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Vigilante Justice: Los Angeles Cyclists Confront Bike Thieves

Overall, crime is down in Los Angeles, except when it comes to bike theft, which increased 29 percent last year. In the downtown area of the city,...


Overall, crime is down in Los Angeles, except when it comes to bike theft, which increased 29 percent last year. In the downtown area of the city, bike theft is up 57 percent.The Los Angeles Times cites the increased use of bikes for transportation (hooray!) as a contributing factor the crime wave (boo). Police have had some success breaking up bike theft rings, but some cyclists have taken it upon themselves to enact vigilante justice and reclaim their wheels (often by posing as buyers).
Some bike messengers last month took justice into their own hands when they caught two suspected thieves, teenage boys who attended a local Catholic high school. According to police, the messengers stripped down the teens to their boxer shorts before taking their cellphones, backpacks and clothes."They meted out street justice. We don't condone street justice. They never threatened them. But they made it clear: Don't mess with another person's property," said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon. "This incident and the arrests are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to people stealing bicycles."
It's worth noting that only about one in five stolen bicycles gets reported. Anyone have any tips for how to keep one's bike from getting stolen in the first place?Photo by Anne Cusack for The Los Angeles Times.
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