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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with a Real Bike Thief

By Martin Mrazek

Following the success of the European Bike Stealing Championships many of you wrote comments to us and we’re thankful for all of them. But one message surely stood out. It was from a former bike thief who had ideas of his own about why our bait bike in Prague wasn’t snatched. Although we definitely don’t support bike theft we took this opportunity to ask him how to protect our bikes properly. We bring you the short interview along with the Making of the European Bike Stealing Championships 2015 video.

What was the reason the bait bike in Prague wasn’t stolen?

Stealing an unlocked bike is actually very risky. There is a good chance the owner is near and is going to call the police in a few minutes after the job is done. Every unit will know about it and that could get you caught. The other guys, in my opinion, just saw the opening and took the chance. Locked stuff at nighttime was my choice.

Was? You quit then?

I did. Haven’t stolen anything for about six months now.

Why did you quit?

Some people work at McDonald’s to put themselves through college, I did the occasional stealing. I grew up in a tough neighborhood and stealing bikes was just something I knew very well.

What did you use to steal the bikes?

I drove my dad’s old beat-up van and had his huge bolt cutters in the backpack. Sometimes I used rope and other stuff, but the bolt cutters were the main thing.

How do you secure your bike?

Well I have two thick chains. One through the back wheel and one through the frame. It can’t stop someone really determined, but it takes a lot of time. My golden rule was “do it under a minute or don’t do it at all”. Everyone should really get a decent D lock and leave their bike only in a high-traffic area. Cable locks are a joke.

Would that stop you personally?

Probably yes. I did some crazy stuff when I was younger, but I tried to minimize the risk as much as possible over time.

The former bike thief didn’t get any money for doing the interview, he communicated only via anonymous emails and eventually stopped. He never revealed his true identity.

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