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“These guys weren’t deterred by a big chain lock so good luck.”

by Prince Of Petworth June 21, 2016 at 3:00 pm 31 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Julia

Ed. Note: If the owner of the scooter wants to talk to OP please email me at [email protected] and I’ll put you in touch.

“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday, watched two guys steal a neighbor’s scooter before sunset and with multiple people around and, in one case, literally walking by.

Watched for over five minutes while giving the 911 dispatcher a play by play as these guys somehow managed to a) free the scooter from a serious chain lock and b) start the scooter and ride off. Not owning a scooter myself I have no idea how either of these things happened.

So to my neighbor on Kalorama Road in Adams Morgan, I’m really sorry. Looked like a nice scooter and wanted you to know I tried to be helpful by calling and staying on the phone with 911. They didn’t dispatch the police until it was too late. To everyone else who owns a scooter, not sure what to say. These guys weren’t deterred by a big chain lock so good luck.”

  • NH Ave Hiker

    You couldn’t go outside and try and scare them off?

    • Anonymous

      All you need to do is yell from across the street “Hey, that’s my scooter! Get away!”
      These clowns will run. Fast. I’ve done it multiple times when I’ve seen people messing with my scooter.

      • Anonymous

        Great that you are willing to put your health and personal safety on the line for your property. I don’t fault someone for not doing the same with respect to someone else’s property (or even their own property), particularly when the person did not turn a blind eye but rather called the police and talked them through what was going on.

        • Jesse

          LOL. Risk of health and personal safety is a stretch. How do you picture this playing out? OP yells at thefts to go away and then they run after and attack the OP? I don’t think anyone is suggesting the OP go up and grab the thiefs. Let’s be realistic here.

          • textdoc

            Possibly the OP thought that the police could get there in time to 1) stop the scooter from being stolen and 2) nab the thieves… and thought having the thieves get _caught_ would be a better outcome than just scaring them off.

    • ZetteZelle

      My guess is that the OP thought that calling the police would be more useful–s/he might or might not be able to scare the thieves off, but if the police came promptly they could arrest the perps in addition to interrupting the crime. (And the 911 operator usually wants to keep you on the line until the cops arrive.)

    • Common Sense

      And potentially risk getting beaten or shot? You must be real tough NH Ave Hiker or should I call you Batman? She did the right thing by calling 911.

      • NH Ave Hiker

        I really doubt most people doing petty theft like that would be that violent. Probably most would run if you called them out on it.

        • JoDa

          I called out an approximately 8-year-old one time (attempting to steal a bike). Got lippy with me. Did run away when I showed that I wasn’t scared, but if that’s how the mini-perps act, I ain’t messing with the full-grown ones!

        • TBD

          Luckily that’s a bet the OP was smart enough not to take. The stakes for being wrong are just too high.
          You can never know what circumstances could turn a petty thief into a violent thief.

        • TJ

          No reason to take a chance. Life is short. Why risk making it shorter. Calling 911 is the right thing to do.

        • Ben

          This would fall into the felony category. Not really that petty. Besides people can desperate to avoid jail

    • HaileUnlikely

      I care more about my life than about your scooter. For all you or I know they might have had a gun. It’s not as if they were abducting a child. A scooter is a thing. And your rage is misdirected. OP says there were lots of people around and walking by. OP did more than anybody else by calling the police. Be mad at the many people who did nothing, not at the one who did something.

  • MtPForMe

    Those serious chains are often closed by a u-lock – which is too bad because u-locks are no match for an angle grinder and a few minutes.

    • bill

      No lock is a match for an angle grinder.

  • OP Anon

    How were they removing the chain? Did they have an angle grinder or blow torch?
    If it’s similar to the lock in the photo, those things are really difficult to break through.

  • NotOnTheGround

    You don’t need a blow torch or an grinder to cut a large chain or U-Lock. All that needs to happen is that the lock or chain is on the ground. One or two people pushing down on large bolt cutters against the ground will get through almost any lock or chain, if it fits in the cutting head. The only reason I know this is because I had a scooter stolen that was secured with large chain and a U Lock but they were both on the ground and were easily cut.

    • OP Anon

      Even the massively thick Kryptonite motorcycle chains pictured above? Those things are beasts. If someone has the dexterity/strength to manually break that with a bolt cutter they would be The Hound from GoT.

  • Dogg

    I would have yelled something, but I guess I cannot blame someone if they feared for their safety. You could have possibly taken pictures or video from a safe undetected distance.

    • JoDa

      If I were inside my home and could yell out a window I could promptly close and lock (particularly on an upper floor), I would probably yell. If outside/passing by, I’d do the same as OP and call it in and get as many details as possible in the hopes they’re stopped/caught. Video/pictures are a good idea, but I have an Android that basically locks everything down as soon as you call 911 (it enters “emergency mode” which precludes me from both taking photos/video AND speaking with the dispatcher…I get that the phone does that so you have the best chance of keeping the call live for when you really need help, but it does make things more complicated in situations like this).

  • admorez

    Funny how the people telling the OP that she should’ve confronted the attacker, but I bet if any of you were in that situation, you wouldn’t have confronted them. Or if you did, the moment the thief shows any aggression, you would’ve ran away. Some may have run away, others may have escalated into a worse situation, if they were willing to steal in front of others, you never know what they are capable of. It’s petty theft, a dreg will pick a fight if you tell them what they can’t do.

  • Kevin

    To the OP:

    Feel free to ignore everyone here giving you grief over “not doing more.” Your life isn’t worth a scooter, particularly a scooter that isn’t yours. You did the right thing, more than most people would.

    • Anon


    • textdoc


  • Anon

    Was the scooter unique-looking in any way? Is the neighbor familiar with the color/make/model? Fellow scooter owner, happy to keep an eye out.

  • Jesse

    Instead of watching for 5 minutes between cracked blinds how about giving a stern “hey, is that yours” and watch them scurry off.? At the least get the perps photo and allow this to be posted instead of this this drivel.

  • Lisa

    The cowardliness of the comments makes me sad. That’s why we’re such easy pickings and a laughing stock to these petty perps.

    • stacksp

      That is the other side of the matter. Not saying what the OP did or did not do was wrong as I wasn’t there and one has to use their own judgement but the reason that these perps can sit out there and do this is broad daylight is because they know no one will say or do anything. If the police come they will run but outside of that, they are in easy street.

  • DCReggae

    Guess I’m buying an additional disc-brake lock tonight…

  • Not Batman

    These comments are ridiculous. I’m not the OP, but I’m a tiny 5’0 woman who’s usually by myself, and if I see a group of people committing a crime, the last thing I’m going to do is confront them and risk the situation escalating when I have no way of protecting myself. Calling 911 was a good choice. It’s easy to act tough behind a computer screen, but none of us have any idea what the OP’s circumstances were or why s/he might not have wanted to get involved. Not all of us can be crime stopping superheros, but we can report things and watch out for our neighbors, which it seems like the OP did.

  • Effie

    By calling 911, they are not going to come in time to stop that. If no one goes up to them and tries to either a) stall and give some more time for cops by going up to them, or b) doing something about it themselves … they are going to get away with it. No chain is unbreakable, and it takes someone getting in their face and physically stopping it themselves.


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