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California couple lured bike thieves with bait bike then beat them up, say police

Savannah Grillot and Corey Curnutt shared videos of attacks on social media

A couple in California lured bike thieves by leaving an unlocked bike outside their home, then assaulted them with a baseball bat and posted footage of the beatings to social media, say police.

Corey Curnutt, aged 25, and Savannah Grillot, 29, carried out assaults on at least four people between July and November last year and posted videos of the attacks to Facebook and YouTube, says Visalia Police Department.

According to officers, the pair would leave a bicycle in the front yard of their residence, unlocked, and wait for someone to try and steal it.

When that happened, they would rush outside and assault the would-be thief with a baseball bat.

Police in the city, which lies in the San Joaquin Valley roughly midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, said that in each case the victims received “various non-threatening injuries.”

Both Curnutt and Grillot were located by officers last Wednesday and booked for assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy.

According to mercurynews.com, which has video of one of the incidents, neighbours of the couple said they moved in during the early summer last year, and shortly afterwards the pair were themselves victims of crime with their car broken into twice.

Neighbour Kerris LeBeau said that at first other residents of Dove Avenue backed the pair for their action against bike thieves, but they then “started to bait them and do it for other reasons.”

She added: “There would be blood in the street or on the sidewalks the next day.” 

Videos of the incidents have been deleted from Curnutt’s Facebook page, where he boasted of his “crazy adventure … catching criminals, and training to be a professional fighter!”

The couple have since moved to Lemoore Naval Air Station and a spokesman for the US Navy confirmed that it is investigating the role of Grillot, a serving sailor, in the incidents.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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23 comments

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Dingaling | 4 years ago
0 likes

Battering a thief is a crime? Fuck me what is happening to Britain.

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hawkinspeter replied to Dingaling | 4 years ago
1 like
Dingaling wrote:

Battering a thief is a crime? Fuck me what is happening to Britain.

It's all been downhill since we adopted California.

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brooksby replied to Dingaling | 4 years ago
2 likes
Dingaling wrote:

Battering a thief is a crime? Fuck me what is happening to Britain.

I think its a question of proportion.

You can use "proportionate" force if you believe that you and yours are directly at threat of harm and wish to defend, but you are not allowed to chase the burglar down the street with a baseball bat or shoot them with a shotgun as they are running away (both actual cases).

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ktache | 4 years ago
2 likes

As I understand it this couple had their car broken into.  I thought that that would be a different sort of scrote, different tools and techniques between car and bicycle theives.  Completely different group than armed bank robberers, there may be some overlap of course, and I'm sure that as they develop their criminal careers they might change specialities.  This couple were picking on general oppertunists, not the same people as those that go out tooled up.  The nasty individual who steals your unlocked bike while you pop into a shop is not the same as the one who can break your gold D lock wile your bike was parked up at your work.

Bait bikes should be left to the forces of law n order.

As mentioned on the previous thread, there are many vigilanty motorists quite willing to enforce punishment on the vulnerable scroflaw cyclist who doesn't follow the cast in stone law of daring not to use the paid by their road tax crappy cycle infrastructure.

 

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vonhelmet | 4 years ago
1 like

But they were asking for the bike to be stolen! They wanted to be victims so they could retaliate.

If you want to use the trusty rape analogy it's like going out of your way to get yourself raped, however you do that, specifically so you can seek vengeance. If a lady did that we'd question her sanity.

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kt26 replied to vonhelmet | 4 years ago
1 like
vonhelmet wrote:

But they were asking for the bike to be stolen! They wanted to be victims so they could retaliate.

I haven't seen the video, but unless there was a sign saying "please take me" over it, they weren't asking for anything. If anyone was asking for anything, it was the would-be-theives IMO as they were the one trying to steal something - but it's interesting, would thefts go down if people were given greater power to protect their stuff, or would it cause thefts to become more violent as theives arm themselves? I don't know, probably a mix of the two.

Many years ago I lived in Switzerland and everyone left their bikes unlocked at the front of their houses - it isn't an unreasonable in isolation, but maybe unwise if you know the area well enough. 

The best case scenario in what they did is no one touchs the bike and nothing happens - I certainly wouldn't expect to take someones stuff without some consequence, and the primal response is violence, so it is the most likely one. But I wouldn't haven't opened myself upto that if I hadn't first violated someone elses rights first.

I used the rape analogy as it bears resemblence as you don't have to do much for someone to think of commiting a crime against you - it is only because we have been conditioned to think if I do these things a crime will be commited against me we have adopted mitigation strategies, it isn't because the thing you were doing was unreasonable.

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vonhelmet replied to kt26 | 4 years ago
1 like
kt26 wrote:
vonhelmet wrote:

But they were asking for the bike to be stolen! They wanted to be victims so they could retaliate.

I haven't seen the video, but unless there was a sign saying "please take me" over it, they weren't asking for anything.

It happened more than once.  If it happened once, I'd be prepared to let it slide, but it didn't.  They repeated the stunt many times over.  If it were an honest mistake, they wouldn't have kept leaving the bike there, and certainly not with the camera running and the bat handy.  It's clear what they were up to.

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tony.westclassi... | 4 years ago
1 like

Can we see the footage, seems quite reasonable to see a bike thief get a beatting ??

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werics | 4 years ago
0 likes

California? This is solid Florida material.

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vonhelmet | 4 years ago
2 likes

Given they were leaving the bike there as bait, I'd say "enticing" is about the size of it. They weren't leaving it there by accident or out of laziness, but out of a desire to beat people with a bat. That's pretty problematic behaviour.

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kt26 replied to vonhelmet | 4 years ago
1 like
vonhelmet wrote:

Given they were leaving the bike there as bait, I'd say "enticing" is about the size of it. They weren't leaving it there by accident or out of laziness, but out of a desire to beat people with a bat. That's pretty problematic behaviour.

It seems to be their intention to get the bike "stolen", but it wasn't an unbroken chain of events. And I worry if we are prepared to say well they were asking to have the bike stolen, it doesn't sound much different to saying women wearing certain types of clothing are asking to be sexually assualted.

Just because they were prepared to defend the bike doesn't matter in my book, the bike could have been left their for any number of reasons and at the time the person went to steal it they were none the wiser. 

And as far as the violence used to defend the bike, it's debateable. You can go in more well meaning like the guy putting a tracker in the bike and end up getting knifed, or as this is in the states probably shot. So unless you go in heavy handed initially you can put yourself at alot of risk against someone who didn't care enough not to take someones property. Perhaps the purpose of filming the events was to act as a warning to would-be-theives, that some people were willing to defend their property to this extent.

I guess as a cyclist who sees very little being done to protect cyclists, I am not to concerned with the police focusing resources protecting criminals when they are doing a piss poor job of protecting us.

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brooksby replied to vonhelmet | 4 years ago
0 likes
vonhelmet wrote:

Given they were leaving the bike there as bait, I'd say "enticing" is about the size of it. They weren't leaving it there by accident or out of laziness, but out of a desire to beat people with a bat. That's pretty problematic behaviour.

But the prospective thieves didn't know that it was bait.  All they saw was an unlocked bike in the front yard and they thought, "I'll have that, thanks".  I'm not sure we ought to be defending that behaviour at all...

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vonhelmet replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:
vonhelmet wrote:

Given they were leaving the bike there as bait, I'd say "enticing" is about the size of it. They weren't leaving it there by accident or out of laziness, but out of a desire to beat people with a bat. That's pretty problematic behaviour.

But the prospective thieves didn't know that it was bait.  All they saw was an unlocked bike in the front yard and they thought, "I'll have that, thanks".  I'm not sure we ought to be defending that behaviour at all...

I'm not, but I am condemning the actions of the "victims", which some people here would happily absolve them of.

Without them, there might potentially be one crime - a bike theft, somewhere.  With them, there are two crimes - a bike theft, and an assault.  What is the benefit of that?

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Organon | 4 years ago
1 like

Um... Down with this sort of thing!

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OldRidgeback | 4 years ago
3 likes

I can understand the anger at being a victim of theft, but this isn't the right way to deal with it.

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Xenophon2 | 4 years ago
2 likes

Couple of yobs, if they hadn't thought of this stupid idea they'd probably be stealing bikes themselves.

Don't  know about the law in the US but over here, violence is prohibited in order to stop simple theft of property (if the thief resists you trying to take it back that's a different matter).

 

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mattsccm | 4 years ago
5 likes

Daft idea. If they had kept quiet they might have had the opportunity to get a few more.

Bait is a great idea. It doesn't affect anyone who doesn't steal does it? If they steal they get punished. Perfect.  Don't want to be caught? Don't steal.

Not sure? Don't touch something that isn't yours. 

This so called entrapment should be a major technique in catching criminals.

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vonhelmet replied to mattsccm | 4 years ago
1 like
mattsccm wrote:

Daft idea. If they had kept quiet they might have had the opportunity to get a few more.

Bait is a great idea. It doesn't affect anyone who doesn't steal does it? If they steal they get punished. Perfect.  Don't want to be caught? Don't steal.

Not sure? Don't touch something that isn't yours. 

This so called entrapment should be a major technique in catching criminals.

This isn't entrapment, and actual entrapment is illegal. I don't think you know what you're talking about

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kt26 | 4 years ago
1 like

I seem to remember some guys getting in trouble for leaving tampered bait bikes which would cause the theives to crash.

The main aim of the police is to protect the general public from crime, does this mean that the police consider the general public to be bike theifs. Can't see how this is a good use of public money - I certainly am not concerned or threatened by these individuals.

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vonhelmet replied to kt26 | 4 years ago
3 likes
kt26 wrote:

I seem to remember some guys getting in trouble for leaving tampered bait bikes which would cause the theives to crash.

The main aim of the police is to protect the general public from crime, does this mean that the police consider the general public to be bike theifs. Can't see how this is a good use of public money - I certainly am not concerned or threatened by these individuals.

You're saying that enticing people to commit crimes then attacking them with a baseball bat and filming the results and posting them online is OK?

I mean, I don't know quite what crime I'd call that, but it's definitely raising some moral flags...

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kt26 replied to vonhelmet | 4 years ago
1 like
vonhelmet wrote:
kt26 wrote:

I seem to remember some guys getting in trouble for leaving tampered bait bikes which would cause the theives to crash.

You're saying that enticing people to commit crimes then attacking them with a baseball bat and filming the results and posting them online is OK?

It's definitely morally questionable, but I don't have sympathy for the would be thieves. And there are plenty of immoral things that aren't illegal, but as is so frequently pointed out police resources are scarce and things are prioritised - possibly the cause of what lead to this in the first place, the couple felt the threat of theft wasn't correctly prioritised and weren't willing to put up with it anymore - I would rather police time was focused on things that pose a threat to your average law abiding citizen.

Though I am not sure that leaving a bike on private property necessarily means they enticed crime, seems akin to victim blaming.

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hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
3 likes

Here's the right way to handle this kind of thing: https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/crime/vigilante-uses-bait-bike-with-gps-tracker-and-catches-portsmouth-thieves-in-the-act-1-9192521

Quote:

Unsuspecting teenagers cut through a £5.99 Halfords lock on Richard’s bike, which was fitted with a £25 tracker, outside McDonald’s in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, on Friday evening.

Engineer Richard had only put the cheap bike there eight hours before the 17-year-old boys struck - taking Richard’s bait bike on a ride to Stamshaw, through Buckland and stopping at North End.

But they were dumbstruck when dad-of-one Richard, 34, arrived in his car at around 4.30am and challenged two boys on bikes - one of which was his - and a lad sitting in an open doorway.

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Rick_Rude | 4 years ago
10 likes

Meh. Seems reasonable to me.

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