A couple who believed they were doing their best for cycle security by fixing their bikes with Kryptonite locks were shocked to find that Manchester bike thieves had simply sliced through the bike racks instead.
Ana Suarez and Tim Volker, both 26, parked up outside their flat ,in the Urban Splash 3Towers development off Rochdale Road, only to to find the following day that the toast rack style bike stands hacked through and bent so that the cycles could be removed.
A neighbour who rang police to say he had seen two men with a saw near the bike racks, which were in a fenced off area, on Tuesday evening around 9pm said officers never arrived to investigate.
Ana told the Manchester Evening News: “Our flat is quite small and the bike racks outside are fenced off and covered by CCTV so we thought it would be OK to leave them there.
“We really didn’t want them to be stolen so we bought Kryptonite locks.
“I guess the thieves thought it would be easier to cut through the whole bike rack.
“When I saw it I was just surprised and really angry.
“Someone in our building told us they saw two men next to the bike racks with a saw but went inside when they came towards them with it.
“They phoned the police straight away but they never came and we are still waiting for them.”
Tim, a java developer, said: “It’s just a feeling of anger and impotence at the situation.
“We are still waiting for the police and feel like it’s a lost cause getting the bikes back.”
If you see either of the bikes, a Specialized Ariel ladies hybrid in dark blue-purple, or a New Trail Rider from Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative in Black, call 101 to speak to police.
Last year Greater Manchester Police issued a warning that cycle thieves are using information garnered from social networking sites to target high-value bicycles following a string of thefts from garden sheds and outbuildings.
GMP warned cyclists that thieves are going online to scan forums and social media sites such as Facebook to work out where cyclists live and target expensive bikes they can then steal.
Inspector Pete Smith commented: "Three members of the same club falling victim at the same time is too much of a coincidence and makes us wonder if thieves are getting details from websites or chat rooms.
"A combination of posting photos, putting on personal details and descriptions of routes cycled mean thieves can work out addresses where there is likely to be a bike of decent quality.
"We are advising people to be careful about what details they give out on club sites, forums and on Facebook."
road.cc’s online security tips
We’re all for online communities here at road.cc – after all, we are one and the interaction between our own users is one of the things that makes the site what it is – but as the story above shows, there may be people watching who have intentions that go beyond taking exception with your opinion of helmets or Rapha and who’ll give you more than the odd flame to worry about. Here’s some pointers to keeping safe online, with an emphasis on bike security.
If you mainly post online under a pseudonym and never mention your real name in connection with that, you’re already a step ahead. If not, there are a few things you can do to make yourself more secure, both when it comes to your bike and generally.
• Since Facebook accounts tend to be under users’ real names, it’s not difficult for thieves to link that and other information to publicly available address information, so you may want to review your privacy settings to have control over who can see your profile (yes, we know Facebook keeps changing them, but try and keep on top).
• Be very careful about posting images online. We all like to post pictures of our new toys online, but a bit of common sense is needed. A photo of your brand new bike with your house clearly identifiable behind it could attract unwanted attention. You may wish to disable GPS information used by some photo sharing sites.
• The same goes for information you share on sites that track your rides and make the information public. Strava has a feature that enables you to hide the start and finish point of your ride, particularly useful if that happens to be your home. Use it.
• Don’t go into detail online about the specific type of security you have, whether in relation to your bike or your home generally; you’re giving the thieves a chance to prepare by making sure they have the right tools for the job. Likewise talking online about going away for a while, on holiday perhaps, can flag up an unoccupied house to the thieves .
• Even if you don’t post on social media under your real name, be wary about how much information you make public. The less you reveal, the less others know about who you are and where you live. Keep it vague – town or district, fine, the street you live on, think twice.
• It's not just Facebook and Twitter, either that you need to be careful about - as the story above shows, even club websites can be trawled by the crooks for information. Site admins may want to consider a private area of the site where members can chat.
• This isn’t specifically online-related, but we know that cyclists are sometimes followed home, the thieves returning later once they know where you live. If, close to your house, there’s somewhere you can go on your bike that someone watching you in a car can’t, go there. Try and vary your route if you can. Or ride a little way past your house then loop back.