The Chainlink

Holy Fracking Cow-- Chicago's top bike thieves arrested

http://wilmette.patch.com/articles/wilmette-and-winnetka-police-nab...

 

Actually not so exciting that they were arrested again, but that there's solid detective work, evidence, and publicity this time.

I can't say too much about these guys publicly, but this is significant. Too bad it took suburban police to reign them in, however temporarily.

 

Julie, I think it somewhat likely your coworker's bike is among those seized.  I know Chicago and UIC police are in the habit of checking CSBR as a matter of routine, but I don't know about the suburban police.

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Certainly possible. As of this morning, there were 23 bicycles in the possession of the Wilmette Police Department which they had not matched up with owners. I provided them with a link to the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry and expect to speak to the detective responsible for this investigation in the next day or two.

Natalie said:
Hey, Howard, any chance these are the guys who stole my Jamis in December (U-lock cut with angle grinder during the day at the law school)?

I thought about calling the Wilmette PD but didn't have my serial number or police report info in hand, and didn't want to waste their time without it.

I really doubt that my bicycle stolen in December would be there--why would thieves sit on it that long? But I keep hoping I'll find it.

Based on information we've received about these guys in the past, they don't sit on bikes very long.

The ~25 taken from the storage lockers in this incident are likely only the past few weeks' worth of thefts.

We'll get a better picture of that if we start getting some matches to bikes posted to the registry.

No harm in checking with Wilmette PD, but I wouldn't get my hopes up too high.

Is the serial/police report information in your registry report not accurate?


Natalie said:

I thought about calling the Wilmette PD but didn't have my serial number or police report info in hand, and didn't want to waste their time without it.

I really doubt that my bicycle stolen in December would be there--why would thieves sit on it that long? But I keep hoping I'll find it.

It would be interesting to see if the arrest of these two will impact the actual over-all bicycle theft crime rate in the area they were operating in by any meaningful amount.  Just what percentage of the bikes that were stolen in their range were attributable to them?  It would be nice to believe that we could breathe just a little bit easier knowing with hard numbers that the chance of our bikes being stolen has actually gone down a significant amount.  Or are there enough other bike thieves around that these guys, as big-time as they were, were not really a large percentage of the over-all stolen bike problem.

James,

They don't account for a large percentage of overall bike theft in Chicago.

Of the theft of nicer/newer looking road-style bicycles which are properly secured with a U-lock to a stable object, they account for the majority.

They're not the only folks out there with angle grinders, but they're far and away the busiest.

As long as they're off the street, you're reasonably secure as long as you lock your bike with a U-lock to something that can't be easily sawed or broken.

I think I went to that one.  Most of the bikes there were a bit older.  Don't remember what the people looked like.  Garage was pretty packed with random vintage items.

Pippy Duchamp said:
Not sure the exact street address (will have to go out and look) but Campbell, just north of Leland, on the east side of the street.
I've seen the Previa around that area on a weekly basis....this is also the area near where my bike was stolen last fall. 

Pippy Duchamp said:
Not sure the exact street address (will have to go out and look) but Campbell, just north of Leland, on the east side of the street.

Thanks Howard.  That is nice to know.  My bike(s) isn't exactly "high end" but sure are nice to me.

 

Did these guys do the majority of the daylight thefts too?  Or was their MO both day and night?  I never lock up outside overnight if I can help it and never lock to a sucker pole (with or without the bolt).  It would be nice to think my chances of bike theft went down dramatically with these tools off the street. 



H3N3 said:

James,

They don't account for a large percentage of overall bike theft in Chicago.

Of the theft of nicer/newer looking road-style bicycles which are properly secured with a U-lock to a stable object, they account for the majority.

They're not the only folks out there with angle grinders, but they're far and away the busiest.

As long as they're off the street, you're reasonably secure as long as you lock your bike with a U-lock to something that can't be easily sawed or broken.

No, it's accurate, of course. I just forgot it was there.

H3N3 said:

Based on information we've received about these guys in the past, they don't sit on bikes very long.

The ~25 taken from the storage lockers in this incident are likely only the past few weeks' worth of thefts.

We'll get a better picture of that if we start getting some matches to bikes posted to the registry.

No harm in checking with Wilmette PD, but I wouldn't get my hopes up too high.

Is the serial/police report information in your registry report not accurate?


Natalie said:

I thought about calling the Wilmette PD but didn't have my serial number or police report info in hand, and didn't want to waste their time without it.

I really doubt that my bicycle stolen in December would be there--why would thieves sit on it that long? But I keep hoping I'll find it.

Howard and I have a difference of opinion on this. I think we're seeing upwards of 20% fewer angle grinder on U-Lock thefts as compared to historic numbers, and have been for the past couple of months. The sample's still too small to draw conclusions, but the difference is noticeable. I'll be interested to learn (if we do) how long these guys have been devoting their attention to the North Shore commuter market, as opposed to the Chicago market.

James Baum said:

Thanks Howard.  That is nice to know.  My bike(s) isn't exactly "high end" but sure are nice to me.

 

Did these guys do the majority of the daylight thefts too?  Or was their MO both day and night?  I never lock up outside overnight if I can help it and never lock to a sucker pole (with or without the bolt).  It would be nice to think my chances of bike theft went down dramatically with these tools off the street. 



H3N3 said:

James,

They don't account for a large percentage of overall bike theft in Chicago.

Of the theft of nicer/newer looking road-style bicycles which are properly secured with a U-lock to a stable object, they account for the majority.

They're not the only folks out there with angle grinders, but they're far and away the busiest.

As long as they're off the street, you're reasonably secure as long as you lock your bike with a U-lock to something that can't be easily sawed or broken.

It could be that I didn't express myself clearly, or perhaps my post bears a re-read, but I don't see anything I disagree with here.

Reports of thefts involving cut U-locks have dropped off drastically over the past few months, with only brief spurts now and then.  Coupled with the development that there have been somewhat frequent reports of the thief leaving the U-lock pieces behind, which Kenny and crew never did previously (can anyone guess at that logic?), I had already been thinking Kenny's regular assistant might be in the clink.

We've heard that Wilmette police have matched at least two bikes via CSBR listings- will update if any specifics come along.


Kevin Conway said:

Howard and I have a difference of opinion on this. I think we're seeing upwards of 20% fewer angle grinder on U-Lock thefts as compared to historic numbers, and have been for the past couple of months. The sample's still too small to draw conclusions, but the difference is noticeable. I'll be interested to learn (if we do) how long these guys have been devoting their attention to the North Shore commuter market, as opposed to the Chicago market.

James Baum said:

Thanks Howard.  That is nice to know.  My bike(s) isn't exactly "high end" but sure are nice to me.

 

Did these guys do the majority of the daylight thefts too?  Or was their MO both day and night?  I never lock up outside overnight if I can help it and never lock to a sucker pole (with or without the bolt).  It would be nice to think my chances of bike theft went down dramatically with these tools off the street. 



H3N3 said:

James,

They don't account for a large percentage of overall bike theft in Chicago.

Of the theft of nicer/newer looking road-style bicycles which are properly secured with a U-lock to a stable object, they account for the majority.

They're not the only folks out there with angle grinders, but they're far and away the busiest.

As long as they're off the street, you're reasonably secure as long as you lock your bike with a U-lock to something that can't be easily sawed or broken.

I wonder, with the degree of high-end bikes these guys were moving, what kind of clientele these guys were catering to.  

 

It's not always possible to know if a bike is stolen or not, but at a certain point when these guys are constantly moving high-end used bikes some red flags just start to pop up.  There have to be some complicit bike-buying customers out there who have helped this crew (and others) make money at this trade. 

 

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