19 Comment

  • With a cordless sawzall and a good metal cutting blade (total investment: under $100) this would take less than a minute. It would have been a very loud minute, but by the time anybody would react they would be gone. My bet is that a scooter was chained up here.

    • Yes, exactly. The clean cuts indicate that this was a cordless power saw, it should be a very fast and easy job. Also, this strip is pretty deserted late at night, so no issues with bystanders. There’s an embassy and a large hotel nearby, not much foot traffic.
      I disagree about this being a scooter. That would involve another element of work (breaking the lock and/or loading it into a truck).

      • Probably a scooter, I think guys like this have been documented on PoP before. They indeed likely do have a truck and load the scooters in the back after cutting them free; it would only take two people. They would have the opportunity to work on the much tougher chain lock at their leisure. There is a cottage industry of stolen scooters and parts in this town.

        • agreed with your comment about two people working together. an acquaintance once told me that he was at the gym on the treadmill and watched out the window as two people lifted his scooter (with just a large chain lock on the wheel or something) into a truck and drove off.

        • Frankly, if someone is parking their scooter at a bike rack they deserve to have this happen to them.

          • why? a scooter can legally be parked at a bike rack in DC.

          • Petrock, I believe scooters can’t legally be parked on sidewalks in D.C. (I went on a date in Chinatown with a guy whose scooter got a ticket while we were on the date.) Maybe a bike rack would be OK as long as it were in the street?

          • Not allowed on sidewalks or next to bike racks, but it’s rarely enforced. I park next to a single freestanding U-rack on the sidewalk everyday in the CBD and never have issues.

      • ah

        They’d have to break the lock on a bike too . . . .either way, carting off the scooter/bike to a place where the lock can be taken off in a more leisurely fashion makes sense (from a thief’s perspective).

      • I disagree on the power saw theory. Look at the heat stress marks inside of the tube below the cut. I think someone used an acetylene torch. Virtually silent and given the diameter of the tube, would be done in 30 seconds. You can buy a cheap one for a couple hundred bucks.

        • geek question here — but wouldn’t a sawzall also create significant friction/heat marks? Maybe less than a torch, but likely some. It would be noisy as hell for a reason

          • No, its definitely a reciprocating (sawzall) saw with a metal blade. You can’t cut stainless steel with an oxy-acetylene torch. A plasma cutter seems like an unlikely candidate. The scorch marks are are just the result of friction heat. As mentioned earlier the battery operated sawzalls are pretty inexpensive and very effective against a static object like the bike rack. It wasn’t (isnt?) uncommon for skateboarders to cut off ‘anti-skate’ devices on rails in the same manner.

          • and probably easier to cut a hollow mounted stainless steel post than a dense steel U lock without stabilization between lock and rack

  • Ally

    I once had a bike stolen from my front yard when, in the middle of the night, they cleanly sawed right through the U-Lock that was locking it to my iron fence. I decided that, after that, they deserved the bike. 😉

  • I often tie up to parking meters with an intense U-lock. If someone wants to pull a cool hand luke to lift a $300 bike with off-brand components, more power to them.

  • which is why you lock both wheels as well. There are so many instances where only the frame is secured. If they want to cut through something, at least force them to either carry the whole thing or remove the locks. Even if thief is willing to spend x minutes on the rack, they may not be willing to spend y minutes on additional locks. Unless it’s a thief with a truck nearby that’s a bad plan — they’ll move on to an easier target.

  • Have walked by this many times — this sawed-through rack has actually been sawed-through for months.

  • I’d guess one of these, the cut is way too clean to be a torch.

    When my bike was stolen, they easily cut my U-lock with an angle grinder.

  • They way the stainless steel is discolored on the inside, I agree that it looks like it was done with a torch.

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