The Chainlink

Within the last two days friends have mentioned seeing CPD pulling cyclists over and checking their bikes out to see if it was stolen.  One incident were some bike cops checking the serial number and photographing it for someone riding a carbon fiber bike with high end carbon wheels and clipless while wearing gym clothes and running shoes.  The second was someone getting pulled over by a police cruiser twice while ghost riding a bike to deliver it.  

Is this a new thing? Has the CPD started caring about bike theft and is taking steps to combat it?

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> Has the CPD started caring about bike theft ...

One can only hope!

Thad would be great! I saw a guy riding up Ashland in jeans and sneakers on a tri bike with aero bars the other day - tried to call it in to have someone check it out, but lost track of him after a few blocks.

How did your friend know that the bicyclist was "delivering" the bike he was ghostriding?

I've ghost ridden a bike numerous time to the shop. I would be really ticked off if the cops pulled me over for that.

Tough one. That is the give and take off increased vigilance. If we want increased scrutiny for thieves we may be asked a few questions.  If the encounter is quick, efficient and does not start in a confrontational manner I say you have to deal with it.  It all depends on how the encounter develops.  

"Sir, please pull over. We have some questions about that bike you are carrying."

"Hey, I am bringing it to XYZ Cycles, you guys wanna give me an escort?"

That may be all it takes.

Duppie said:

How did your friend know that the bicyclist was "delivering" the bike he was ghostriding?

I've ghost ridden a bike numerous time to the shop. I would be really ticked off if the cops pulled me over for that.

Some CPD officers *do* care about bike theft.  This morning I was talking to an officer I know who mentioned getting called to the scene where a citizen had spotted a bike thief who had just stolen two bikes.  The guy was riding one bike and leading the other.  The citizen chased down the thief, who got away with the bike he was riding but dropped the other one.

The recovered bike had a sticker from a local shop.  The officer contacted the shop, but they were unable to look up the owner by serial # - booo!!!! 

If you live in a near north condo building and had your bike stolen last night, please contact me and provide identifying info for the bike, and I can put you in touch with the officer who recovered your bike. 

Where do you draw the line with this increased vigilance? And more importantly, why there?

Pull over folks ghost riding a bike? Stop-and-frisk? Electronic surveillance of your email and phone records?



David Barish said:

Tough one. That is the give and take off increased vigilance. If we want increased scrutiny for thieves we may be asked a few questions.  If the encounter is quick, efficient and does not start in a confrontational manner I say you have to deal with it.  It all depends on how the encounter develops.  

"Sir, please pull over. We have some questions about that bike you are carrying."

"Hey, I am bringing it to XYZ Cycles, you guys wanna give me an escort?"

That may be all it takes.

Duppie said:

How did your friend know that the bicyclist was "delivering" the bike he was ghostriding?

I've ghost ridden a bike numerous time to the shop. I would be really ticked off if the cops pulled me over for that.

All real good questions.  Where is that line? There is always a balance between how important the problem is and how much intervention we will tolerate.  None of us want to live in a police state. None of us want police to be profiling, racially or otherwise. However, we want them to use good instincts and be consistent. I think asking a few questions to a ghost rider, especially after a report of a theft, or asking a question to  a guy wearing gym shoes riding a bike that has clipless pedals seems reasonable. I don't foresee the scales tipping to the point where they were in the 1950's with witches and communists being seen in every living room justifying intrusions into our liberties in response to a bicycle thief.  That being said, you will find plenty on this forum who will call for the thief to be burned at the stake.  We can be neither a lynch mob nor anarchists.
Duppie said:

Where do you draw the line with this increased vigilance? And more importantly, why there?

Pull over folks ghost riding a bike? Stop-and-frisk? Electronic surveillance of your email and phone records?



David Barish said:

Tough one. That is the give and take off increased vigilance. If we want increased scrutiny for thieves we may be asked a few questions.  If the encounter is quick, efficient and does not start in a confrontational manner I say you have to deal with it.  It all depends on how the encounter develops.  

"Sir, please pull over. We have some questions about that bike you are carrying."

"Hey, I am bringing it to XYZ Cycles, you guys wanna give me an escort?"

That may be all it takes.

Duppie said:

How did your friend know that the bicyclist was "delivering" the bike he was ghostriding?

I've ghost ridden a bike numerous time to the shop. I would be really ticked off if the cops pulled me over for that.

Definitely a new thing.  First I've heard of the CPD being proactive about bike theft was the recovery on Western Ave I posted about last week.

Thanks for the heads-up, Jeremy!

I'm going to take a wild guess that that shop shares a name with a thrift store and a movie theater.

Anne Alt said:

Some CPD officers *do* care about bike theft.  This morning I was talking to an officer I know who mentioned getting called to the scene where a citizen had spotted a bike thief who had just stolen two bikes.  The guy was riding one bike and leading the other.  The citizen chased down the thief, who got away with the bike he was riding but dropped the other one.

The recovered bike had a sticker from a local shop.  The officer contacted the shop, but they were unable to look up the owner by serial # - booo!!!! 

If you live in a near north condo building and had your bike stolen last night, please contact me and provide identifying info for the bike, and I can put you in touch with the officer who recovered your bike. 

I imagine this is like anything else-- that a cop needs probable cause to engage you.

I would agree that stopping a random person walking or riding a bike to question them would be out of line.  But doing the same when there's a call of someone having just stolen a bike nearby....dunno.

Ghost riding (or carrying a bike while riding another) is such a rare sight that I'm not completely uncomfortable with the simple act of doing so being considered "probable cause."

The bigger question here IMO is the question of what sort of proof one would be expected to have of ownership of a bike. The majority of us have none most of the time.  I suppose being able to access a registration on Bike Index or the like on your smart phone and show the cop would be useful, if not feasable for everyone.


Duppie said:

How did your friend know that the bicyclist was "delivering" the bike he was ghostriding?

I've ghost ridden a bike numerous time to the shop. I would be really ticked off if the cops pulled me over for that.

Good guess.

h' 1.0 said:

I'm going to take a wild guess that that shop shares a name with a thrift store and a movie theater.

Anne Alt said:

Some CPD officers *do* care about bike theft.  This morning I was talking to an officer I know who mentioned getting called to the scene where a citizen had spotted a bike thief who had just stolen two bikes.  The guy was riding one bike and leading the other.  The citizen chased down the thief, who got away with the bike he was riding but dropped the other one.

The recovered bike had a sticker from a local shop.  The officer contacted the shop, but they were unable to look up the owner by serial # - booo!!!! 

If you live in a near north condo building and had your bike stolen last night, please contact me and provide identifying info for the bike, and I can put you in touch with the officer who recovered your bike. 

**** not a lawyer ****

First, I do agree that this is a slippery slope issue, however, I'm not sure the police need probable cause to ask you a question. They *do* need it to retain you, seize your bike, and/or to search you or your belongings (bike bag, panniers, backpack, etc.). In that case, you can simply refuse to give your permission for these actions and ask for a lawyer. This doesn't mean they will back off, but make it clear that they are doing so without your permission. At this point I'd expect to be taken down to the station, oh joy!

Point is, I'd want a clear statement of probable cause before saying much of anything that might wrongly incriminate myself, particularly if I was ghost riding or doing something weird like wearing the wrong shoes for my fancy-pants bike.

By the way, I have my bike's serial number emailed to myself from the day I bought the bike. I'm thinking that might prove that it's really mine in a pinch. 

**** not a lawyer **** 

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