[Updated] More Than Meets The Eye…

Background Reading


From top left, clockwise: Andrew Patterson, Patrick Moran, Carter Coates and Michael Kralis are charged in the brutal attack and robbery of a 20-year-old man in Wicker Park Chicago Police

From top left, clockwise: Andrew Patterson, Patrick Moran, Carter Coates and Michael Kralis are charged in the brutal attack and robbery of a 20-year-old man in Wicker Park Chicago Police

Surveillance Video Frame

Surveillance Video Frame


Having taught honor students I was a bit dumbfounded to hear that a group of them had ‘wilded‘ a lone cyclist in an attempt to steal a bike. Most of these kids are shy intellectual types and as was discovered in court they cried like babies. That is what I would have expected.

Now to the issue of bike theft and the best way to recover stolen property. I have read any number of folks on a certain Chicago Cycling Forum describe the best way to get back a bike they believe to be stolen and is being advertised on one of the numerous ‘lists‘.

The things to remember are that cyclists are just like everyone else on the planet. They do not often own up to that reality but like anybody else they can steal. And to a certain degree the group I term the Urban Cycling Community lives on the very edge of lawful behavior.

The problem with them is that they are often ‘given an inch and decide to take a mile‘. If your local constabulary thinks that allowing cyclists to roll through stop signs is a good idea, then be prepared for people who do this with gusto. They will decide to increase the speed at which they fly through an intersection (with out regard for pedestrians in the crosswalk) until we see a recreation of that painful and needless death of a man in the Castro District a few years ago.

Now the older members of the Urban Cycling Community are probably going to offer than bicycle recovery is a very low priority with the cops. So these young men did what they thought made the most sense. In fact I am guessing that one or more of them were the creators of a recent thread on the forum I was perusing.

Vigilante justice is pretty much the norm there. So now four lads will find out whether bike theft recovery is better left to the slow and plodding gendarmes or not. But never forget that bicyclists are cut from the same genetic cloth as everyone else.

They are no worse nor better than most motorists. Just on average younger and stupider.

This is getting curiouser

This information is consistent with what I remember reading on a local cycling forum concerning the best way to corner a bike thief attempting to sell stolen merchandise:

A witness to the event told DNAinfo Chicago that the five attackers believed they were taking back a bicycle that had been stolen, and that they had called the police beforehand to report the recovery of a stolen bike.

Prosecutors in court Wednesday said the attackers agreed to meet the victim after the 20-year-old man posted an ad on Facebook selling a bicycle for $500. Prosecutors never mentioned whether the bike was stolen. The victim could not immediately be reached for comment.

Because the content of this forum is considered their personal property I would presume that the defendants will be using the information they gleaned therein in their own defense. At the very least the information on how to proceed was faulty if after following the steps outlined in the discussion things went awry.

What does puzzle me is whether the defendants after having followed the sage wisdom gleaned on this forum and then calling the police have enough of a ‘paper trail‘ to show that this was not a garden variety theft.

And does the forum which claims to own its content stand behind its product? The problem here is that when you offer remedies that turn out to be worse for the patient than the illness, there is generally someone who is going to have to follow through on owning up to their suggestions.

Why would anyone owning a discussion forum want to claim ownership of the work product of people who are neither vetted for the authoritativeness of their offering or in the event of someone taking up a plan hatched on that forum leave the forum owners exposed?