How to recover a stolen eBike in San Francisco

sc00ter

Active Member
Thank you so much for posting! I remember Chris Hansen did the same thing many years ago on a To Catch A Thief episode. And I wonder the same thing as to why not just include a GPS tracker, or the option to add one when purchasing. On a slight side note why don't all new cars come with camera(s) factory installed? And if you follow this thread up, how has the Jetson treated you so far? Been tempted to pick one up just because its so compact and affordable.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
That was a fun video. You gotta read the new book 'The Every.' It is very funny and dystopian. It is only available at book stores. Not online. That is why not to tag your bike.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
What if he did that with the Fire Department just to make a video? I think that the maker of the video should be fined. It was a self-promotional video stunt produced at the expense of vital public services. Did a rape or murder happen because the cops were wasting their time distracted while occupied with this stunt video? Could an actual theft of a real person's bike have been prevented? He wanted the bike to be stolen! It was set-up just so he could promote his channel. It is the job of Police to set-up sting operations, not vigilantes. Also about tracking, my privacy is worth more than a bike. I would not want to be tracked or have a tracking device. Screw that.
 
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EMGX

Well-Known Member
Great minds think alike.

This was my response on another thread about this video

"Informative, but still a stunt done for views/likes/subscribes = money. It placed him, his friend, the police and the perpetrator at risk as well as wasting valuable and limited police resources which potentially put others at risk. Sad."

There was no legitimate reason to pull this stunt showing what a GPS tracker or AirTag can do, other than as a sensationalist money making scheme. Maybe he would have gotten more views and subscriptions if he or his friend had been shot by the person with the gun in the street fight, or if the perp pulled something on the police and was shot or if one of the police was injured investigating.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Here is a guy who setup a fire scenario and posted about it for likes on social media, putting first responders at risk and taking them away from protecting the community from other threats. Don't mess with our first responders. Especially for profit. What a jerk.
 

HansTrio

Member
Region
USA
What if he did that with the Fire Department just to make a video? I think that the maker of the video should be fined. It was a self-promotional video stunt produced at the expense of vital public services. Did a rape or murder happen because the cops were wasting their time distracted while occupied with this stunt video? Could an actual theft of a real person's bike have been prevented? He wanted the bike to be stolen! It was set-up just so he could promote his channel. It is the job of Police to set-up sting operations, not vigilantes. Also about tracking, my privacy is worth more than a bike. I would not want to be tracked or have a tracking device. Screw that.

You know...you're right.

Stil...."SWAT-TING" someone is even worse. What's wrong with people today ?
 

Dorkyman

Member
Region
USA
What blows me away is that the perp was left alone to rip off other stuff. And the owner was actually willing to pay the perp for his initiative, even to the point of going to an ATM for more money if the price was higher. Shows how bizarre certain cities like SF have gotten.

Likely if this happened in most other places, owner would have pressed charges or had three burly buddies join him in getting the bike back and discouraging the perp.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
an interesting video.

there's nothing illegal about what the bloggers did - it's perfectly legal to leave a bike on the street, filming it, curious to see what happens.

i do question how much common sense those guys have, wandering around at night in the worst couple blocks of the tenderloin. although the illegal act is the stealing of the bike, i have to wonder how they (and the officer!) would feel had the officer had been injured trying to recover the bike. seems like the reason to make the video was to get attention rather than do anything about bike theft, since they clearly agreed to not press charges when speaking to the police. although convictions are rare for property theft like this that's NOT the typical process.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Lucy I'm Home!!!!!!

SF? Is Angel Island ebike friendly.
class one only. you can actually rent a class one ebike on site.

there is a 15mph speed limit for all bikes on the island. scenic but not all that much fun.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
class one only. you can actually rent a class one ebike on site.

there is a 15mph speed limit for all bikes on the island. scenic but not all that much fun.
I love Angle Island. You can tent camp there, in the middle of San Francisco Bay. It is not all that large so a 15mph speed limit is not limiting. Makes sense with groups of tourists walking while watching the sites and not for fast bikes. Some are little kids, distracted lovers, or elderly.
1640973204086.jpeg
 

maybeandrewford

New Member
Thank you so much for posting! I remember Chris Hansen did the same thing many years ago on a To Catch A Thief episode. And I wonder the same thing as to why not just include a GPS tracker, or the option to add one when purchasing. On a slight side note why don't all new cars come with camera(s) factory installed? And if you follow this thread up, how has the Jetson treated you so far? Been tempted to pick one up just because its so compact and affordable.
Hey Sc00ter, thanks for watching. I think the no GPS thing is just a combination of laziness and bike companies not really feeling comfortable on the technical side of things. ie, no bike companies make their own motors, they just borrow Bosch/Bafang so I think they also see the GPS and security thing as too difficult or not their problem. I hope this changes in the next couple generations of bikes.

The Jetson is fine, but if you want to keep riding it I'd expect to have to upgrade some of the components soon. Either my pedal or the crank thread on one side has either gotten loose (or it could be a broken bearing?) and I only have maybe a few dozen miles on the bike. It could be fun for camping or somewhere where there aren't hills, but once you need to use it like a normal bike (ie pedal) it's a little bit tricky. With that said there is a huge community of modders that are giving it extra power and making it into a fun hobby bike.
 

maybeandrewford

New Member
If noting else......
this was a HUGE thumbs up to the SanFran Police department.
Hey video maker here. Yeah, I think if you have a location the police (or at least the two that I had) seemed very up to retrieving the bike. I think at least 'bike people' should have trackers and then be able to have a good shot at recovering their bike.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
ie, no bike companies make their own motors
That is almost right. However, have you heard the names of Specialized/Brose/Mahle, Yamaha/Giant, Shimano or Fazua? Just say yes or no.

For instance, Specialized do own their SL motor even if it is manufactured for them by Mahle. No other bike brand can use a SL motor except Specialized.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
In the video the stunt prankster put checkered tape on the bike to easily identify it. I would not want a tracker on one of my bikes. But the idea of making a bike like no other is great. If it is one-of-a-kind then it could not easily be ridden without worry or be easily resold.
 

maybeandrewford

New Member
an interesting video.

there's nothing illegal about what the bloggers did - it's perfectly legal to leave a bike on the street, filming it, curious to see what happens.

i do question how much common sense those guys have, wandering around at night in the worst couple blocks of the tenderloin. although the illegal act is the stealing of the bike, i have to wonder how they (and the officer!) would feel had the officer had been injured trying to recover the bike. seems like the reason to make the video was to get attention rather than do anything about bike theft, since they clearly agreed to not press charges when speaking to the police. although convictions are rare for property theft like this that's NOT the typical process.
Hey video maker here. Yeah, obviously that would have been terrible. If the cops would have been injured I probably would have quit YouTube and done anything I could do right the wrong. But, we also did what we could to make this as safe and cop free as possible.

The plan going into it was to...
1. Get the bike stolen during the day (this was the 4th time we left the bike out, once in Nob Hill, twice at this same spot but on afternoons)
2. Be prepared to drive around to wherever the bike went
3. Buy it back with cash to keep the police out of the story

I know everyone in SF would expect it would go to the Tenderloin, but talking to other people to prepare before hand, a lot of bikes actually end up in soma and the Mission. I think anyone would feel more comfortable buying it back in those neighborhoods, rather than in the gnarliest part of the TL. We would have too. I still wish I could have just bought it back with cash, but it was getting late, it ended up in the one block of the city I hoped it wouldn't, I still felt like we'd need more money, I also had to keep my friend shooting the video for free safe, no clue where ATMs are in the TL, etc, etc.

Once it got taken to the Tenderloin, obviously we still wanted to finish the video. Additionally, maybe all the city workers (black and green outfits?) around made it feel safer? The recovery was foolish, I won't be doing another one of these videos again, but I felt like we didn't do anything wilder than most people that get their bike stolen and then try and get it back. If you look at Reddit threads for stolen bikes, no one balks when people recommend checking out the TL, Civic Center or any other place for stolen goods.

Additionally, we weren't going to fight anyone for it, we would have just ran if stuff got nuts. We talked about that too, but it didn't really play a factor and we just looked like nerds talking about hypotheticals. I have about ~10 hours of footage for this video, and ~10 minutes made it in to the final video.

The reason for not pressing charges was for two reasons.
1. I just don't want this to be some gotcha journalism YouTube channel. The main reason for making this was because 95% of people I talked to said even if you used a tracker thieves would just quickly find it. This obviously wasn't the case. My bike might have been parts the following day, but a couple hours is enough time to track it down if you know it's gone. We could make bike thief in SF less ubiquitous if bikes were constantly getting recovered.
2. I think the cops felt more comfortable recovering the bike if they weren't pressing charges. At least that's the feeling I got. Regardless, I didn't want someone going to jail for a crime that was sort-of setup. But... I think bicyclists have been brain washed into feeling bad for leaving their bikes outside. No one shames you if you don't leave your car in Nob Hill in a secure, private parking garage.

Sorry for the novel!

af
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Hey video maker here. Yeah, obviously that would have been terrible. If the cops would have been injured I probably would have quit YouTube and done anything I could do right the wrong. But, we also did what we could to make this as safe and cop free as possible.

The plan going into it was to...
1. Get the bike stolen during the day (this was the 4th time we left the bike out, once in Nob Hill, twice at this same spot but on afternoons)
2. Be prepared to drive around to wherever the bike went
3. Buy it back with cash to keep the police out of the story

I know everyone in SF would expect it would go to the Tenderloin, but talking to other people to prepare before hand, a lot of bikes actually end up in soma and the Mission. I think anyone would feel more comfortable buying it back in those neighborhoods, rather than in the gnarliest part of the TL. We would have too. I still wish I could have just bought it back with cash, but it was getting late, it ended up in the one block of the city I hoped it wouldn't, I still felt like we'd need more money, I also had to keep my friend shooting the video for free safe, no clue where ATMs are in the TL, etc, etc.

Once it got taken to the Tenderloin, obviously we still wanted to finish the video. Additionally, maybe all the city workers (black and green outfits?) around made it feel safer? The recovery was foolish, I won't be doing another one of these videos again, but I felt like we didn't do anything wilder than most people that get their bike stolen and then try and get it back. If you look at Reddit threads for stolen bikes, no one balks when people recommend checking out the TL, Civic Center or any other place for stolen goods.

Additionally, we weren't going to fight anyone for it, we would have just ran if stuff got nuts. We talked about that too, but it didn't really play a factor and we just looked like nerds talking about hypotheticals. I have about ~10 hours of footage for this video, and ~10 minutes made it in to the final video.

The reason for not pressing charges was for two reasons.
1. I just don't want this to be some gotcha journalism YouTube channel. The main reason for making this was because 95% of people I talked to said even if you used a tracker thieves would just quickly find it. This obviously wasn't the case. My bike might have been parts the following day, but a couple hours is enough time to track it down if you know it's gone. We could make bike thief in SF less ubiquitous if bikes were constantly getting recovered.
2. I think the cops felt more comfortable recovering the bike if they weren't pressing charges. At least that's the feeling I got. Regardless, I didn't want someone going to jail for a crime that was sort-of setup. But... I think bicyclists have been brain washed into feeling bad for leaving their bikes outside. No one shames you if you don't leave your car in Nob Hill in a secure, private parking garage.

Sorry for the novel!

af
thanks for the reply. i was also a little surprised the bike went to the TL; i'd imagine any sort of bike-chopping and reselling operations of scale are in SOMA or further south. the majority of the crowd on the streets in the TL is a different sort of crowd, more tragic than criminal - but there are also elements who prey on those people and use the services which surround them who definitely are criminal.

i live and work in SF and have for 25+ years (bay area my whole life) and while i only got into cycling relatively recently, i absolutely do leave our bikes locked on the street all the time (my 10 year old rides herself, my 3 year old is attached to mine). two have trackers of various sorts. it was actually a major factor in buying my first e-bike, a vanMoof, which has their "peace of mind" theft tracker and guarantee. basically they recover it for you or give you a new one. i believe there was a short video made on how they do the recoveries, and it was pretty informal.

i was pretty disappointed in the performance of the trackers you showed - my experience with airtags and other apple "find my" devices has been much more rapid movement with less lag or latency, and in fact i recovered a backpack that i stupidly left in a downtown park which had a brand new ipad pro in it. i rode most of the way home, realized it, turned on find my, saw it slowly moving west on mcallister street, caught up to it, and found an elderly woman walking down the street. i very cautiously approached her, from a distance and asked if she saw a blue backpack. her eyes lit up, she opened her purse, and my bag was folded up inside there with the ipad and my abus u-lock inside it. tried to give her $50 but she wouldn't take it.

i appreciate that you wouldn't want someone going to jail for what was a "set-up" crime. it's not like people don't leave bikes out, but leaving an e-bike out overnight in a sketchy neighborhood is certainly heading towards "attractive nuisance" ...