[messengers] Bike couriers chase down bicycle thief in wild downtown pursuit

Date: 23 Feb 2010 12:34:10 +0100
From: Joe Hendry <messvilleto@xxxxxxxxx>

Bike couriers chase down bicycle thief in wild downtown


February 22, 2010


By Andrew Blankstein



Two bike messengers saved the day for a Los Angeles man Monday when they chased a
bike thief for five blocks downtown and then knocked him to the ground, causing
him to flee, police said.


Jesus Tobar, 43, said he was working out at 24-Hour Fitness
in the 500 block of Flower Street
in downtown Los Angeles
when he emerged to find his green Iron Horse Desperado Mountain Bike gone.


Tobar returned to the gym to ask if there was any security
surveillance video. But two bike couriers had seen his $500 bike being taken
and had already set off after the thief.


The couriers pedaled through downtown at high speed on a
chase that traversed sidewalks and busy streets, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith.
Eventually, one of the messengers was able to grab the thief's shirt and pull
him to the ground.


The man then took off on foot and the couriers reclaimed the


"This was a wild, high-speed bicycle chase through
crowded streets of the Jewelry Mart," Smith said. "We are now looking
for a 30-year-old man with a torn shirt, a possibly sprained ankle, as well as
road rash."


Although this case had a happy ending, officials say bike
thefts have been on the rise, increasing 29% last year and bucking an overall drop
in crime. Los Angeles Police Department detectives believe the increase is in
part a result of more people using bikes to get around in some neighborhoods.

A Times analysis of LAPD data found the USC campus area,
Venice, parts of Hollywood and downtown L.A. to be hot spots for bike thefts.


As the thefts have increased, some people have taken matters
into their own hands. Last month, bike messengers downtown caught two suspected
thieves, teenage boys who attended a local Catholic high school, and stripped
them down to their boxer shorts before taking their cellphones, backpacks and



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