

    Depends on the situation, but calling police would definitely be a part of the plan.

  • Burgess Eberhardt
    Reply

    Agree w/ Jay – no violence…can’t say what would happen if a thief did not stop upon confrontation….

  • Sam
    Reply

    Certainly not do nothing…the order of the rest is tricky.

  • alex
    Reply

    what if you’re the one stealing the bike?

  • dennis
    Reply

    Call the police and then do a UFC choke hold untill the police come.

  • cole
    Reply

    BEAT EM SO HARD THEY SHIT SIDEWAYS

  • Shaw
    Reply

    A bit passive and a small guy, I dont think that I could beat the snot out of too many people.

  • colby
    Reply

    call the police from a distance, then quietly sneak up behind him and “restrain” him until the police arrive. if he continues to fight after you attempt to peacefully restrain him, he may need to be knocked/choked unconscious so he does not further injury himself, damage your property or injury any bystanders.

  • Chris McPartland
    Reply

    oh yeah

  • Brian Leddy
    Reply

    tough call, probably a combination the four options

  • Dan
    Reply

    Thanks

  • wallace
    Reply

    I always carry an extra u-lock for the chance to smack-up a would-be thief!

  • Daniel
    Reply

    confront, but not beat. simple.

  • gherf
    Reply

    anybody who steals a bike (including at least 5 of mine) will find his/her way into hell some way or another

  • Michael
    Reply

    I would pull out my scimitar and shout “Attack me maties!” – engaging said bike-thief into man-to-man lethal combat.

  • Sam
    Reply

    I had an old, scratched up specialized that was too big for me, with a bald and leaky rear tire, rear derailleur held in place with a paper clip, no front brakes, nearly-worthless rear brakes, non-functional front suspension, and brand new grips. I bought it for $75 from a friend in high school. My heart broke the day it was stolen… I was feeling very violent. I would like to think I’d call the police, only confronting them if they were about to leave before the cops get there, as to not scare them off before they do get there, but if they kept trying to take the bike, I don’t think I would be very gentle in regaining possession.

  • Doan Pendleton
    Reply

    I had a bike stolen from me in July 2007.. I wish I could find that person and kick the shit out of him and then steal their soul.. I loved that bike.. maybe not so much the frame but the shimano dura ace and the wheel set.. I keep my bike in the dining room now.

  • RB
    Reply

    I once rode up on a guy a year after he stole my bike. I yanked the seatpost out from under him and he went over the bars. Justice served.

  • fred
    Reply

    I voted beat down, but rolling video on them, then denying them to get away with my bike would come before violence. Violence sounds nice though….

  • Adam
    Reply

    A karate chop to the dome seems like the only answer.

  • Ed Lindner
    Reply

    The Poll choices are a little conservative in my opinion!

  • Cort
    Reply

    I say we kill him! I say we hang him, then we kill him! I say we stomp him! Then we tattoo him! Then we hang him! And then we kill him! …..”i say we let him go”….. NOOOO!!!

  • Travis
    Reply

    Normally I try to avoid violence but if someone was stealing my bike, it would be one like donkey kong! Just saying.

  • R D Fischer
    Reply

    Police baton to the knee cap

  • Granticus
    Reply

    I’d beat the snot out of the thief and then probably feel sorry for them and give them the bike anyway. I’m an old softy, after all.

  • Jeff
    Reply

    Um, doesn’t it depend on who the thief is? A 300-lb. bodybuilder might warrant a different response than a skinny 13-year-old.

    Probably the most effective approach, if you have your cell phone handy, is to take their photo while they’re sitting on or hacking away at your bike, e-mail it to yourself at home (should only take a few seconds), and show them what you just did. Now they’re screwed unless they walk away, and they know it.

  • FlaPack
    Reply

    Option one followed by option two. I don’t feel like being prosecuted for trying to stop a crime with force.

  • John
    Reply

    Take a picture of them too!

  • Kevin
    Reply

    Thank you for posting the poll.

  • Wayne Turner
    Reply

    I had my downtown bike stolen two weeks ago and found it FOUR HOURS LATER on craigslist, filed a report, set up a meet for the next morning, had the police there and busted the guy. It felt so good! Read it here:

    http://wayneswhirled.com/2012/03/23/the-full-story-of-finding-my-stolen-bike-on-craigslist-and-getting-it-back/

  • R. Beck
    Reply

    Ask them to stop, take their picture and call the police.

  • Kurt
    Reply

    As much as I would like to say I could keep my cool, I don’t see anyway this doesn’t end in violence… unless they ran away.

  • jim
    Reply

    I’d ask them to stop since i figure most bike thieves aren’t super tough. If that doesn’t work my commuter bike i hardly worth the bruised knuckles.

  • John Gkatzias
    Reply

    non violence and away of the police “solution”

  • Kyle
    Reply

    I would smack their lips right off their face.

  • Steve
    Reply

    Had one taken from outside of a bar once and found it the next morning down the street – lucky….since then I keep the expensive piece inside as much as possible

  • MK
    Reply

    As satisfying as it would be to beat the snot out of the perp, taking the law into your own hands often ends up with things working against you. Two wrongs (theft/them ~ assault/you) don’t make a right. On the other hand, if the bike is inside your house…

  • Robbie
    Reply

    A bicycle is like a woman, and you better be willing to put fight for it

  • kaj
    Reply

    I’m just a little guy, police have guns

  • Matt
    Reply

    Since I had my bike stolen 2 weeks ago, definitely beating them up was high on my list. Probably shove/throw them to the ground, calling the police, etc all the above. Very pissed though.

  • Nate L
    Reply

    Call the cops, give chase, and tell them where the thief is. (Don’t go attacking anyone – that’s just an invitation for a lawsuit. Let the cops do their jobs).

    Note – this approach worked for me a few years ago when my apartment was broken into… while I was still home.

  • Dan Murphy
    Reply

    I voted “beat the crap out of him”, though at 58 years old, 160 lbs, and simply not a fighter, it most likely wouldn’t happen.
    I had a nice bike stolen from me in ’79 – I was 25. Raleigh International, Reynolds 531 double-butted frame w/ Campy Nuovo Record. I loved that bike. I owned very little at the time – car, bike, skis. When I went away for the weekend, I put it in the shower of my apartment so a thief wouldn’t see it, even though I lived in the mellowest of suburbs. Anyways, I think I would have killed if I had caught the guy, and again, I’m a pretty mellow guy. I was *really* pissed. Having something stolen is very personal to me.
    Realistically, I would first size the guy up, take a few pics, then confront him. The degree of agressiveness I approach him with would be inversely proportional to how scary the guy looked.

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