String of home invasion bike thefts lately

Reader Joshua wrote in to report the following home invasion bike theft and accompanying photos of the thief (recognize him?):

On March 31 at 5:22 AM Saturday Morning, a man entered our locked front door on the 800 Block of Guerrero Street, went down into the locked garage and relieved it of four bikes, ripping one off the wall.

2012 54″ White Specialized Allez with SRAM Apex
2009 51″ Turquoise Jamis Quest Femme (105 Double, maybe with a BullDog lock still attached to the rack that had been bolted to the wall)
2008 Medium Black Masi Soulville 8 with Front and Rear racks a Velo Orange saddle
1999 56″ Yellow LeMonde Tourmalet

That’s right, one of those bikes was ripped off the wall with the lock still attached. The thing is, this is the fourth garage break-in/bike theft I know of from the past month and vicinity:

  • Our pal Jenny reports that her garage (around 29th/Dolores) was broken into with one bike stolen on March 10th,
  • This theft from the Glen Park area, via WBTC,
  • And my own bike was stolen out of a garage around 30th/San Jose on March 18th, also entering through a locked front door.

When the police showed up at the scene of my bike’s theft, they mentioned that they are aware of a string of similar incidents and this may be a repeat offender.

I suppose I should list some safety tips and advice, or something. Here’s what I’ve learned, anyway:

  • Make sure you have a deadbolt on any doors leading to a garage, and make sure to use it.
  • If your garage opens with a code, change it frequently.
  • Lock your bike to something in your garage. Apparently, this doesn’t necessarily change anything, but it’s another deterrent.
  • If you must hold onto your bike, store it in your apartment, instead of a separate storage area.
  • If someone really wants your bike, they can have it. Everything we own is essentially on loan from the universe.
  • Be okay with losing irreplaceable things, or own replaceable things. The bike that was taken from me was a cheap single speed from an online wholesaler, and though it bruised my bank account, I was back on practically the same wheels within a week.
  • If your bike is truly sacred to you, write down its serial number somewhere safe. This is pretty much the only way the police can help you if your bike turns up on Craigslist or elsewhere.
  • As Vic would say, sleep with your bikes under your pillows, kids.

Update: Here’s time lapse footage from Joshua’s garage burglary.

61 Responses to “String of home invasion bike thefts lately”

  1. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    That’s a beautiful little convertible!

  2. Trey says:

    My buddy had his bike stolen from his gated stairwell in Hayes Valley. It was behind the gate, and U-Locked to the stairwell. Maybe it was the same dude?

    • dch says:

      saw a guy came to my apt complex looking for a friend. stashed something by a tree and saw it was a big screwdriver; gonna bust a damn ulock i thought? knew right away he was a tweaker and bike thief. played it cool and got his Basically, sick people in trouble with drugs. No excuse but shit can be recovered if you can get in their heads a little and figure out how they turn over their stolen property. time to sleuth and get some bkes back

  3. Manny Festo says:

    It’s a burglary not a home invasion

    • Helen Tseng says:

      If semantics are your foremost problem with this, you are a terrible person.

      • Daryl F. says:

        If alarmist journalism bothers you, you are a terrible person. Watch out for home invasions and serial rapists breaking necks in the mission.

        • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

          How is this “alarmist journalism”?

          Hell, how is a random blog post “journalism” of any sort?

          • Daryl F. says:

            I’m not going to condescend with dictionary definitions, but I’m kind of stumped as to how that statement confused you.

            I like this blog, but there seems to be a tendency to throw a ‘Fox News’ fearmongering spin on some of the crime updates.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            Notification of a string of in-home bike thefts in the neighborhood this blog is dedicated to does not strike me as “alarmist” so much as it is “informative”.

          • Daryl F. says:

            OK, i guess i do need to break it down. The headline is reporting a string of home invasion thefts; home invasion, in California, is a crime involving force. These were breaking and entering burglaries, the facts have been stretched to exaggerate the danger.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            I had no idea that “home invasion” had a legal definition that included use of force against a person. I’m willing to give Helen the benefit of the doubt and assume that she did not realize that, either, and was simply using “home invasion” to mean person-invading-your-home-to-take-your-stuff.

          • Helen Tseng says:

            Yes, I meant those words quite literally: “invading one’s home.” I am no lawyer, enforcement officer, nor journalist. And I’m sorry that those words have lost their meanings to you because the law has appropriated them for something more specific.

          • think_for_me says:

            Well, you wouldn’t properly refer to someone stealing a parked car as a ‘car-jacking’, in the legal sense. A home invasion and a burglary are two different acts.

            Also, Helen, I think semantics are important when expressing yourself via written word, i.e. blogging.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            Well, GG’s post below (and a bit of research on my own) would seem to argue that there *IS* no special, legal definition of “Home Invasion” in California. Lacking that sort of specific definition, I would argue that using “home invasion” to mean “someone invading your home to take your stuff” is perfectly reasonable.

          • hipster jesus says:

            STFU, and bow to Daryl F’s superior calling-out of bungled language, at the home of the “neck-breaking rapist” bullshit rumor.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            No thanks.

    • joshua says:

      Since the guy went through our occupied home in order to get to the garage it may very well be classified as a home invasion.

      • Daryl F. says:

        Welcome to California, in this state a home invasion is defined as entering someone’s house to commit a robbery, which implies force being used.

        • GG says:

          Burglary under the California Penal Code is “entering a structure with the intent to commit a felony (or a petty theft) once inside.” I don’t believe that California defines a crime of “home invasion” — but I don’t practice criminal law, so I’m happy for any other lawyers out there to correct me.

          • Daryl F. says:

            You read the burglary statue but didn’t catch the part about ‘home invasion robbery’?


          • GG says:

            You used The Google but you didn’t catch the part about actually understanding what you’re reading? That’s not the burglary statute. You might have guessed that that statute actually pertains to enhancements for gang activity when you saw that it started with “…actively participates in any criminal street gang with knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity…” See CPC Sec. 459, which is the statute that actually pertains to burglary. And again, if any *OTHER LAWYERS* out there want to set me straight on the home invasion thing, please do.

          • GG says:

            By the way, if anyone cares, the link is, but I assume y’all don’t — I just try to throw my legal knowledge in whenever I think it might be useful — but I also recognize that the original MM article was talking about “home invasion” as a layperson’s description and not a legal term. Anyway, the CA Penal Code: RIVETING BEDTIME READING

          • Daryl F. says:

            Your right, that piece I linked wasn’t from the main burglary statue. But it still holds up unless you find a definition of ‘home invasion’ in any part of the CA penal code that isn’t followed by the word ‘robbery’.

            Flattering that you would insinuate that I am a lawyer or more informed than a layperson, but go ahead and use that google again to look up ‘Home Invasion’ and the overwhelming majority of what you find will involve violence and force, referring to stealing bikes from a garage when no one is home as a ‘home invasion’ seems far off. A true layperson’s knowledge comes from wikipedia, which defines a home invasion as “Tthe act of illegally entering a private and occupied dwelling with violent intent for the purpose of committing a crime against the occupants such as robbery, assault, rape, murder, or kidnapping”

          • wrybread says:

            GG why don’t you just tell Daryl F. to go away? You don’t have to be so nice to asswipe commenters all the time, especially relentlessly contrarian ones like Daryl F…

          • Ken says:

            Hey Daryl, I think you meant “you’re” as opposed to “your”.

          • GG says:

            You misunderstood — I was not insinuating that you were a lawyer. My point was that you obviously are not. I, however, AM, and so was politely suggesting that “any other lawyers but not jackasses who know nothing such as Darryl F.” might want to offer another interpretation, as my specialty is not criminal law.

          • GG says:

            Oh and also, all of the following is completely erroneous, but again, you are not a lawyer, so I wouldn’t expect you to understand that (just assumed you would shut up about something about which you know nothing): “Your right, that piece I linked wasn’t from the main burglary statue. But it still holds up unless you find a definition of ‘home invasion’ in any part of the CA penal code that isn’t followed by the word ‘robbery’.”

            Again, that part you quoted was from a gang crime enhancement statute — nothing to do with what we’re discussing here. And no, that’s not the way statutes work.

    • batman says:

      actually it is Breaking and entering, along with premeditated burglary, and the second he stepped out the home, possession of stolen propriety.

  4. Caroline says:

    I had my bike stolen from my garage off Duboce at Valencia. Since then I’ve started locking it up in the garage, but I’ve gotten a light and a cargo net stolen off it in my own house. SHADY.

  5. Kelley says:

    Yeah – we had 4 bikes stolen from our locked garage (perp busted through the front door and the locked door to the garage) at 22nd and Dolores. Lesson learned – my husband and I purchased a pretty sweet bike stand and it’s now the center piece of our bedroom. Almost under our pillows!

    Our neighbors filed a police report so that they could claim it on their renter’s insurance (on my soap box: get renter’s insurance!!! well worth the $100/year) but our bike was worth our deductible so it was a wash.

    We had our landlord install new locks and a camera for our front door.

    My bet: sleep with your bikes. :)

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      You should definitely still file a police report, whether or not you are planning on reporting it to your insurance company.

      Police reports are how the police decide where to devote resources.

  6. GG says:

    At least we’re not Oakland? (Side note: 19 minutes to respond to a 911 call? JEEZ)

    • Tuffy says:

      Um… I’ve called 911 for fights and people who are so fucked up they’re lying in the gutter and no one ever showed up.

  7. joshua says:

    Let me just add one more thing to this. The thief definitely cased out the place and targeted the bicycles, as we have no windows in our garage and had worked in the driveway with the garage door open last week. He ignored everything else in the garage, probably had a vehicle waiting, and tore the bike off the wall last as that was most likely to wake us.

    (and that old car benefits greatly from the soft focus of the IR cam)

    • Matthew says:


      Same deal in our case. There were plenty of other things that could have been stolen out of our garage (tools, etc.) but the bikes are probably the easiest things to nab and resell for cash. 5:22 am on a Saturday? Pretty scary and definitely a repeat offender in my opinion.

  8. Matthew says:

    Probably the same jerk that broke into our locked garage 3 weeks ago @ Cesar Chavez and Guerrero! The thief burgled/picked a lock on the side entrance of the garage to gain access… and yes, trolled off with both mine and my wife’s bikes.

    Learned the hard way that anything kept even in a secure garage should be locked. :(

    If anyone hears anything here’s a post detailing the stolen bikes:

  9. Josh says:

    Also had two bikes–and nothing else–stolen from our garage at Page and Buchanan.

  10. melissa says:

    The basement of our apartment on 19th and Dolores was broken into just a few weeks ago and the thief stole several bikes that had multiple locks. He used wire clippers and broke the spokes of a wheel in order to navigate some of the locks. I hope they catch this ring of thieves. And by they, I suppose it will be up to us as a community to catch this vicious ring. Count me in on the hunt!

  11. Ken says:

    About a month ago I found my garage door at Cesar Chavez @ Dolores open in the morning, and my 20yr old red Bridgestone MB-3 was gone. They didn’t bother with the Trek road bike it was resting against… I assumed it was because the road bike’s tires were flat.

    About a week ago around 11:45pm, I was in my apartment (in a 4-unit building) when someone spent 10-15 seconds trying the door knob to my unit… which was locked. I couldn’t get to the door, but just after that could hear the front door of the building open and close and going to the window saw someone heading down Dolores….(and I’m sure I’m just paranoid/projecting here)… who certainly was the same height and had the same haircut and build as the person shown in the pictures above. I think he even had a backpack…

  12. Suki says:

    My garage was broken into at 22nd and Florida about six months ago. It was a crappy lock and old wood- still, I have now relocated my bikes off the premises, as the policeman advised me to do. He also told me at the time that this was happening a lot, all over the city.
    How does one organize to stop this sort of thing? There isn’t a lot that makes me feel helpless, but I did when this happened-

  13. Claire Henry says:

    Certain Kryptonite locks have a theft protection offer. $20 for 3 years of protection – meaning that if someone breaks the lock to steal the bike, they will reimburse you up to $1500. Secondly, there are bike registration services that tag your bike with a QR code so if cops find em they know who to return the bike to.

  14. SergDun says:

    upgrade your locks people. there are still lots of old crappy schlage SA locks in this town, you can pick them with anything that’s flat and staight, fucking bobby pins like a goddamn cartoon. Hell if you have an entry system almost 90% of them are still in factory default programming codes. Deadbolts, latch guards. real locks, not home depot bullshit either. Change your passcodes.

  15. JC says:

    My roommate has had two bikes stolen from our garage in Lower Haight / Alamo Square. Fuckers. I wonder if it’s the same person who’s been liberating my textbook shipments from our front stairwell.

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  17. GG says:

    Just thought I’d point out that there have been some additional bike thefts recently, from inside garages/basements/storage units in my ‘hood:

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