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Police spring into action to find stolen bike and arrest thief within an hour of it being taken

A heart-warming tale in a week in which survey found UK public believe police give lowest priority to bike theft – although this one happened in Italy and the bike cost €7,500

In a week in which a survey found that three quarters of people in the UK don't expect the police to do anything about reports of bike theft, here's a heart-warming story of how officers sprang into action after a cyclist had his pride and joy stolen, reuniting him with it and arresting the thief within an hour of it being taken.

If that sounds too good to be true, well, there are a couple of details you need to know – the theft happened not here but in Italy, and the bike in question was worth a cool €7,500, which may help explain why it was prioritised.

According to news website Venti4ore, the bike’s owner had stopped for what could have been a very expensive espresso – in fact at around €1.10 a shot, given the bike’s value, that would cover his morning pick-me-up for the next 18 years or so.

The bike – described as a pro-specced mountain bike – was on the rear rack of his car, outside a bar on Piazza Puccini in Florence, and while he enjoyed his morning caffè, the thief forced the lock and made off with the bike.

Immediately he realised the bike had gone, the owner called the police, giving them a precise and detailed description of it, and staff in the control room of the Tuscan city’s Questura immediately relayed news of the theft to all units operating in the city.

Less than an hour later, officers in a patrol car who were carrying out checks in the city’s Parco delle Cascine, a short distance from where the theft took place, saw a man flash by, riding what looked to them to be the bike that had been stolen – something that was confirmed when they managed to stop him after he attempted to flee on it.

The man, a 36-year-old originally from Livorno and already known to police, was on suspicion of ‘ricettazione’ – similar to the offence of handling stolen goods under English law, often brought when it cannot be proven that the suspect was the actual thief.

The bike’s owner was described, unsurprisingly, as being filled with joy at getting it back – and subsequently wrote a letter of thanks to the city’s police chief thanking the officers for tracking it down and returning it to him.

The YouGov survey we reported on earlier this week found that respondents believed that bike theft was top of the list for crimes that they do not expect police to investigate thoroughly, with 77 per cent selecting it from a list of 15 offences.

> Three quarters of Brits don’t expect police to bother investigating bike thefts

The poll also found that 84 per cent of people responding to the survey thought it unlikely that bike thieves would be caught and convicted.

Earlier this month, a report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the police watchdog for England and Wales, said that forces were failing to adequately investigate cases of burglary, robbery and theft in England and Wales.

Indeed, recent Home Office figures reveal that between March 2021 and March 2022, just 6.3 percent of robbery offences and 4.1 percent of thefts in England and Wales led to charges being brought against offenders.

So, complimenti to the Polizia dello Stato in Florence for showing how it’s done, even if, as we said earlier, the value of the bike was almost certainly a factor in their acting so quickly.

Simon joined 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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FrankH | 1 year ago


...and arresting the thing...

I think you mean thief...

But on second thoughts, no, you were right first time.

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