Stolen Bikes

Ross

Warming-Up
Sep 25, 2014
6
0
1
36
#1
Hi!
I was wondering if anybody could help me!
I bought a brand new Bridgestone Mark Rosa (staggered design) bike in matte black (7 speed) just a few weeks ago in Otsuka for ¥42,000, and it got stolen on Monday evening (22nd September) between 18:45-23:00 from Sugamo. Totally gutted!
I parked it right next to a bike park across the road from a Koban and Sugamo station on a fairly busy street. The bike park was full, so when I got back and found my bike wasn't there I thought it might have been impounded. I called the next morning and found that it hadn't been impounded (quoted anti-theft number). It had been stolen (I locked it by the way).
I then went to the Koban to report it stolen, and filled in the paperwork. The police didn't seem to care much and said they would "keep a lookout" for my bike and stop anyone seem riding it.
That's pretty useless as the chances of the thief riding near the area they stole the bike are slim to none. They said bike theft is common and there isn't a lot they can do.
I took it upon myself to interview potential witnesses in local shops, and asked about CCTV footage (police just told me to leave it). I tried to put myself in the shoes of the thief and so went to Otsuka station and reported it to police there too and searched for my bike. I also searched Yahoo Auction and Craigslist on case the thief is trying to resell it as it is brand new.
Anyway, it's a dumb system as there is no online service where the public can report thefts and others can help out. Surely that would be a lot better than 5 police "looking out" near their own Koban.
So, if any of you see a bike that fits the description above please let me know! It might still have a broken lock. Oh and I hadn't put a basket on yet.
It's a long shot, but better than sitting on my hands waiting for nothing.
If anyone finds it I will give a ¥5000 reward!
 

Forsbrook

Maximum Pace
Feb 13, 2008
399
64
48
Katsushika-ku
#3
"I then went to the Koban to report it stolen, and filled in the paperwork. The police didn't seem to care much and said they would "keep a lookout" for my bike and stop anyone seem riding it. "

Good luck with that!

I'm very sorry you had it stolen and we have such a useless constabulary.

What kind of lock did you have on it?
Because if it wasn't a heavy duty one some opportunist thief might have taken it and the chances are more greater that you'll find it around your neighborhood.
However,if you had a decent lock on it then the chances of getting it back are greatly reduced.

Keep on searching on the auction sites and don't wait for the J-Cops to find it for you.......if you do they might call when they drain a local river or canal in about 5 years time.

I hope you get it back!
 

Ross

Warming-Up
Sep 25, 2014
6
0
1
36
#4
Ha ha. Thank you!

Yeah, I felt totally devastated as I saved up for that bike and loved it (for the few weeks I had it). The lock was an "O-lock", which is attached to the frame and loops round to prevent the rear wheels moving. I hear they aren't so hard to break. So it could be that a drunk person on Monday night (with the next day being a national holiday) just lugged the bike round the corner, smashed off the lock and rode as far as the next station. I should maybe try calling the impound services for other areas around Toshima-ku like Bunkyo-ku in case it was abandoned then later impounded. I could also search the vicinity of Nishi-Sugamo and Komagome stations.

The funny thing is that night I took a train to Takadanobaba for dinner and saw for the only time in my life so far the exact same model and colour of bike parked outside an izakaya, which I pointed out to my friend. Not so far from Sugamo. Wouldn't it be ironic if a student had stolen my bike and that was it in front of my eyes. Surely not!

Then again, it was brand new and clean so maybe it stood out among the other surrounding bikes, plus was an easy steal with a simple lock. Maybe it was stolen to be resold. The bike I had before rusted so much I had to get the lock removed and I just left it like that as it was a piece of junk bike anyway. I almost wanted someone to steal it so I had an excuse to get a nice bike, but nobody ever stole that unlocked, rusty mama-chari. Yet the new, flashy one was stolen in no time. I didn't know much about bike locks here, and stupidly never imagined that there is such a thing as crime here in Japan, or that I could be a victim of it. Should have got another lock!

It's best to get used to the fact it is gone forever, but I will at least continue to do all I can to find it. Thank you for the support and reply!
 

timefleas

Maximum Pace
Nov 30, 2013
107
45
58
#5
I am sorry for your loss, but I am not quite sure why you think the local police could or should do more than they are--thousands of bikes are stolen across the nation yearly, and many are by one-offs, someone finding a bike that is easy to grab, and away they go. Higher end bikes are routinely targeted by rings, many of which leave the country, some of which resold on sites such as you suggest. In the future, get a much better lock, and lock the bike to a fixed stationary object. Don't use an excuse of a bike lot being full to simply place your bike out in the open for anyone to grab--never leave anything to chance--protect your investment.
 

Ross

Warming-Up
Sep 25, 2014
6
0
1
36
#7
Thank you timefleas. Lots of good and useful information for the future. I guess I was too naiive and learned the hard way.
When I eventually save up for another bike I will take all of that advice on board.
I never realized the extent of bike crime in Japan.

Regarding the local police, I totally understand that it's unreasonable to say they should do more, with the amount of bike thefts to process and the need to spend resources on far more important crimes. Having said that, I do notice a serious flaw in the system. Apparently Japan has the second-highest rate of bike theft in the world, yet generally speaking a low crime rate and good resources. Something as simple as linking up the sharing of information on bike-related theft between several local stations rather than only the one closest to where the bike was stolen from would greatly increase the chance of retrieving it. Perhaps this is already done though, and I understand this could simply result in wasting more police time.
Or, creating a police website where people like myself can upload a photo of their stolen bike and a description of the theft, where members of the public could take a look at this site and keep an eye out for said bike and contact the police if they find it. People who had their bike stolen could offer rewards as an incentive. That would greatly increase the chances of ever finding the bike again, without using a lot of police resources at all. It's hard to imagine that nothing better can be done.

Anyway, thank you for the concern and the good advice!
 

Ross

Warming-Up
Sep 25, 2014
6
0
1
36
#8
I wonder out of interest if there are such things as bike trackers, like GPS devices hidden in the frame or your bike. Is that crazy or impossible? Bit radical. I think I'm just fantasizing about catching up with the thief and saying "Surprise, mother hubbard!"
 

Gazelle

Warming-Up
Sep 20, 2014
5
0
1
Tsukuba, Ibaraki
#10
Bike shops usually offer insurance options on purchase. I think we paid under 3000 Yen, which will see us compensated 80% of the bike's value in the event that it's stolen in the first year. That said, I still carry a good lock that is long enough to go through the frame and wheel and some unmoveable external fixture (or my wife's and kids' bikes - let's see them make off with four at a time!).

Sorry for your loss. I hope by some miracle you get it back.
 
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Ross

Warming-Up
Sep 25, 2014
6
0
1
36
#11
Wow! Those trackers look cool! I wonder how popular they are.
Yeah, the bike shop never mentioned insurance to me, and it never even occurred to me that there was such a thing. Silly in hindsight. It would have been worth getting for sure, and I will get bike insurance the next time I can afford to buy one.

I can at least be positive in saying that I learned an (expensive) life lesson, and got lots of useful tips from you all. And i found this cool website. I can also say I am fortunate in a twisted kind of way, as my friend bought a bike for ¥150,000 and it got stolen in Ikebukuro!
 

toQDuj

Warming-Up
Sep 25, 2014
5
2
3
35
#12
We had a new Trek stolen from our apartment, also in the time we still thought Japan was crime-free. Fortunately, our (obligatory) apartment insurance covered the bike theft and refunded it all.
Now, we lock the bikes with suitable locks.
You can do insurance, but apparently there is only one bike theft insurance company in japan (according to my secretary). That company did not want to insure my bike as I built it myself and did not have a shop receipt for the bike (I had a receipt for the parts, but the situation is out of the ordinary, therefore refused by default).
I now ride around carrying a 1410 Kryptonite chain around my waist which you can sometimes get at a good price at Amazon. Lock to something solid and you're good to go.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,859
1,446
129
...
#13
If you care for it don't leave it lying around, lock or no lock. It is really that simple, that doesn't mean don't ride something good, but rather if you do only park it in places that are out of view to most walking/riding people. That absolutely excludes any train station.
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#14
Or like me have an 89cm inseam, rendering my steel frame bike generally impossible for the majority of people to ride away.

If you'd rather the thief end up hospitalised than make off with your bike, you can always remove or just open the front qr skewer. When he hops off the nearest kerb, he's going to fuck up your fork, but you can at least enjoy the fact that a replacement fork costs less than the extensive dental work he'll require.
 
Dec 16, 2012
604
824
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Tokyo
#15
Sorry to hear about the bike. My best one never leaves my sight. I purposely chose a boring-looking roadie from a now-bankrupt company for commuting to reduce the chances of it getting nicked. That and 2kg worth of locks seem to have done the trick so far.
 

toQDuj

Warming-Up
Sep 25, 2014
5
2
3
35
#16
If you care for it don't leave it lying around, lock or no lock
I don't agree. Most times you need a bike to travel to somewhere, and I would take my enjoyable bike for that so I can have fun on the way. What's the point of having a bike if you cannot ride it most of the time? A good lock will discourage the vast majority of casual thieves, especially when combined with good locking techniques (lock to something solid, and through the wheel(s) and frame). I would recommend against locking it in concealed places, as it will give a potential thief much more uninterrupted/relaxed time to take the bike. In public, it looks like they only have a minute or two (though in .jp probably a bit longer):
 
Apr 3, 2012
338
276
93
Boso
#17
Or like me have an 89cm inseam, rendering my steel frame bike generally impossible for the majority of people to ride away.
This is one of my favorite parts of being tall. Only a very small portion of people in Japan can straddle a level top on a 64cm frame. I want my next frame to be 72cm, which only I and a few select freaks around the world can come close to clearing.

Unfortunately tall top tubes are poor at preventing the 'throw it in the back of a van' method of bike thievery.
 
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Likes: Forsbrook

Musashi13

Maximum Pace
Aug 27, 2012
1,761
1,097
143
41
Ichikawa, Chiba
#18
I don't agree. Most times you need a bike to travel to somewhere, and I would take my enjoyable bike for that so I can have fun on the way. What's the point of having a bike if you cannot ride it most of the time? A good lock will discourage the vast majority of casual thieves, especially when combined with good locking techniques (lock to something solid, and through the wheel(s) and frame). I would recommend against locking it in concealed places, as it will give a potential thief much more uninterrupted/relaxed time to take the bike. In public, it looks like they only have a minute or two (though in .jp probably a bit longer):
I've a feeling you two are talking about two different bikes.

There's the bike that doesn't even stay outside and the rest...unless you own more than one of those...
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#20
I'm sorry to hear about the theft.

My own commuting/shopping bike was (it says) built for criteriums. It's a sporty bike, for the mid 1980s. (Far sportier than I am, or even than I was.) Everything about it is quite sound [cross fingers] but very obviously not new, and yet not glamorously "vintage". The crook who knows what he's doing would have no interest in it, and the crook who doesn't would wonder if he was even capable of riding it. So I think it's pretty safe from theft -- but I lock it anyway.