October 15th, 2013

We had an incident last week at our Valencia Street store that was unprecedented and not funny. A guy came in to participate in our Take One Home Tonight E-Bike program and never returned the E-bike. He went AWOL. He claims to have studied pre-law at UCLA. What chutzpah!

Help us Get this Guy. $500 reward.

We are reaching out to all of you through our online networks, to try to track this guy down. Can you help? He went off with a black Stromer ST1 Platinum. Here is a photo and the information he left with us (which may or may not be true).

Jesse Hanlin, e-bike thiefThe suspect went by the name JESSE EDWARD HANLIN who previously lived in San Jose & attended UCLA. (Go Bruins!) If anyone can help us locate him (and our bike too), we will offer you $500 credit to get your own e-bike. He’s either missing (which would concern us) or is a bike thief.

Please SHARE WIDELY with this Facebook link and help us locate him and/or the Stromer e-bike. Email customerservice@publicbikes.com with any tips.

Sadly, a lot of the problem with bike theft is that the police or prosecutors just don’t have the resources or incentives to go after bike thieves, so we’re using our own means. Many of our customers are tech and media savvy, so we’re hoping that one of you might have the skills to help us find him. Thanks for your help.

Bike theft is a truly sad fact of life, and it is as common in “civilized” biking communities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen as it is in the US. Almost all of us have had to cope with theft at some time in our lives. I personally believe that bike thieves are reason enough to reinstitute those stocks that Puritans used in colonial times to expose thieves to public shame. We have written about theft from various points of view in earlier blog posts:

Dear Bike Thief
Outwitting Thieves at PUBLIC
Bondage in Amsterdam

The subject has not been lost in broader modern circles. Vittoria de Sica’s 1948 The Bicycle Thief is rated as one of the greatest movies of all time, and happens to be Woody Allen’s favorite film. See it if you have not done so already.