In a story which has been developing since late summer, local bicycle thieves have been on a very successful route around an American city, stealing as many bicycles as they can get away with.
Their main targets are bicycles which are secured with thin cable locks and with locks which are operated by regular keys (similar to house keys).
According to reports one normal "key" lock was picked in the time it took the owner to use the restroom of a fast food restaurant. The lock was left laying on the ground when the owner came out of the store.
According to official reports though the "hot" item this season has been locks which are attached to thin cables of low-quality wire. According to officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, these cable locks are much easier to defeat even with common house-hold wire-cutters - the kind which so many handy-people use to repair lamps fans etc. The official states that in tests the cable lock can be cut off in as little as five (5) seconds. This leaves even more time for a suspect to flee with the stolen property.
Officials have been trying for months to inform the public that cable locks are NOT safe or secure yet local stores report selling out of cable locks each time a shipment is delivered.
One retailer, who requested not to be identified, says that he thinks the reason why cable locks sell so much better than other locks is the affordable price. A cable lock costs consumers only about $5.00, while a much stronger secure lock with a hardened body and replacement guarantee can cost upwards of $50.00 or more.
As an update on this story, this reporter has learned of a local man's bizarre plan to thwart thieves. According to Mr. John Smith of 315 J.D. Hogg Lane, who has had a reported five (5) bicycles stolen over the past ten (10) years, each time police have interviewed Mr. Smith about a stolen bicycle their main question has been "What makes the bicycle distinguishable (different) from other bicycles?"
Mr. Smith has informed this reporter that shortly before the cold of winter set in that the caps in his pressure valves were stolen. He believes that the caps were stolen because the suspects could not make off with his whole bicycle which Mr. Smith secures with a heavy-duty U-shape lock. Mr. Smith tells this reporter that he purchased this lock since it carries the lifetime replacement guarantee.
When Mr. Smith allowed this reporter to "sample" the lock, this reporter noticed the weight of the lock as well as its hardened case. Mr. Smith informed this reporter that the bike shop which sold him the U-Lock asked Mr. Smith to be sure NEVER to lose the "key". Reason: It would take the lock shop even with all of its special tools at least eight (8) or more hours to drill the lock off of Mr. Smiths bicycle.
As an added precaution after the theft of his valve stem covers Mr. Smith has created a "catalog" of sorts. He has taken digital photographs of his bicycle from every conceivable angle. As a result thieves would have less than one hour after a reported theft to get rid of the evidence since the police would be able to e-mail copies of the photographs to every agent and store in the county.
According to Ms. Jane Doe Public Relations Officer for the local police Mr. Smiths precautions will make the holiday season a total "disaster" for any would-be thieves since police would be able to track the stolen bicycle within 15 minutes of the theft report.
Ms. Doe did add that the police wish that MORE citizens would take the same precautions including heavier locks and making photo albums. If more cyclists did this the police believe that theft groups would move on to other cities since the danger of being caught would be multiplied by about 10000 percent.
Mr. Smith must be on to something here if his idea is endorsed by police.
This reporter pities the thieves who might attempt to steal Mr. Smiths bicycle since this would spell a holiday season disaster for the persons involved.