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“All three of our bikes (our only mode of transportation) were stolen out of our garage” Please Keep Your Eyes Peeled

by Prince Of Petworth — August 12, 2014 at 10:50 am 65 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

All three of our bikes (our only mode of transportation) were stolen out of our garage in Park View, in the alley between Irving St NW and Columbia Rd. NW between Warder and Georgia Ave. The crime happened between 10pm on 8/11/14 and 6:30am on 8/12. Unfortunately, there was no way to lock them to anything in our garage so they were locked to themselves. The thieves came in the back yard and through a second story window into the 2-story garage, jumping down below and opening the garage door from the inside. We just purchased and moved into this home a few weeks ago, so needless to say we are gutted.

Taken were: 2008 navy blue Bianchi Volpe with a Brooks saddle, SPD pedals and drop handlebars with brown tape, featuring a large dent in the top tube; a 2008 forest green Surly Long Haul Trucker with an Air Zound air horn, Brooks saddle, black handlebar tape, a Surly “Nice” rear rack and SPD pedals; and our most prized possession, a 2005 silver Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike with an Xtracycle long tail attachment and black Surly front fork, with a padded “magic carpet” seat on the rear and blinky lights strung about.

We rode off from our wedding on the Xtracycle, use it to haul our Christmas trees in the winter, and are in the midst of training for a century on our other two bikes.

We are particularly concerned that a neighbor was involved in this theft as it seems unlikely that a random thief would break into our garage in such a manner without knowing the interior contents.

Please be on the lookout for these special bikes! Contact christinaines[at]gmail[dot]com with any information or if you see these bikes around town!


  • Anonymous

    oh damn, that sucks. beautiful bikes too.

  • Shawly

    This totally sucks. We’ve had a number of bikes stolen out of our garage, too, so I totally sympathize. One suggestion for all those who (like us) don’t have anything to lock their bikes to in the garage: we bought a large bucket and filled it with quick-pour concrete. Before it set we put the ends of two very heavy gauge metal chains in to make loops that we can put our U-locks through. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but it does make it a lot more annoying (if nothing else) to steal our bikes.–you either have to cut the locks/chains or steal two bikes and a bucket of concrete all at the same time.

    I really hope you get your bikes back!

    • Anonymous

      good idea!!

      • hmm

        you can also get anchors that you can drill into your garage floors.

  • Herr grumpus

    Oof. At least they are very distinctive bikes. Will keep on radar…good luck.

  • Cyclist

    Sorry to hear about that happening, and especially troubling since they broke into your home (garage) and didn’t just steal it off the porch or something. You may have already done so, but definitely file a police report. If you have the serial numbers that could help a lot down the road in recovery, if you find them.

    Keep an eye out on craigslist, not just in DC but surrounding cities. Also on eBay, and checking in with local pawn shops wouldn’t hurt too – they may have footage of someone coming in to try and sell it, even if the shop didn’t accept it. I’d talk to your neighbors too, see if anyone saw anything and also just nice to give them a heads up on the potential for crime.

    At least the bikes are very recognizable and differentiated (especially the Xtracycle!) so it should be much easier to spot if the thieves try to sell on an open market. Good luck and hope that you find them.

  • Jess

    That sucks. And a why I keep my bike in my Apartment. I named it ‘my boo’ and when I lived in just a room somewhere, it lived at the end of my bed. People steal bikes even if they are chained up to something in a garage. Wheel locks. Seat locks. Kryptonite. Good luck!

    • Anonymous

      Right, I keep my bike in a stairwell under my house that is between a locked gate and a locked door into my basement.

  • Sunsquashed

    My wife’s bike was stolen on the corner of Georgia and Columbia. We found it two days later on the basketball court in the park across the street. I had to snatch the bike out from under some dude who was riding off with it, but we got the bike back. In our case, it was a situation where my wife left the bike unattended by the stoop for a minute, and someone quickly snatched it. This is very different from breaking into a garage, but you might want to keep your eyes peeled around the neighborhood, especially in the park.

  • Anonymous

    Major Bummer. Really sorry to hear this. Hopefully, you find them!

    On the subject of how to secure your bikes in a garage, I installed a Kyptonite anchor I bought from Amazon on my concrete parking pad in my garage. I had to rent a hammer drill from Home Depot to install 3 very large bolts in the concrete, but now I have a very secure place to keep my bikes locked in my garage.

    See: http://www.amazon.com/Kryptonite-330202-Ground-Stronghold-Anchor/dp/B000LF903M/ref=sr_1_10?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1407855653&sr=1-10

  • Anon

    That really does suck, but I find the “our only mode of transportation” lament to be a little over the top. You live in the city, have feet and access to public transportation. I don’t think you’re stranded in your house without your bikes.

    • me

      -1 because that’s not the point.

      • Anon

        Well then they didn’t need to put it in the first line and header. Lots of people in this town don’t have cars or bikes. Add on publicly saying you suspect your neighbors (who you don’t even know yet) and you’ve got a pretty tone deaf post. Just describe the bikes and tell us where they were taken from. We’ll keep an eye out for them whether you use a BMW or a SmartCard.

        • OP

          i suppose that’s fair re: the neighbors, but based on entry point i believe we were being cased by someone in the neighborhood who has seen us take the bikes in and out from the garage. that’s what i meant.

          • Anonymous

            Welcome to the PoP’ville commentariat! We’re a surly bunch.

    • Anonymous

      Don’t be a dong.

    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      your day will get better, honey. its okay.

    • sizz

      seriously dude, that is so not the point, jesus.

  • OP

    We had it all… individually keyed locking skewers for wheels and seats, mega Kryptonite U-locks holding them together…

    Unfortunately, we just moved in to the home and hadn’t sorted out the best way to lock everything up yet. Lots of stairs keep us from storing them indoors like we used to (especially the heavy and long Xtracycle). I’m appreciating the ideas for “permanent” racks/locks that I can install in the future. Thanks for the bike DC love!

    • Anonymous

      : (

      i’d be so crushed. i’m sorry.

    • GiantSquid

      If you or someone you know is on Twitter, circulate the photos with #bikeDC. A lot of folks will keep their eyes peeled for your bikes.

    • DF

      Sorry to hear man!
      I’ve had one bike stolen from a locked storage unit in our building and “locked” up in CH (say that cause it was a cable lock). I know the feeling. Wishing you luck getting them back.

    • Could always get a motion sensor alarm in the garage that activates/deactivates with a key chain. It doesn’t need to call the police, but it could have a really loud alarm.

      If you do have an alarm system, you can get a garage door sensor added to the system. Then you can set it up so you can just activate it at night and during the day when you are gone.

  • This definitely sucks, but should at least be covered by your homeowners or renters’ insurance policy. These sound like expensive bikes, so I hope they are able to replace them for you!

    • OP

      insurance, yes! we just bought the home and *thankfully* chose the high premium/low deductible plan. still a $1000 deductible, but phew.

  • Me

    That’s so terrible, and not just because of the loss of property that’s meaningful to you, but also because this happening so shortly after you moved in must make you feel insecure. I’m so sorry about this. 🙁

  • Maire

    Oh no, that is awful. Great bikes and it sounds like you had a lot of good memories with them. You can (and should) file a police report… you can do it online if you don’t want to call 911.

  • Anonymous

    Wow that is brazen. How did the thief even get in the second story window? Was there a ladder handy? Was it not locked? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised someone would do that, but I am (and I’ve lived in DC for 12 years).

    • OP

      the garage is accessible through a window that is old and not in good shape via our backyard, which is elevated from the alley. they came up the stairs, through the back gate, and then opened the window to the garage from the exterior, jumping down into it. i think they were casing us if they knew how to do that.

      • Anonymous

        They may have robbed the prior owners the same way. Note that the “they” doesn’t have to be neighbors. Could be someone who doesn’t live in the area and is familiar with the house.
        For Sale sign + Sold + new owners moved in = opportunity.
        Even if people see you moving nice things into your home and are inclined to target you, they are less likely to do so if it doesn’t look like an easy job. So it might also be worth investing in an alarm system that covers the house and garage.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah I’d tend to agree with you- especially if you have privacy fencing and they couldn’t have seen the window from the alley. Does your gate lock/is it high?

      • textdoc

        Not entirely sure from your description what the layout is like, but if there’s a way to close off the stairs with a tall(er) fence or something, I’d recommend doing that.
        It’s not a guarantee that nobody will climb over the fence or get over it with a ladder, but it makes it slightly harder and therefore makes your house/garage a less attractive candidate.

      • MJ

        Probably a silly question, but did you change the locks in the house and garage? Who kows who could have had keys! Hope you find the bikes. Cheers!

  • gotryit

    Definitely report it – it makes it a lot easier to get it back if you do spot one. And given the unique look of them, you very well might.

  • Nick

    Not the Xtracycle!! As a fellow Xtracycle aficionado, I really feel your pain. I’ll keep an eye out. Hopefully such a distinctive bike will be easy to spot on Craigslist.

    And as a neighbor of yours who has dealt with his share of shady alley behavior, I can share my experience: all terrible alley behavior I’ve personally witnessed has been perpetuated by dudes who don’t live on our block. I wouldn’t necessarily assume it’s one of your immediate neighbors. I call the cops all the time to roust shady types who congregate in the back.

    • OP

      yes — to clarify, i should have written “someone in the neighborhood” rather than “neighbors” but in the moment it seemed synonymous. what i meant was, someone who is frequently in the alley and who has seen us move our bikes in and out in this manner. thanks for being a watchful citizen!

      • Anonymous

        Am very sorry to hear this. I’m one of your immediate neighbors on Irving, OP, and you’ve definitely changed my mind about keeping my bike locked up in my back outdoor stairwell (same alley). I ‘ve also just heard that the goons now have devices that cut Kryptonite locks open quite easily., so back to the living room it goes, however unsightly.

      • Anonymous

        But you have no basis for guessing it is someone from the neighborhood, either. I’m sure your neighbors have had worse stuff stolen over the prior years.

        I think the bike theft rings are a bit more structured and sophisticated, and even if there was some local thief, they were supplying a regional operator. It’s hard to ride off with 3 bikes unless you plan in advance, and it isn’t worth breaking and entering for a small payday like a bike so I doubt it was an impulse theft.

        • Anonymous

          why are you sure the neighbors have had worse stuff stolen?
          how do you negate ops assumption with your own assumption?

  • kken

    Always sucks when you lose a bike. To lose three? Almost as crushing as hearing Robin Williams has passed away.

    I’ll keep an eye out for your bikes and maybe post your info on my bike blog if that’s OK. Brooks saddles always catch my eye and a cargo bike is always very unique out on the streets.

    • OP

      this would make my day! it is the bike we rode off on after our wedding. this cannot stand!

      • anon

        I’d keep an eye on the brooks saddle or any components on CL and then narrow in. These bikes are wayyyy too distinct (and nice) to sell as an entire bike. They will strip them down and sell piece by piece. Brooks saddles have serial #s, right!?

  • Identified

    As I too had my bike stolen recently (indoor bike room in the basement), I feel your pain.
    Back in the day thieves broke into our garage and stole my bike, which was locked to a 4×4 wooden support post. Instead of breaking the lock.. they cut through the post. Landloard was less than pleased, but he did then update the door to the garage.
    Sending good wishes for a speedy return, though it is highly unlikely.


  • bike geek

    Since you have a garage and no car taking up all the space you might want to install a bike rack in there that you can lock bikes to. Just bolt it into the concrete pad. You can buy them online or I’ve found them on craigslist before. Keeping a look out. Sorry for your loss.

  • Anonymous

    Rode off from your wedding on a bike?
    +1 That is so awesome in a bike-nerdy way.

    • Emilie504

      It’s awesome to this non-bike nerd, too! I bet there are some cute pix.

  • bll

    i know it’s not all that convenient since you have a garage, but is there any way to store them somewhere in your apartment/house? maybe i’m a pessimist, but if they’ve already figured out how to access your garage what’s to stop them from jumping in one day, checking out the situation and then bringing the required tools?

  • Oh_Sweet_Thing

    *cries for you* I’m so sorry. My bike was recently stolen off a rack and it was “just” a used Schwinn and I still cried for 10 minutes so I am so sorry this happened to you!

    If you own your place, consider drilling one of these into the ground: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kryptonite-Strong-Hold-Above-Ground/dp/B000LF903M

    It’s what we use for our vespa and it seems to have worked so far. It’s a bitch to install though, we had to buy a new drill because our normal one wasn’t powerful enough to get several inches into cement.

  • nosey neighbor

    The same thing happened to us when we first moved into our condo building almost 7 years ago. It left an eery feeling that we must have been watched for some time. The thieves somehow broke in through the roof hatch (breaking the locks) ran down 4 flights of stairs into our basement and ran out the front door with 3 bikes. We believe it happened during the day. There was no way they would even know about that roof hatch (or bikes) without being inside our building at some point. Access to our roof from the outside is impossible without a 3 story ladder. A separate unrelated incident of theft happened also during the daytime hours, where the thieves were so bold as to put a ladder up to a 2 story window and enter an apartment to steal. It’s creepy! I think there are thieves who watch for new neighbors who are totally oblivious to the perils surrounding them.

  • nettie

    those are some good looking bikes! I hope you get them back soon!

  • Angry Parakeet

    My alley (between Irving and Kenyon) is constantly cased. There are sections where visibility is zero because of garages on both sides. Because of all the houses undergoing renovation, thieves prey on the construction workers. When I 1st moved to Park View 8 yrs ago my garage was broken into 3 times (I put more locks on), house once while I was sleeping and now I’ve seen that someone is coming into my back yard by bending the gate post and pushing through. Losses from theft: 2 bikes, electric tools, welding tanks, liquor, laptop, wallet, shopping cart.

  • anonymous

    Sorry to hear about your bikes. Will keep an eye out….good luck.

    Whenever I have house guests from out of town, they always look at me like I’m crazy when I lock up my bikes INSIDE the house, to the closest heavy object….furniture, staircase railing, whatever works, and often with more than one lock. I’ve never had my bikes stolen, but if any thief ever enters my house – and unfortunately I always assume that someday this will happen – they are going to have to work for it.

    And please neighbors who are working on your houses/porches: put your ladders away at the end of the day!

  • Manor Place

    Hello, neighbor and fellow cyclist. I live a few blocks north of you. Please don’t let this spoil the neighborhood for you. It really is a fantastic place to live–especially for cyclists.

    • Manor Place

      oooh, also: despite it being a great neighborhood, I always keep my bike inside. Used to lock it on the front porch with single U-lock. Thieves will 100% steal whatever is not locked down–front/rear wheel, lights, bells, etc.

    • OP

      Just last night, riding home from a friend’s, going fast and free down Park Place, we were commenting about how much we love being in the area. We still do. Just totally gutted for the time being. Thanks and nice to “meet” you!

  • john

    Feel your pain …. my 2 month old bike (that I bought when I moved into the city) was stolen last Wednesday along with others from the basement of my Mt. Pleasant condo building. Mine was locked to a rack with a u lock and cable lock. Not sure it could have been more secure, unless it was in my unit. Thought those u locks were supposed to be theft proof. Guess not — only evidence that my bike was ever there were the saw marks on the rack. Did file a police report. Did attempt to file a claim with the lock manufacturer, but they had no record of the paperwork I submitted via first class mail.

    Not to be deterred, I bought a new one Saturday and cleared a spot for it inside my apartment 🙂

    • bll

      we’ve found that the bathtub is a great storage space for a bike.

  • jerseygirl

    heartbreaking! i will also keep an eye out for your bikes! i have one of those super armored NYC kryptonite chain locks that cost me almost $200… in my first week in DC someone clearly took a power tool and tried to cut through the lock. it was ground down in 3 different places, but all they managed to do was damage the plastic coating. I couldn’t believe it though — nothing like that ever happened to me in NYC and i can’t imagine it was a quiet process of power grinding through the lock. luckily, the lock stood up to the abuse, but that experience scared me away from ever locking my bike up outside.

  • Anon

    God Bless Park Morton…

    • Anonymous

      And God bless you!

  • Anon

    That sucks. Those are my kind of bikes. Love the old school approach (chromoly frames, brooks saddles, etc). Plus Xtra! Hope you get them back.

  • BearE10

    This story sounds oh so painfully familiar. We too had three bikes stolen from our garage just weeks after purchasing and moving into our home on Capitol Hill last year. The thief jumped the fence, broke out our window and then exited through the garage door. The good news is that two of the three bikes were recovered! One was taken by the police before we even knew the theft had occurred. They posted it on craigslist, and we had it back within a couple hours. The second bike was discovered on craigslist almost 40 days later, spelled incorrectly and listed for a tenth of the price of the bike. DC MPD was absolutely amazing and instrumental in getting that bike back with an undercover operation. The person who broke in and stole our bikes was NOT from our neighborhood so I’d hesitate to start blaming neighbors. This guy constantly breaks in places, steals and turns around and sells items for basically nothing for quick drug money. All it takes is one person passing by and seeing you go inside with your bike. The police gave us lots of advice including putting bars on the garage windows and installing cameras (a few hundred bucks at Costco), and we haven’t had any additional problems. We actually caught the guy on camera coming back again, but a spot light came on, he saw the camera and then bolted. So it’s a definite deterrent. We were a bit green and naive about the security of our garage having a window and door that faced our yard. It was a crime of opportunity, because we simply hadn’t taken the steps to prevent it form happening. Best of luck! I know it sucks, but please don’t let this damper your excitement about your new home and neighborhood. We met many neighbors THROUGH this happening as we went house to house and told our neighbors so they could make sure they secured their own homes and garages.

  • BearE10

    One additional piece of advice, have an alarm system installed in your garage as well. It seems excessive, but it’s just one more deterrent.

  • TakomaNick

    I feel for them. This would be absolutely crushing to me. Yes, someone probably knew they were there.

    On a related note, I am shocked at how many bikes I see that our poorly locked around town. There are so many cable locks and poor quality U-Locks. It’s obvious that the bikes are going to be stolen at some point. Bike stores shouldn’t even be selling some of these locks. I’ve thought about having a sticky note pad printed that has boxes that I can check for each of the reasons why their bike is going to be stolen. And then I could just leave it on the bike.


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