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Epic Frustration After an Attempted Scooter Theft

by Prince Of Petworth February 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm 40 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

On Wednesday afternoon, two youths tried to steal one of my scooters (as seen on sweet city ride: the rumpshaker). I was coming out of the bathroom when I heard a small crash outside, and would have thought nothing about it except for that a friend had pointed out two suspicious looking kids pointing at the front of our house earlier in the day. I wasn’t there, so I cannot attest to whether the kids were suspicious looking or just pointing very suspiciously. When I ran to my bedroom window, I saw two teens pushing the scooter out of my back gate. I found them in the alley attempting to hotwire? the rumpshaker; however, all they did was figure out how to open the front storage area. Having just underwear and wool socks on, I gave them a good scare (as the sight of me in my underwear would), knocking one of the kids to the ground and doing my best to come up with curse words. They ran down the alley and I wheeled the scooter back inside and called the police who said they would “canvas the area.”

Not satisfied with the police response, I was still pretty pissed and decided to try to give chase and maybe increase the chances of the police finding these kids. Not being sure which direction the teens went, I decided to run toward McKinley school, not so much because it made sense, but because it was downhill. As I was coming up on the school, I realized that in the adrenaline rush and my attempt to make a sensible, profane-laced outburst, I wasn’t really sure what the perpetrators looked like. Luckily, as I was running down the street, a teen let out a prepubescent shrill–leading me to wonder if these teens were teens at all–and two kids shot out of a crowd and took off down an alley. Thinking that was pretty suspicious behavior, I called the police again and gave chase and stayed on the phone while I ran after the teens from neighborhood to neighborhood, doing my best to make up for my inability to string together a profanity-laced coherent thought from earlier. They eventually jumped a fence and ran into some warehouses by the CBT, and I gave up my efforts for a couple reasons: I’m old, I just did leg day at the gym, I didn’t have the appropriate footwear, etc…I slowly ascended the hill back up to my house feeling some sense of achievement for at least making the effort to enforce some sort of citizen justice.

However, the real reason for submitting this story to you is to iterate my complete lack of faith in the DC police. In the 45 minutes I was giving chase and the police were “canvassing,” I never once saw a police cruiser; nor, did the 911 responder discourage me from chasing the teens. Had I caught up to the teens (which I totally would have, given the proper footwear), I imagine it could have ended in only two ways, both which should have led the 911 responder to say something more than, “I’m updating your location,” to which I say, updating it to whom?

Also, this is not the first time that someone has attempted to hotwire one of my scooters. Granted, the brazen stupidity of these criminal masterminds entering someone’s backyard with the reckless abandonment of two elephants is shocking enough, but the hubris to think that you have the mechanical skills to hotwire a scooter? The last time someone attempted to hotwire my scooter, they literally tore out every electrical wire (even the horn) and it took needless hours to rewire them all. How many wires do you have to try to hotwire before you say enough is enough?

I can’t say that I am disappointed in the MPD. It’s like ordering a pizza from papa john’s and then realizing that your pizza sucks. I know what to expect. I am, however, extremely disappointed in the caliber of DC criminals nowadays. Also, I completely forgot to mention how difficult it would be to get a scooter that has been sitting all winter to start anyways. They woulda been at it for hours. Totally not well thought out.”

  • ANC

    I’m sorry for your trouble and am glad the Rumpshaker is still with its rightful owner.

    Maybe I missed it, but am I right in imagining this 45-minute chase sequence taking place in your underwear (tightie whities, in my mind’s eye) and socks? Because, if so, I’m going to need someone to make a web comic/dramatic reenactment of this mmmmNOW.

    • Elvis’s Mom

      I’m right there with you. Not proud of it, but there it is…

    • textdoc

      I was wondering the same thing — there’s no “I went back inside for a moment and put some clothes on, and then…”

    • phl2dc

      Yup. Wondered the same thing.

  • Chimbo

    Are these scooters chained up in your backyard? or just parked? Either way in a perfect world your property you never be stolen. But as someone else who owns a scooter I always like to know if these teen perpetrators are able to get past chains/locks in these theft scenarios…

  • timmyp2353

    Great story. I mean you at least probably a few people’s afternoons with that tale so there’s that at least.

  • stacksp

    Boxers or boxer briefs?

    • derp derp

      +1. The people want to know!

    • Matt


      • Anon

        +1 I see what you did there.

  • anon

    this story made my day. thanks.

    • ET

      That and the URL for the post……

  • Truxton Thomas

    Aww, look at you and your cute little adventure.

  • quincycyclist

    Use a chain, lock your back gate. That will make it not worth it for some kids to mess with.

  • jch2k

    BRB , paying these kids not to steal scooters.

    • Thought

      Well done. And not far from the truth.

      • textdoc

        You forgot to tie Brianne Nadeau into it.

        • ustreeter

          She was busy trying to justify the homeless shelter near the new Whole Foods — ” we’re running out of space to put it.”

  • Teddy

    Hahaha, thank you OP, that story was great. Sorry for the frustration but thank you for giving chase and scaring the sh*t out of those kids.

  • ke

    Good story, and glad you don’t have to write in with, “Has anyone seen my rumpshaker?” It might be interesting to follow up with the Commander and ask whether any units were actually dispatched. Since you mentioned here that you aren’t sure what the little turkeys look like, it’s unlikely that a positive ID would have been possible anyway. But, the police response or lack thereof would be interesting to follow up on. Finally, I would also like to know whether you were still in socks and underwear during the chase!

  • textdoc

    TLDR summary: A guy(?)’s scooter is stolen by two teenagers. Guy calls police, who take forever to show up. In the meantime, guy chases after the thieves. Does not catch them.

    • wdc

      You forget to mention the underwear.
      Also, I really only need TLDRs when the writing is lousy. Well written stories are, by definition, as long as they need to be.

      • textdoc

        The writing here is fine, but it takes a long time to get to the point.

      • textdoc

        Maybe I’m just in an impatient mood today.

  • MPinDC

    PoP is on a roll with the URLs !

  • BS

    Did he just say “youts?” What’s a “yout?”

    Sorry- just came to mind. +1 to all comments above.

  • Honda Elitist

    As one of the commenters in the Sweet City Ride post pointed out to you, your problem is that weak ass cable lock (if you’re still using it). I’ve got an Elite CH80 as well and haven’t had any problems with kids trying to steal it…yet. You should get the RumpShaker one of these locks that have bars that fit through the smaller wheel holes of the Elite:


  • jenster8dc

    Anyone else picturing The Dude?
    Sorry this happened to you and the RS, but I thank you profusely for the awesome story!

  • Dan

    U Lock, please. Sounds like it wasn’t too hard for these guys/gals to get into your back yard.

    Even if you just chain your gate, a thief will have to toss the bike over the fence. Or go through the fence.

    Good fences (and good locks) make good neighbors.

  • Los

    Alas…rumor has it the Bowser Administration is putting these kids at the top of the list of person who will get money for keeping a clean record. After all if the police does not catch them, the city does not prosecute them, and the court clerk does not enter the correct information, these kids have a clean records and deserve your hard earned $$$ for keeping out of trouble.

    The Dude, nevertheless, shall abide as the rumpshaker really tied the block together

  • Op

    It was definitely boxers. If I could go back and do it again, I have a pair of TMNT briefs that woulda definitely got my point across. And to answer the other question, I did put shorts and a sweatshirt on. I’d also like a redo for that, but I didn’t think that I’d actually find them again.

  • AnonV2

    1) A 2x2x1 foot hole in the ground
    2) A couple of bags of concrete
    3) A sturdy, 3/4-1″ eyebolt with a long shank attached to a 2×2″ plate
    4) A kryptonite chain or u-lock

    Scooters are much less attractive targets when you need a sledge or jackhammer to extract them.

  • Caroline

    You, sir, are an amusing fellow! I now know why superheroes wear their underwear on the outside.

  • anon

    If it is the same owner of the scooter as last summer, I would have been scared too. He’s not a small guy.

  • Guillermo Brown

    I’ve called 9-11 here and there for different things: suspicious character walking out of my backyard, suspicious character who walked INTO my house one summer day when I’d left the door unlocked accidentally, guy screaming profanities at everyone in sight and walking in the middle of the street–you know, the usual stuff. Every time I’ve done so, the operator asks me a barrage of questions that keeps me on the phone longer than I’d like. Is this standard operating procedure? I get it, the more info the better, but in one case I had to repeat the same description of the suspect while it sounded like the operator was typing? Are they dispatching as they’re inputting the info, or are we all at the mercy of how quick the operator can digest and input the information given to them?
    My favorite was my call to the above-mentioned character who walked into my house. When I told the operator what happened, she said, “are you serious?!” Like she was talking to a friend after work about some crazy story that happened.

  • g

    Why are people assuming that hos version of the events are accurate and not exaggerated? Tired of oeople bashing MPD. If you think we suck so bad submit an application and try doing what you think is as easy as typing it into reality. What if the company you worked hard for everyday was constantly criticised in media and in person by the customers you serve and no matter how well something is done the customer is still not satisfied. No other business but public safety comes when you command it to and for whatever the reason. The police responded, perhaps you were too winded to give an exact location or notice the cars. No one else called to aid you and help the police find you? Be mad at your neighborhood.

    • Op

      The being old and tired comments were part of self deprecating humor. I only stopped giving chase because it was obvious that nothing was to come from it. I’ve a solid sub 6:00 beer mile, and race the g8 bus daily, and win at least 3/4 of the time, of course the bus driver might not know we are racing.
      I’m pretty sure I can think of other occupations that come when you command…
      Plumbers, service industry, uber, the only difference is that they’re actually held accountable. Though, uber is stretching that a bit.
      Also, as my post stated, I’m not disappointed by the dcpd, but by the sorry state of criminal activity in this city. I like papa johns because i know it’s going to be cheap and taste like cardboard. I love the consistency. So… Not a criticism of dcpd at all.

  • Nycnate

    I’ve had one tenant raped in a Craigslist scam (Petworth). Person called and said he was interested in a room for rent. Also had one tenant (Congress heights) and her guess stabbed in an attempted rape. No arrests in either case.


    Unsurprisingly unsurprised on MPD’s (lack of) response. But most importantly: you made something not funny actually hilarious to read. Well-written. Bravo, sir.

  • I had a Honda Elite 80 stolen years back and reported it to police. They took a report but, I’m sure did literally nothing to actually look for it. I carried that key around for years thinking I might run into it someday.

    I agree on the hotwiring skills of thieves – I have a 1984 Honda Aero (NH125) that I rebuilt and have thieves try to hotwire it several times. First time they accomplished breaking the front fairing, this time they drilled out the ignition key. (no idea how it would start with a drilled out ignition – and, unless the drilling somehow charged the battery…)

    Anyway, just sucks – scooter is pretty rare in the US and my Ebay parts have to come from places like Vietnam or New Zealand.

    I’ve gone through several locks and highly recommend the Onguard Beast #8017LPT for strength and usability (you can use the entire 4.5 feet because you don’t have to loop back around)



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