RICHMOND, Va. — Nearly 200 bikes have been reported ripped off in 2014, according to Richmond Police.
“I was completely panicked because that bike really meant everything to me,” said Allie Bowie, who learned a lesson the hard way.
She went on a wild journey to get her stolen bike back, after the 24-year-old woman’s custom bike was snatched from her unlocked garage in Jackson Ward last August.
“Very unlike me to keep a bike anywhere other than the house,” she said. “It was sheer panic because I didn’t have any mode of transportation.”
Just this week RVA Stolen Bicycle Forum on Facebook featured security video of a bike being heisted from a front porch in the Randolph section of the city.
The man seen in the video clips the lock and makes off with a bike in less than two minutes.
Bikes can be stripped or stolen in such a way, anywhere in Richmond — including right in front of the Federal Courthouse.
“The majority of bike theft that we hear that was stolen was a bike that was left outdoors at nighttime,” said the owner of Carytown Bike, Braden Govoni . He added that bike thefts are a crime of opportunity, and urged owners to invest in a simple lock to avoid financial heart ache.
“You have people out there looking to take stuff so you have to exercise some caution,” he said.
As for Allie, there is a happy ending to her story. Just this week, 11 months after her beloved cycle was stolen, she spotted it.
“We were about a block from being home and I saw my biked strapped to the front of a GRTC bus,” she said.
The man who had the bike denied it was stolen. Allie admited she was one of the lucky ones.
She showed him a picture of the bike, and he walked away after he said he thought it was his cousins.
“To see it completely intact was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Allie said.