March 14, 2016

Leave No Trace (or Do, If You Want to Get Caught)

Photo credit: Xavier Roeseler via / CC BY-NC-SA
If, as a bike thief, your plan involves leaving possessions at the scene of the crime, best to wipe them down first. Briton Andrew Grubb learned this the hard way in February.

Grubb rode a rusty old bike to Bristol Parkway station, where he stole the frame and rear wheel of one bike and the front wheel of another. He cobbled the pilfered property into a complete (non-rusty) ride and took off, leaving the bike he'd arrived on behind. Along with—it turned out—his DNA.

Tipped off by witnesses, the British Transport Police's forensic team swabbed the bike, recovered the DNA, and identified Grubb—a known bike theft who lived in the neighborhood—as the culprit. Appearing in Bristol Magistrates' Court, Grubb was ordered to pay £1,000 and £40, respectively, to the cyclists whose frame/rear wheel and front wheel he took.

Moral for the cyclists (as opposed to the would-be bike thieves) among you: Don't lock your bike solely by the front wheel, but be sure to secure it, too!

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