This account of a journalist buying a stolen bike in the heart of Mayor Ed Lee’s gritty Twitterloin district isn’t new, but it’s new to me, so there you go.
Via Patrick Symms:
“Over the years, SFPD Sergeant McCloskey had launched dozens of stakeouts, stings, and reverse stings against bike thieves in the city’s Tenderloin District, becoming a legendary Lone Ranger in the bike wars, a one-man encyclopedia of cycle crime. He once spent an hour telling me his favorite techniques for catching thieves. The best spot was the San Francisco Public Library’s main branch, a few steps from Market Street. “We took a nice Cannondale and locked it to the bike rack there, set up a robbery detail, and watched the guys stealing the bikes,” he explained. “It worked really well. They’re very slick. They ride up on their own bike, park next to it. They have bolt cutters on a shoelace around their neck and lean down to cut it. They’re very fast. We did this successfully more than 20 times. We’ve only been skunked once. About 90 percent of the people we get are drug addicts, meth heads. Speeders, we call them.”
In Portland, Joe Luiz had confessed that he’d never quite figured out where all the bikes were going, but in San Francisco this wasn’t an issue. Stolen bikes were for sale, openly, at Market and 7th, a block from where Sergeant McCloskey got so many stolen.
I’d come to San Francisco for a funeral—my father-in-law had passed away. I drove downtown to pick up his ashes and, combining two errands into one, drove down Market Street to buy a stolen bike. I parked and walked to the corner of 7th, where there was an open-air market in fenced goods, from canned food to blue jeans to batteries.
The hot-bike market in downtown San Francisco was shameless, a disgrace to the city. But it wasn’t the Bay Area’s only dubious bicycle venue. The Alameda flea market was notorious for recycling stolen bikes, and in Golden Gate Park there was a chop shop where amateur mechanics swapped components and resold stolen bikes for profit.”
In related news:
Here it is, brand-new:
Click to expand
Prediction: This station will be difficult and expensive to maintain. (Of course, the people behind Bay Area BikeShare already know this. And yet, they will be surprised by what will occur in this area. You’ll see.)