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Man Who Fought Thief For Bike Says He Had the Last Laugh

by ARLnow.com January 31, 2013 at 11:55 am 3,526 74 Comments

An alleged bike thief takes off on the victim's pink-tired bike (courtesy photo)In publishing last week’s Arlington County crime report, we wrote that a man’s effort to recover his stolen bike “backfired” when he was punched in the face and his new bike was stolen.

The victim of that alleged crime wrote us shortly thereafter and said it was actually he who had the last laugh.

The man, who didn’t want his name published but who was able to confirm non-public details about the incident, says he successfully recovered his pricey Gary Fisher mountain bike while the thief only managed to punch him once and take off with his girlfriend’s used $100 bike with pink tires.

Here’s the victim’s side of the story:

My Gary Fisher 29er mountain bike with multiple very distinguishable and colorful upgrades was stolen Sunday [Jan. 13] in downtown DC in front of a Safeway at 3 pm in broad daylight by a guy who broke my lock.

The next Thursday I was biking to Caps practice at Kettler in Ballston on my girlfriend’s pink tired bike (which the perp is pictured with here) when I saw a bus pull up with my stolen Gary Fisher on front. I put the pink tire bike I was riding on the rack with my stolen Gary Fisher and boarded the bus. I rode for a few blocks and got ready to make my move at the Whole Foods. I went to get both bikes and the guy charged off the bus and we wrestled for the Gary Fisher. Eventually I got my lock around the frame and wheel so he couldn’t ride away as he got one good punch in. With the Gary Fisher secure, I knocked him down and he put his hand in his bag and threatened to have a gun. He probably didn’t but l was spooked and let him up and backed off.

He got up and got on the pink tired bike and rode off. I got my nice Gary Fisher back. He rode off on this pink tired bike that I bought for 100 bucks a few years ago heading toward Courthouse and Rosslyn. I assume he dumped it right after he rode out if sight because he stood out on that thing and cops never found him.

I was fine after the fight and didn’t have a mark on me.

If you see the pink tired Specialized Hardrock around Clarendon he stole it. Also by the time I got to Kettler on my Gary Fisher, practice was over. At least I got my bike back.

I’m sure the police don’t encourage confronting thieves like this and maybe that’s why they took the successful part of the report out. But the bike I got back is really valuable to me.

Police say they have not made any arrests in the case so far.

Courtesy photo

  • Douglas Parker

    Well done sir!

    • Sgt. Hartman

      What’s this guy doing with Gary Fisher’s bike?

  • Buckley

    And we have our frontrunner for best ARLNow story of the year.

    • Tabs


    • jan

      great story!

    • Clarendo Expatriate

      No way! The chemical huffer is the best….hands down.

      • Buckley

        The picture included in this story puts it over the top. Easily.

    • Antiquerain

      I must concur.

  • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

    Awesome story here. If I see that bro above, ill be sure to kick him off his bike.

    • Pants?

      I don’t understand how he can ride–let alone WALK–in pants like that!

  • His girlfriend

    So let me get this straight. You let him steal my bike so you could get yours back? Real nice hon. Looks like you’re sleeping on the couch.

    • drax

      Beat me to it.

      But it’s cheaper to buy his girlfriend a replacement than to buy one for his.

      • CW

        I originally read your statement as “it’s cheaper to buy a replacement girlfriend”.

        • drax

          Well, actually…

    • fedworker


  • Douglas Parker

    The real crime here is they make hot pink tires for adult bikes.

    • cyclist

      Some people like pink. Even men. There’s a well-known cyclist in this area, a male, who always wears pink bike clothes on his pink bike. He looks good too.

      • spandex mike


      • Douglas Parker

        Does his bike have hot pink tires on it?

      • Louise

        Pete Beers!

  • SteamboatWillie

    That is great.

  • Marlington

    Hilarious details. Still though, I don’t understand how someone confident enough that that the bike was theirs to actually remove it would also not call the police to bring the justice to this thief. I understand though that this situation could have been chaotic and emotional.

    Did you ever think of just shadowing the guy secret-agent style to simply get information to report to the police?

    • BikeCop

      If the bike is in the crook’s possession how are going to affirmatively prove that it’s yours to the cops, especially if you haven’t already reported the stolen bike and don’t have some form of proof of purchase? Why wouldn’t the crook just say it’s his.

      • Marlington

        Yes, that is something to anticipate after contacting the police, but I don’t think it would have been that difficult to do.

        The point is, he took the bike off the bus! If someone is genuinely concerned they can’t prove they own the bike, then re-possessing the bike through self-help seem all the more dicey (e.g., victim could be viewed as thief unless he affirmatively proves otherwise).

        • Bike Pro

          Serial numbers when it was reported to police and he said:
          “29er mountain bike with multiple very distinguishable and colorful upgrades”

          • Tips

            Yah, just register it with ACPD. Even if the crook takes off the sticker, the cops have the bike’s serial number on record. Just flip the bike over and compare it.

  • Beth J

    Bike thief took a gamble — in Virginia there’s a good chance that if you bluff about having a gun, you may be bluffing to someone who actually has a concealed carry permit.

    • PinkHeart

      Who would expect a guy riding a bike with pink tires to have a gun?

      • Tabs

        You’re giving the thief a lot of credit there. “Critical thinking” is probably not his strong point.

      • tumblebum

        Coulda had a pink gun.

    • arlcyclist

      Hmm, good chance? In Virginia, there’s a roughly 3.5% (282,000 CCPs among 8,000,000 residents) chance that a person you encounter has a concealed carry permit.

      • Beth J

        Minus the, what, 25-30% who are under 21 and not eligible for a permit.

        • drax

          Plus the (unknown number) of those who just carry concealed without any permit.

          • SomeGuy

            Consider also how many permit holders don’t actually carry, but got the permit just for the legal ability to do so.

      • Scott

        Well…it’s a better chance than in DC, where only criminals carry concealed weapons.

        This story is a walking billboard for the right to keep and bear arms.

  • novasteve

    Wow, what an advertisement for the car free diet!

    • drax

      Because cars never get stolen!

    • arlcyclist

      By that logic, the auto industry must have a never-ending flow of advertising dollars.

  • brendan

    probably would have tried calling police when you first saw the bike on the rack… and kinda risky move… but well done and definitely a good trade.

  • Tabs

    “He rode off on this pink tired bike that I bought for 100 bucks a few years ago heading toward Courthouse and Rosslyn.”

    Is that a misplaced or dangling modifier?

    • CW

      The victim clearly was heading towards Court House and Rosslyn a few years ago when he stopped and bought a pink-tired bike for 100 bucks.

  • Wait

    So the guy who was stabbed for stopping someone from breaking into his car a few months ago should have instead let the thief break into a less nice decoy car?

  • Bikergirl

    Glad it all worked out! What type of lock did you have that the thief broke when it was parked in front of the Safeway in DC?

  • Cyclist

    What kind of lock did they break?

  • Mr.Question

    Where did the picture of the perp and bike come from? Who took this picture—the cyclist who was afraid the perp had a gun, instead took a picture?

  • ArLater

    Surprised nobody has said anything yet about this but what was the bus driver doing while all this took place? Oh these guys are just roughhousing in front of the bus, better get going on to the next stop? Or did he call the police for the guy? Seems like a missing detail here…

    • Scott

      If the bus driver were to call police, a rider would take a pic of him using his phone on the bus and he’d get suspended. Really, not the bus drivers job to also be a police officer. Do you assign the same responsibility to the do nothing bus passengers or being a bus driver some higher calling?

    • Buckingham Beauty

      Probably dealing with some knucklehead who got on at the same stop where these two gus got off the bus, and who couldn’t figure out the ridiculously easy process of adding money onto their SmarTrip card…

      • Buckingham Beauty

        *guys, not gus

  • Coraline

    Lots on my mind about this one:

    1. Having a conceal and carry permit does not allow you to point and shoot at everyone you see.

    2. Gary Fisher owner – I think it is pretty sexy of you to ride your girlfriend’s Powerpuffed-out bike.

    3. a bit of advice to all bike owners in DC – LOCKING SKEWERS and a 5-8 pound short u-lock. Mines a Fuggetaboutit lock. I can do weight training with it and it adds about 6 pounds to my load but the piece of mind is well worth it.

    4. You also could have locked the bikes together when you put the girlie bike on and waited for the cops to sort it out. I’ve known a few people who have done this successfully.

    5. Bike theft sucks hard. But there are way to outwit these crimes of opportunity. I think lots of kids nick bikes out of sheer boredom just to see if they can get away with it.

    • coraline

      Oh, and I LOVE that this guy is now riding around on one of the most noticeable bikes I’ve ever seen this side of a third-grade girl.

    • KalashniKEV

      As soon as the perp attacked, created space, and “put his hand in his bag and threatened to have a gun” it becomes a RACE to get lead on target as fast as possible. VA is a “stand-your-ground” state and that is certainly “reasonable fear.”

      • Hank

        You would totally love to justifiably shoot someone someday. That is your wet dream, isn’t it? Then you could say, “Look, I was right all along!” Life validated!

        • SomeGuy

          Hank, I believe KEV served in our armed forces. In your attempt to mock him, you seem to neglect that he might have already justifiably shot someone someday.

          • coraline

            “justifiably shot someone someday”
            shot without charges, or justifiable? These are 2 morally differing things.

          • Hank

            Good point. Let me clarify. He would love to shoot someone in self-defense as a civilian.

          • coraline

            anyone LOVING TO SHOOT anything needs to reconsider.

        • KalashniKEV

          No, but I’m not so naive to imagine that “He’s bluffing” when someone reaches into a bag and tells me that they’re going to kill me.

          I wonder if the Pio Pio slashing victim thought the perp was bluffing right before he got cut to ribbons.

          This is not DC- If you make a bluff like that, you should expect to be called on it. When you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.

          • Let it go, Henry.

            Good point, but another good point is, is it worth getting shot or shooting someone for a mountain bike?

          • KalashniKEV

            Is it worth getting shot over a bike? Obviously not.

            Can someone who wants my bike take it by force? No. If deadly force criteria are met, I’ll shoot them.

      • John Rambo

        “lead on target,” haha. are you writing this from mom’s basement, rambo?

        • Yup

          He most definitely is.

        • KalashniKEV

          It doesn’t matter how much training either party has, who has gun-in-hand first, or even who gets off the first shot- the winner of a gunfight is generally whoever makes the first primary lethal zone hits. As I said, it’s a race to get lead on target, and you can’t miss fast enough to win.

          I don’t know why you would think that’s funny…

  • OutsideTheLaw

    “You also could have locked the bikes together when you put the girlie bike on [the bus rack] and waited for the cops to sort it out.” True that.

    Which Safeway was the theft at? What type of lock?

    • NoArl Snob

      Obviously the not-so-Safeway. Probably in SoArl somewhere.

      • Scott

        Reading the article is hard.

    • coraline


      The short one prevents the thief from pulling it apart with a wedge. The locking skewers are important too. I had my seat stolen on the first day living in DC.

      • brendan

        and they’re now bic pen proof!!! ( for those of you that have an older kryptonite u lock, you might want to check on that)

  • Jake

    Dude gets punched, has another bike stolen, guy gets away. Hard to see the victory you’re claiming, brah

    • drax

      Gained: Gary Fisher 29er.
      Lost: $100 bike with pink wheels.
      Net gain.

  • Wellz

    Hopefully ACPD pulled the video footage from the bus to get a better view of the perp.

  • PeteyPablo

    Let’s be real you got your ass kicked and your bike stolen, stop trying to cover up

  • Bob Smith



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