Everyone watches as sparks fly from bike when thief saws lock off in broad daylight

April 27, 2017 1:35 pm Last Updated: April 27, 2017 1:35 pm

Hiding in plain sight is a well known survival technique, isn’t it? Maybe that’s why this bike thief decided to steal a bike straight off the sidewalk in the middle of the day, in front of several pedestrians and beside a busy road.

San Francisco is full of bikes, and kind of notorious for bike thefts, but this was still fairly dramatic.

The owner of the bike had secured it with a massive lock, but the brazen thief brought power tools. The angle grinder he uses sets off bright sparks and a lot of noise—but no one asks any questions. Some barely give him a second glance.

The thief rides off, leaving the lock behind.

The bike was locked on Valencia Street, which turns out to be an area of high bike theft according to city data.

The bike was stolen around the yellow area.


KPIX 5 found that the bike belongs to Julia Robertson of Berkeley, who had been attending a comedy show at the nearby Stage Werx Theatre (which you can see the doors to in the video).

“Bold. I mean, that’s a bold move,” Robertson told KPIX 5.

She’d heard the grinding from inside the theater, but remembered she locked her bike, so it wasn’t her first instinct to run out and check. Robertson was shocked to find it gone, and disappointed people just passed the thief by.

She said the bike was worth about $1,200 and she’s since reported it stolen.

It’s a good reminder to secure your bike not once, but twice, with premium grade locks.

The more parts of the bike you can lock together—wheels, frame, and bike rack—the harder it is to steal. Using U-locks of hardened steel also make it more complicated to remove a bike. The San Francisco Bike Coalition has a whole checklist for how to lock your bike and what to do if it is stolen.