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Bicycle thieves take over Bengaluru

Thieves steal cycles cutting through metal locks. In fear, cyclists start to keep their wheels inside their apartments.

Published: 14th December 2016 03:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th December 2016 03:05 AM   |  A+A-

cycle-RK

For representational purpose

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Shekar Prakash, a resident of Padmanabhanagar, cycles to his office in HSR layout everyday. It is a nearly 11 km stretch, but Shekar loves the ride. On October 30, he lost both his cycles (one costs Rs 25,000 and the other Rs 14,000) from his apartment garage. There was a metal lock that fastened them to the stand but the thieves had cut through it. He discussed it at work and came to know it is a familiar story.

A collegue of his, from HSR, had lost his ride. High-end cycles -- few even costing up to Rs 10 lakhs -- have a horde of thieves after them. Victims do approach police stations but the cops are not optimistic of tracing lost goods. Jijo Varghese, a software developer from Koramangala, lost his cycle this September from his house.

Illustration  Amit Bandre

The cycle had cost him Rs 34,000 but it was a good investment because Jijo used it to cycle 10 km from his house in Koramangala to his office in Domlur. “I had parked my cycle in the parking lot of my apartment,” he says.

“I have filed a police complaint in Vivek Nagar Police station and the cops told me that they can’t trace it easily because it does not have a registration or identification number.” Jijo, an ardent cyclist, now owns a motorbike. “It is a safe possession,” he says.

“I had started cycling for a greener lifestyle,” he says, “pedal-to-work and all. But such instances (of theft) pull you down.” Cyclists in the city are on high-alert. “Many of my fellow cyclists are keeping their rides inside their rooms because they are not safe outside anymore,” says Jijo. Manjunath HR, a software professional from Domlur, is one of them. He has to lug it up to his third-floor apartment.

“Even if I use good-quality locks, the thieves know how to break them,” he says. “I am left with no other option, but to keep it behind closed doors.” When Shekar had shared his story on social media, many responded saying that they have lost their cycles too. Saba Panja, a software professional, posted that even though she had used a lock that cost her Rs 2,500, the thieves had cut through it and robbed her giant cycle that cost Rs 60,000.

Vignesh Baskar, from Annasandrapalaya, HAL, said that he had used a magnetic lock but the thieves got it anyway. He filed a police complaint but had no luck tracing the cycle. Police officers say that the cases go unreported. “We have never come across such cases,” says KSR Charan Reddy, Additional Commissioner of Police West. “Victims hesitate to register a case.

But, even if they did, it would be difficult to trace the cycles. They don’t have a unique registration number or a chassis number. The thieves can easily change the design or look of the cycle.” Shekar Prakash’s story had a dramatic and happy ending. The thief had not got his hand on the charger for one of the cycles. Shekhar knew that the thief could buy it only from the dealer that sold him the bike, because electric cycles are rare in the city.

So Shekhar alerted his dealer of the theft and asked to be informed if anyone comes looking to buy a charger. The dealer promised all the help. Then a buyer came looking for the charger and the dealer informed Shekar, who informed the police. The police helped the dealer set a trap and the buyer was detained till the cops reached the store. The person who brought in the bike pleaded innocence. He said that a boy sold it to him near a park. “The boy, apparently, had told him that he had to sell the bike to buy medicines for his mother,” says Shekar.



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