Stolen Bike – Keep Your Eyes Peeled

“Dear PoP,

I’m a triathlete and I just got back from my Sunday group ride around 11:45am, yesterday. I left my bike on my front porch that had bugs and road gunk on it to come back and clean it off. I thought it would be safe for the 15 mins i left it out there considering my front door was open, my neighbors front door was open and there was a neighbor across the street doing yard work. I came back 15 mins later to find my $3500 bike gone in broad daylight. The neighbor across the street said he step inside to grab lunch and did not see anything. I live on Emerson St NW between New Hampshire Ave and Kansas Ave.

It’s such a shame that you can’t trust anyone or leave anything on your front porch in mid day for 15 mins without losing what you worked so hard for!”

Oh man, so freaking frustrating. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled as well.

Ed. Note: Unfortunately we gotta take this as a lesson learned – the OP does not need a lecture here – but for those with really expensive bikes, I’d err on the side of caution and always bring your bike inside or lock it up even for 15 minutes. It sucks that these precautions are necessary but at the moment this is the world we live in.

49 Comment

  • Oh man…that really sucks!!! I hope do don’t have a tri coming up and I hope you are able to find it. What is that person going to do with aero bars on their “new” bike.

  • Lets just say i would have taken it inside and left it in the entryway rather than risk it get stolen. Who cares if the wall or floor was dirty, that is easily cleaned.

  • To the robber: Drop me a line; I am in the market for a slightly used tri bike.

    All kidding aside, this blows. I will say as additional advice that if you want a neighbor to watch something, make sure to ask them. You can’t assume someone will keep their eye on your stuff or not step into their own house unless you ask. A friend of mine also learned this the hard way with a new chair left out while a neighbor was mowing. 20 minutes later, it was gone (and the neighbor had gone inside and said he would have stayed out if asked).

    Lesson learned, but I hope the bike is recovered.

    I’ve also realized that this is why I don’t have nice stuff.

  • this is a flame, right?

  • Maybe scan the Baltimore, Richmond, and NYC craigslists. I don’t know what you could do if you found it tho..

  • We will be on the lookout for that bike.

  • I’m so so sorry. I know how awful that feels, even though the bikes I have had stolen weren’t nearly as pretty as yours. I hope you get it back.

  • Sorry. That stinks. :(

  • Was the bike’s serial number registered with the MPD? (Does MPD even register bikes in DC?)

  • Are you a member of DC Tri? Post it on the forum so people will be aware and on the lookout. I’m sorry. That really does suck.

  • Given the lack of basic awareness, I think the OP does need a stern lecture:

    1) Lock up or keep on your person anything you don’t want stolen and are not watching carefully. What if you had left $3500 cash or a 3500 flat screen tv on the front porch, still feel safe leaving it for 15 minutes with your neighbor cutting his grass and the door wide open?

    2) Insure your valuables. If you are investing 3500 dollars into anything, you can’t not afford to get it insured.

    3) This is not a “moment that we live in,” sad state of the world thing as you say; this is the way things have always been since the notion of private ownership came into existence.

    Nobody deserves to have such an expensive reality check but I don’t want to hear you blame the world we live in rather than yourself for the fact that your bike got lifted.

    • You have a firm grasp of the obvious.

    • Gee, Jim, do you think the OP hasn’t come to these conclusions on his own? So nice of you to detail them here. How’s that superior feeling treating you?

    • I’m pretty sure it’s still a “world we live in thing”. If we lived in a world even a little older than the one we’re in right now, we might not need to put our belongings under lock and key for a 15 minute out of sight moment. Actually, it’s more of a living in this city thing because there are still places where people leave your crap alone.

      You can say that they should have locked it up but it really is blaming the victim. The truth is people shouldn’t take what’s not theirs. Hell, even little kids get that concept.

  • ledroittiger

    What a pain. I had my really crappy bike stolen off my friend’s back porch on Flagler Place a few months back when I was just inside the kitchen dropping something off. My friend told me to get in his car and we zoomed around the neighborhood for about 20 mins, trying to find the person who stole it. Just when we were about to give up, we came across a bunch of kids playing basketball on Bryant and I recognized one of them just nonchalantly cruising around on my whip. I had to jump out of the car and act like a gorilla to get my property back. Anyway, I was lucky, but if people will take a bike that is probably worth $150, they sure as hell will take yours. This isn’t the suburbs…

    • “I had to jump out of the car and act like a gorilla to get my property back.”
      HAHAA, thanks for that.

  • Make a quick one page flyer with this picture, a description, and your contact info, and distribute to every bike shop in the area. I was in the Bike Rack last year when some idiot brought in a bike and asked them to put on “normal pedals” – thankfully someone had brought a flyer by the day before and they called the owner (and the cops) who came by to clean up the mess.

  • Had same thing happen Sat afternoon – bike stolen from inside the front gate of our house near U St – it was left for less than 5 mins.

  • renter’s insurance should cover the loss if you have any.

  • Bikes sure are popular in DC.

  • ALWAYS take your bike inside.Especially when it cost enough to feed a small village…

  • PoP: “Let’s not lecture this guy…but here’s what he should have done.”

  • I’m with you. I have no idea why anyone would leave a $3500 bike unattended in this city, even if for “only 15 minutes.” You know how many people I know who’ve had property stolen that they left for “only 15 minutes.” It probably took this thief 60 seconds tops to walk up the stairs, grab the bike and disappear down the street. Let’s face it, we live in a city full of thieves who just sit around waiting for an opportunity like this. I wouldn’t leave even a shovel out in the open in this city.

    • Don’t leave your shovel out on a snowy night. It will get stolen.

      • Dude, you totally read my mind! I am still pissed off about losing my metal shovel during snowpocalypse. Left it on the porch while I went inside to take a shower, ended up taking a nap, came out afterwards and it was gone. In my case, neighbor saw some kids walk up to my house, take the shovel and leave. But didn’t say anything; didn’t want to be involved.
        Anyway, I file the OP’s saga under the – “this puts my loss into perspective” file. I’ll take losing a $20 shovel over a $3500 bike any day.

  • I’m really sorry to hear that. I hope you get your bike back.

  • Last night someone was let into our building, WITH BOLT CUTTERS, and stole a locked up road bike between 7:30-8:30 pm. hold onto your bikes, kids!

  • Sorry about your bike being stolen. It is a terrible feeling to know you’ve been taken advantage of.

    Opportunists abound everywhere, and many are brazen enough to take a chance on jumping onto a bike that is on somebody’s front porch and riding off. Even in sleepy ol’ Tenleytown, a number of locked bikes where stolen from racks within a gated area of my condo.

    Never leave your unlocked bike out of your sight. Get a separate insurance policy that covers incidences up to 100% of the purchase price.

    Also, follow Longley’s advice and distribute a flyer to local bike shops, and browse Craigslist every day.

  • On a rainy night I left my bike on my porch overnight, unlocked just sitting there. I went inside to grab a towel and something came up and I just forgot the bike was on the porch. I totally deserved to have it stolen but it was there the next morning untouched. Love my neighbors in Trinidad.

  • TO THE OP: Look in the alleys near your house. Vacant homes and vacant/unused garages and sheds are frequent stash places for thieves.

    You’d think expensive bikes would end up on craigslist but they actually don’t in my experience. People know what they’re worth and like to ride them.

  • I sent photos of the kid walking the alleys in Petworth stealing bikes to the police. Perp got like 5 in our alley alone in a week, kept coming back. Very bold, just walks right onto the property and rides away. Police didn’t do anything about it. Said they could plant a bait bike but never did. Look out for random teen walking alone through the alley in Petworth, no dreads, not a typical thug kid, more of the african fro look, of course he’ll stick out like a sore thumb.

    Forget bikes, look at the spike in fugitives and rapes! Kids in this city scare me.

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/2011/05/teenage-crime-spiking-dc

  • core787

    A friend of mine says he saw a woman dressed in plain clothes (jeans etc) walking with a bike like that one at around 5:30pm (quite a bit after it seems it was stolen) around Kramerbooks on Connecticut Ave. walking towards Dupont Circle. It seems unlikely that after so many hours shed be walking nonchalantly with a stolen bike on Conn Ave but who knows, she may have purchased it from the robber.

    • ledroittiger

      If it was the bike, that was rather brazen, but also not unlikely. A friend of mine at work said her son’s car was stolen from in front of his rental home in Georgetown. In the following two weeks, her son received parking violations no less than THREE times in Bloomingdale and Foggy Bottom. Apparently, crooks are dumb enough to ride around in their hot goods and police are too stupid to link reports of stolen property with databases in other branches.

  • On the bright side, with so much obesity and childhood diabetes in this country, at least some kids are getting exercise.

    • Bicycles are labor-saving devices. Kids are better off walking than riding, provided they are covering the same amount of distance.

  • i would take some days off work and scour craigslist and roam the neighborhood. if it was an opportunity grab it’s not likely a pro. You will probably see someone riding it around in the area. it’s happened to a few friends. that bike will be real easy to spot.

  • the OP makes 15 minutes sound like a short amount of time. on city streets, dozens of people walk by in that period. just takes one thief…

    • +1. Even if it was 5 minutes, I’d be nervous as hell and checking on it every 30 seconds. If it were 15 minutes, I’d fully expect it to be gone.

  • This post should really link back to the thread on locking your doors even when you are at home. Same principle – there are certain things you can’t take for granted living in the city (or at least THIS city).

  • As someone that just spent a significant amount on a bike myself, I have been regularly spotting folks that probably can’t afford on bike that cost $1k, $2k and up. You need to lock those bike up.

    There is a sign on my street with a picture of a man stealing 2 bikes out of someone’s house. Bikes are a real commodity in this city. Be careful with your stuff.

  • I don’t know about Petworth, but farther south stolen bikes tend to end up in Mt. Pleasant. If you ask the bike repair people to keep a lookout they might see it.

  • The exact same thing happened to me this Sunday! At around 3:30PM I left the bike on my front porch (unlocked) and went in the house to put away groceries. I went back out for the bike 20 minutes later and it was no where to be found. My bike was not nearly as expensive as yours, but I feel your pain. I can’t believe it got swiped from my porch while I was in the house. That was some opportunist thief out there!

  • 11th and Columbia. Its Columbia Hts, not Petworth.

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