Hunting Down Your Stolen Bike

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Have you ever had a bike nicked? Writer Patrick Symmes has. In fact, at this point he's had seven stolen. It all started on a sunny day in New York City when his blue Novara Metro hybrid was snatched by two men who got it loose from the lock after hacking at it for 17 minutes, as over a hundred people walked by.

Symmes knows this because a surveillance camera caught it all on tape. And watching the video made Symmes want to learn more-- he set off on a multi-state effort to track down the people who steal bikes.

He bought some (probably stolen) bikes, attached GPS trackers on them and waited for them to be taken. Sometimes he couldn't get the bikes stolen when he tried. But in other cases, the bikes were "pinched" as he calls it, pretty quickly. In one case was able to catch a thief, who was mentally ill and gave it back to him.

Symmes writes, "In America's rough streets there are four forms of currency: Cash, sex, drugs and bicycles. And of those, only one is routinely left outside unattended."


This segment aired on February 9, 2012.


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