Catching a Thief

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
BaudEByter
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Catching a Thief

Post by BaudEByter » Tue May 08, 2018 7:28 pm

If you catch someone stealing your bike (assume in this situation you know it’s not an accident) what are your options?

In RL he’d get beat down. I’m sure this is not acceptable on the Playa.

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Token
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Token » Tue May 08, 2018 9:32 pm

BaudEByter wrote:
In RL he’d get beat down. I’m sure this is not acceptable on the Playa.
If you “beat down” a bicycle thief in the real world you will be charged with assault and do more time than the thief.

Like any city of 70000 folks, we have law enforcement patrolling the event. Both BLM and local sheriff are on-site, and likely others on subcontract.

There are also volunteers Black Rock Rangers in their famous khakis that have radios and can call law enforcement right-quick.

Don’t be that guy. Besides, how embarrassing would it be if the alleged thief kicks your ass instead.

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some seeing eye
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by some seeing eye » Tue May 08, 2018 10:01 pm

Bring an old bike that no one would want to steal. Lock it with a good U-lock (not the round key type.) Remember where you park it.

Always a good idea to put your mobile phone number, playa name and camp address on it for good measure.

As Mr Token says don't get into a fight. That is a 100% effective way to be kicked out of the event, banned for life and even arrested. We get sob stories on here about some one who got into a fight on the playa they thought was "justified" and spent a few days in the scenic Winnemucca jail as well as having to travel there for trial later. It is probably especially unfortunate to be arrested for assault with contraband in your possession.
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BaudEByter
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by BaudEByter » Tue May 08, 2018 10:59 pm

I wouldn’t be “that guy”. I clearly stated “I’m sure this is not acceptable on the Playa.”

Token wrote:
BaudEByter wrote:
In RL he’d get beat down. I’m sure this is not acceptable on the Playa.
If you “beat down” a bicycle thief in the real world you will be charged with assault and do more time than the thief.

Like any city of 70000 folks, we have law enforcement patrolling the event. Both BLM and local sheriff are on-site, and likely others on subcontract.

There are also volunteers Black Rock Rangers in their famous khakis that have radios and can call law enforcement right-quick.

Don’t be that guy. Besides, how embarrassing would it be if the alleged thief kicks your ass instead.

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Token
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Token » Wed May 09, 2018 5:54 am

Besides, beat downs every day at Deathguild in the Thunderdome.

If there is a line, a sealed flask of good whiskey helps get into a fight faster. Bribe n Beatdown. ;)

Yeah, what SSE said - cheap junker bike, decorated so it stands out, and always lock, especially at the shitters.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed May 09, 2018 8:09 am

Got some real world playa experience for you.
First, the Black Rock Rangers aren’t cops. They were created as a sort of search and rescue team so people didn’t hurt themselves. They do nothing but watch and report.
I’ve been in several altercations in BRC. Once with a person who attempted to steal my art car (that didn’t end well), once with someone who thought it would be funny to taze me for fun (as if I was gonna do nothing about THAT!!) and others.
I had a guy literally try to pry a tool from my wife’s hands because he had some sort of situation he needed to fix, after I’d very, very clearly said no, you’re not disappearing into the crowd with my tools. That nearly turned to a fight and I wouldn’t have hesitated.
There’s been so much shit it’s surprising I haven’t ever been arrested.

Some asshole once literally just crashed into one of my camp mates’s tent to bang his girlfriend. We tried the right thing, calling the Rangers... they stood and watched him, didn’t pursue him at all.
And that’s pretty much what they are supposed to do.

I’m a jaded-old-fuck burner and this is how I got that way.
So what to do about a bike thief? If you don’t want to lose the bike, you’ll have to go after the asshole yourself and try to judge how much force to use without getting yourself in trouble, and that depends primarily on whether anyone is around and/or knows who you are or where to find you.
Or just forget the bike.

Light a joint and you can have police in an instant, because that’s what they care about.
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by lucky420 » Wed May 09, 2018 11:55 am

I’ve been in several altercations in BRC. Once with a person who attempted to steal my art car (that didn’t end well), once with someone who thought it would be funny to taze me for fun (as if I was gonna do nothing about THAT!!) and others.
I had a guy literally try to pry a tool from my wife’s hands because he had some sort of situation he needed to fix, after I’d very, very clearly said no, you’re not disappearing into the crowd with my tools. That nearly turned to a fight and I wouldn’t have hesitated.
There’s been so much shit it’s surprising I haven’t ever been arrested.

Best paragraph today :lol: thank you
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BaudEByter
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by BaudEByter » Wed May 09, 2018 1:56 pm

I plan on bringing an eBike so I will need to keep a good eye on it..and lock. Are there places to lock them up at the portas?

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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by BaudEByter » Wed May 09, 2018 1:57 pm

Great post! Thank you
Captain Goddammit wrote:Got some real world playa experience for you.
First, the Black Rock Rangers aren’t cops. They were created as a sort of search and rescue team so people didn’t hurt themselves. They do nothing but watch and report.
I’ve been in several altercations in BRC. Once with a person who attempted to steal my art car (that didn’t end well), once with someone who thought it would be funny to taze me for fun (as if I was gonna do nothing about THAT!!) and others.
I had a guy literally try to pry a tool from my wife’s hands because he had some sort of situation he needed to fix, after I’d very, very clearly said no, you’re not disappearing into the crowd with my tools. That nearly turned to a fight and I wouldn’t have hesitated.
There’s been so much shit it’s surprising I haven’t ever been arrested.

Some asshole once literally just crashed into one of my camp mates’s tent to bang his girlfriend. We tried the right thing, calling the Rangers... they stood and watched him, didn’t pursue him at all.
And that’s pretty much what they are supposed to do.

I’m a jaded-old-fuck burner and this is how I got that way.
So what to do about a bike thief? If you don’t want to lose the bike, you’ll have to go after the asshole yourself and try to judge how much force to use without getting yourself in trouble, and that depends primarily on whether anyone is around and/or knows who you are or where to find you.
Or just forget the bike.

Light a joint and you can have police in an instant, because that’s what they care about.

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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by gaminwench » Wed May 09, 2018 2:13 pm

You should always lock your bike to itself, through the back tire so it won't roll.

Don't ever lock it to an Art piece or a Mutant Vehicle (yes, seen it), because that's just stupid.

This will be year 19 for me and I've never had my bike taken.
It is ugly decorated as f*ck, flagpole, fluffy things, bells, stuffy on the seat ... no one wants it and it is obviously mine.

I use a bungee to 'lock' it, sometimes.
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Zubeneschamali » Wed May 09, 2018 2:39 pm

Options?

Lock it up so it doesn't get stolen. Its common for burners to leave a bike unlocked"just a sec" while they go do whatever. That turns into 2 hours later and they come back to find their bike gone. Its also common for burners to leave a bike (locked/unlocked) and forget where they left it, then assume its stolen.

Don't bring the good shit. Buddy brought a high value bike one year. It got swiped out of his tent. Bummer for him but he should have brought a $20 beater. He should have locked it better. He should have stayed with it 24/7. He fucked up flaunting a $3K bike that had no business on the playa.

Don't fall in love with material objects. When is a possession more important than a human being? When is physical violence the solution?

That said, I run a services camp and we have a half dozen multi-passenger bikes trikes and quads that are the personal property of volunteers who come out and work every day. If a thief was caught lifting a ride, the Rangers would find him naked and triple duct taped from head to toe to a street sign post on Esplanade.

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lucky420
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by lucky420 » Wed May 09, 2018 5:04 pm

BaudEByter wrote:I plan on bringing an eBike so I will need to keep a good eye on it..and lock. Are there places to lock them up at the portas?

Nope just lock it to itself. I have an e trike, I lock that fucker down everywhere, even in camp
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by TT120 » Wed May 09, 2018 5:47 pm

If I caught someone stealing my bike, I would have to resort to violence. However, I never leave my bike unlocked, anywhere, even in camp so I haven't had any problems over the years.
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some seeing eye
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by some seeing eye » Thu May 10, 2018 7:26 am

To the OP, we often repeat that "don't bring anything to the burn you cannot afford to be destroyed or that you cannot afford to lose."

The playa is extremely flat, with some small dust dunes. If you can get around your hometown with a person-powered bike, an ebike is not necessary on the playa. Properly cleaning any bike after the event is time consuming and the bike will never be the same. Some parts will rust at an accelerated rate and the dust will corrode electrical connections.
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by ACfromSAC » Thu May 10, 2018 8:37 am

Thoughts, please. In the name of tomfoolery, combined with punishment for low down dirty scoundrels out stealing bikes, I've been wanting to do something like this for years. One lag bolt with some parachord tied to the rear of a bait bike. Would this make me an asshole or a participant?

Stolen Bike Prank
Last edited by ACfromSAC on Thu May 10, 2018 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ratty
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Ratty » Thu May 10, 2018 8:49 am

AC, This is not a new suggestion. I've seen the debate and several mean ideas. That's what they are. Mean. Personally, would you crack someone's skull open or break their wrist for taking your bike? Some people would. If the answer is yes, (and understand I am not asking for your answer), then go ahead and set someone up for injury. They may be drunk and reside in Germany but what do you care. Right?


Lock your bike.
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by ACfromSAC » Thu May 10, 2018 8:52 am

Ratty wrote:AC, This is not a new suggestion. I've seen the debate and several mean ideas. That's what they are. Mean. Personally, would you crack someone's skull open or break their wrist for taking your bike? Some people would. If the answer is yes, (and understand I am not asking for your answer), then go ahead and set someone up for injury. They may be drunk and reside in Germany but what do you care. Right?


Lock your bike.
Fair. Mild electric shock through charged grips on the handlebars? No?

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Ratty
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Ratty » Thu May 10, 2018 9:01 am

Don't bother. You can go over to Hookers and Makers camp. Sit out front and watch guys stick their dick in the electric Glory Hole. They do it on purpose. Don't waste any valuable time on mean pranks.
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BaudEByter
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by BaudEByter » Thu May 10, 2018 9:51 am

I’ll just carry my impact drill and a 16” lag. Drive that into the playa and chain to that

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Token
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Token » Thu May 10, 2018 12:50 pm

ACfromSAC wrote:
In the name of tomfoolery ... Would this make me an asshole or a participant?
It would make you a Patriot and Legend Extraordinaire!

Besides, you wouldn't use 30' of chord and have the thief going 20 mph ... just enough to make a point.

I say do it!

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Token
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Token » Thu May 10, 2018 12:59 pm

BaudEByter wrote:I’ll just carry my impact drill and a 16” lag. Drive that into the playa and chain to that
That 16" lag screw ...

You know I could piss on it, kick it a half dozen times, yank that chain and wiggle it out in 30 seconds, right?

I could also use my Leatherman Crunch vise-grips to just "unbolt" it in more or less the same amount of time.

You seem like the worrying type based on your posts here.

Maybe you should think about just a regular bike and not something that costs allot of money.

That way you can solve half of your problems ... like the generator shipment in the container truck, the air conditioner, etc.

Less is often more on the Playa. Don't set yourself up to being a slave to your gear.

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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu May 10, 2018 1:13 pm

Should it be safe and painless to steal people’s bikes?
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Dr Helix » Thu May 10, 2018 2:41 pm

I think all you're really trying to do out there is make it harder to take it. I would bet the majority of bikes taken aren't locked. And most just taken out of opportunity. Shit, you want a bike? There were what, 5,000 of them left after last year? Something like that. So bike theft is shitty but simple steps make it less likely. My own experience is 10 years and no bike taken. The closest to it was when someone took MY bike but left me theirs. Funny thing, they were both about the same type (cheap but functional) and they both worked. So I called it a swap and used it the rest of the week. Still have it BTW.
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Sham » Thu May 10, 2018 3:26 pm

My best guess is that a bunch of the 5000 bikes left on the playa were bikes "borrowed" because they weren't locked. Bikes that are taken like that are just left where they land. The owners never find them.

There is another interesting phenomenon that's happened to me many times. I leave my bike on a particular street and lock it up. I come back to where I'm sure I left it and can't find it. After looking for a while, I find it on an opposite street. Had I not locked it up, I would assume it was taken. Knowing it was locked, I keep looking until it turns up--right where I left it. It also helps to make some distinct identification that you can see from a distance. The more bland (and less locked) the more chances of having it taken.

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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by BBadger » Thu May 10, 2018 5:50 pm

ACfromSAC wrote:Thoughts, please. In the name of tomfoolery, combined with punishment for low down dirty scoundrels out stealing bikes, I've been wanting to do something like this for years. One lag bolt with some parachord tied to the rear of a bait bike. Would this make me an asshole or a participant?

Stolen Bike Prank
I think it might make you liable in a lawsuit. You legally can't create booby traps, which is what this would constitute, and especially if you're calling it, or filming it as a "prank."

You have to have some benefit of the doubt that what injurious incident occurs on your bike that was stolen from you was not actually a malicious trap. Making geared handlebars that rotate the opposite direction, or a wheel detached from the frame, or disabling brakes -- these would be fine. It's just a weird or broken bike.

I wouldn't like the paracord idea too because it might clothesline someone else.

I also remember bringing up the idea of using a proximity sensor to lock up the bike wheels after a certain distance from the transmitter, but my friend pointed out: "well what if you forget about the system and the battery dies on you while you're riding?" and also noted that he wouldn't do it because maybe someone in our camp may need to borrow the bike for something, maybe an emergency, and it could have some unwanted effect in such a case.

I do want to create an environment of fear and distrust for bike thieves, and to make them victims in their own crimes, but I think it's just better to lock it up.
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Token
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Token » Thu May 10, 2018 6:39 pm

What fucking liability? You gonna sign your name on it and attach a picture ID to the honeypot bike?

Sheesh.

The ultimate solution is to replace the bike seat with a heavily vascularised, larger than life dildo. Make sure it’s all slimy and shit.

If I ever go again, I’m bringing honeypot bikes where the master link in the chain is replaced with a paper clip. It’s gonna be a gas!

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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Leo » Thu May 10, 2018 8:09 pm

BaudEByter,
Why would you bring an expensive E bike to Burning Man? Consider these facts and opinions.
1. They playa dust is very corrosive and your bike won't be the same after the burn.
2. The land area for Burning Man is approx. 7 square miles, easily covered by a regular bike. The exercise will do you good.
3. Buy a beater beach cruiser from a garage sale or Goodwill. If you keep it locked up when you aren't riding it, you shouldn't have any issues with theft.
4. Decorate your bike to make it unique, then you will be able to find it when you are parked in the bike racks at center camp or at your favorite rave.
5. A heavy duty cable lock with a combination has worked for me. No keys to worry about.
Good luck and see you on the playa
Best Regards,
Leo

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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri May 11, 2018 6:06 am

I believe most of the leftover bikes are left by people who got them on the way there to use for the week and had no way or intention of bringing them back.
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Dr Helix » Fri May 11, 2018 1:50 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:I believe most of the leftover bikes are left by people who got them on the way there to use for the week and had no way or intention of bringing them back.
No doubt. And the overall condition is usually trashed. Many are non operable. It's funny, because with so many bike repair camps out there you would think the chance of keeping a bike working would be pretty good. I guess by the end of the week a lot of people are just trying to keep themselves from falling apart and not much focused on their bike. And that's if they even know where it is.
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Token
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Re: Catching a Thief

Post by Token » Fri May 11, 2018 10:02 pm

It’s a testament to how shitty the WallyWorld Huffy, or whatever it is, cheap Chinese bikes are these days.

I used an older Diamondback from a garage sale for 8 years, just changing the chain and tires every now and then, before it was pilfered.

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