Bicyclists using locks, websites to deter thieves in Center City

July 11, 2013 8:17:58 PM PDT
The wheels of justice are turning in the theft of a bike this past December in South Philadelphia.

And it turns out the crime may have been solved and the bike recovered by using social media.

Everywhere you look in busy parts of Center City Philadelphia, bicycles are locked up.

"My sister just had hers stolen from work," said Justin Jiunci of Fairmount.

"The last time my bike was stolen, it was locked up," said Chris Scarpa of Collingswood, N.J.

In December a green and black Cannondale bike was stolen. The owner posted it missing on the Philadelphia Stolen Bikes Facebook page.

One of the other group members spotted the bike on Craigslist Monday, the owner contacted police, and investigators were able to get the bike back for her this week.

If you want to be able to get back a bike that's been stolen, there is some information you'll need have about it: the serial number, make, model and color.

It's also a good idea to take a good picture of you and the bike.

To find the bike's serial number, turn it upside down.

The number is "stamped underneath the frame into the paint, underneath the cranks and pedals," said Montana Norvell of Breakaway Bikes.

Most riders lock their bikes up, but it's important how you do it.

"Ideally you want to secure the frame and the wheels as well, because people will take your wheels. They'll take anything off your bike they can," said Norvell.

Norvell suggests putting a cable through the front wheel and looping it a heavy-duty U lock.

"When you go to put the U lock through your bike, you want to make sure . . . you only need to get a couple of spokes on the rear wheel. The rim is great, too. Just enough to make sure they can't pull the rear wheel out of the bike," said Norvell.

Bike riders say even with a good lock they still worry.

"Even if I run into a store real quick to grab something, I'll look out the window the whole time just to make sure it's there," said Rachel Mohrman of West Philadelphia.

"I got a better lock," said Scarpa. "Hopefully this works better than the last one."

It's a small effort that can help in a big way. nto a store


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