I had a pretty fun “lockout” recovery in Arundel this week. It stretched my knowledge of the law a bit and I had to put in some extra care to make sure I was working for one of the good guys.
I get called out to a lockout in Arundel town centre where my new client has described a lockout involving his bike. Apparently, he can’t get the locking chain off. Sounds suspicious right? He was adamant that the bike was his and he would prove it… so I drove down to check it out.
I was greeted by a very excited 30-something male who told me a story of his bike being stolen from Brisbane about 3 weeks ago. It was a pretty swish bike, $4500 new (wow!) and it had been stolen just before he was due to fly out on a business trip. He hadn’t even had time to report it to the Police before he left. He filed a report online from the airport and came back and reported it in person about 2 weeks later.
Now here he was… somehow standing beside his stolen bike that he had miraculously found. Well… not quite miraculously unless you believe in the miracle of modern technology.
Fitted into the chassis of the bike was a GPS tracker. It was done very discretely – there would be no way of telling it was there unless you cut the Chassis Open. He had then tracked his bike using his smart phone, with the device sending messages to another nearby user of the app, which bounced the message back to my new client.
But wait I hear you say… surely the GPS battery was now flat after 3 weeks? Nope. This little gadget came complete with a small generator that created enough power to run the GPS. I am not sure if it was somehow connected to the bike’s wheels that turned the electric motor, or if it was motion driven when riding over rough terrain… either way apparently it worked perfectly and was all but undetectable to the rider.
All that aside… here I was in the middle of Arundel town centre, with a guy asking me to open the lock of a very expensive bike so he could ride away with it. In the end, I did base on the following evidence.
- My new friend showed me a copy of the receipt for the bike, and the Police report.
- He also showed me the app he was using to track his bike and indeed the app was showing this was his bike.
- He showed me a serial number on the bike chassis which matched the receipt.
- He was of course happy to provide his personal id.
- He had called the boys in blue out, they were convinced it was his bike. He had even taken a selfie with them and his bike and showed me the pic from his phone.
This was enough for me – I was confident I was assisting the true owner of this bike and was committing no crime by unlocking it.
The lock was a sturdy chain and a large padlock (this thief was taking no chances of “his” bike being stolen) that would have been difficult to cut with large bolt cutters. No need for me to use bolt cutters of course but your average bike thief carries a pair about 40cm long which would have struggled with this setup.
I opened the lock and my new client got his bike back. I then replaced the chain after placing a metal sleeve on the padlock containing my name, address, and phone number so if there were any aggrieved parties they could call me.
5 days later? No phone call. I went back to check it out and the chain with my details was still in place… but I noticed someone had kicked the shit out of a nearby rubbish bin.
Pretty sure I had done the right thing.
When securing your bike? A few tips.
- Absolutely if you have the $$$ go for an internal GPS tracking system. You might even be able to retrieve your bike with a GPS tag discretely tucked under the seat… though your professional bike thief will likely check there.
- Forget combination locks… Your average bike thief can have these open in seconds.
- Your chain/lock should be able to withstand a bolt cutter of at least 40cm length (shove under a jacket size).
- If you leave your bike in an inner city suburb overnight and it’s worth lots of $$$? Expect it to be stolen no matter what you secure it with. Just don’t do it.
In need of an Arundel locksmith? Contact the team at Allcoast Locksmiths today.