Begin forwarded message:

From: Mara Hincher <>
Date: May 22, 2015 10:12:14 AM EDT
Subject: [TotLot] BIKE THEFT! And some advice.

Yesterday, at around 4:45am, someone ripped off our bike. It was secured to a wrought iron porch railing with a U-Lock, on a lighted porch, and the thief used a handheld power saw to saw the metal railing off to get the bike. It took about a minute, and a neighbor who heard the railing snap, looked out and saw the guy walking off carrying the bike (because the U-Lock was still on it) east up Catharine St towards 50th & Cedar Park. The neighbor called 911, and the police came and took a report about 5am, but they were not optimistic we would get the bike back. I left flyers at a few bike shops, went to a few chop shops, and everyone gave me advice on bikes.

Additionally, while I was out, I passed by a teenager with a silver & green bike with straight handles, who was trying to sell it to another teenager for $5. It was obviously stolen, but it was not our bike.

I listed the bike on Cedar Park Neighbors, and on the Philadelphia Stolen Bikes FB pages, and I did a separate post about the silver and green bike.

Our bike was a KHS Urban Xpress with straight handles, a matte black finish, and a bike rack on the back with large black saddlebag panniers with orange trim.

A little earlier, at 4am, someone up on Osage had the same thing happen, only they had a wood railing. It could have been the same thief, or it could have been part of a crew, because these were all done very professionally. There were a lot of thefts Thursday night in the wee hours.

Advice from my hike around West Philly yesterday:

1. Bikes attached to wooden porches or metal railings are not secure. Consider taking them indoors or secure them to something that can't be broken or cut though. Professional bike thieves often have industrial cutters, handheld power tools, and saws. They can cut anything, even a U-Lock, with the right tools. Even if you use extra locks or cables, an accomplished thief will only be delayed slightly.

2. There are lowjacks for bikes. They're tiny and easily concealable.

3. Scratch something identifiable somewhere on the bike in a not obvious location, to help identify the bike later. The best thing is to remove the handles and scratch your information there, then replace the handles.

4. Keep a good photo of your bike, as well as serial numbers of your bike and accessories, and any stickers or markings that make it easy to identify. If you have to talk to the police at 5am, you may be upset or not be awake enough to give them all the information, and having it on a sheet to hand them makes it easy.

5. Join the Philadelphia Stolen Bikes Facebook group. It has over 3000 members, and is dedicated to bike recovery.

6. Join the Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition. http://

7. Once a bike is stolen, it may actually change hands several times very quickly. Thieves usually don't bother going to a shop, they'll just sell it on the street and before a day has gone by, it may be in another city.

8. Sometimes, the stolen bikes are taken apart and sold for parts only, to further complicate recovery.

9. In some cases, you can register your bike (before it's taken) with your city, or with an org like the National Bike Registry ( ).

10. The odds of recovering your bike are almost nothing.

Unfortunately, there is an annual uptick in crime that starts this time of year and can persist through the summer. Please be careful, and we'll all try to watch out for our neighbors.

Here is a good article on bike safety:

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