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Video of Bristol thief filmed by bystander as he steals bike

Footage generates debate among commenters on Facebook about what they would have done in same situation

A video has been posted online of a thief in Bristol using bolt-croppers yesterday to cut through a lock and steal a bike.

But much of the discussion in the comments to it on Facebook has revolved around the action individuals would take if they found themselves in such a situation.

The footage, filmed on College Green on Bristol, was posted to Facebook by Jude Robson and was taking by a bystander who became suspicious when he saw the thief at work.

While a number of people commenting in the video say that they would have physically attacked the thief, the poster disagreed.

She wrote: “The thief told the guy filming that it was his own bike and he had forgotten the combo.

“I am really grateful that he filmed the guy – no one else did anything and he also hung around till we got back so the other bike didn't get stolen and emailed me the video.

“He also felt bad that he hadn't tried to physically stop the guy but I really don't blame him for that, I would have done the same.

“Anyway hopefully his video will mean the guy gets caught ... Thanks for sharing everyone.”

She added that the theft had been reported to the & Somerset Constabulary .

One commenter on Facebook wrote: “Instead off videoing it do something about it.”

Another wrote: “Dude stands and films him instead of trying to stop him.”

But someone else pointed out: “this bloke is always nicking bikes around town. He gets very aggressive if challenged.

“So the bloke filming was quite right not to stop him. Seen him on waterfront before. Nasty piece of work.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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35 comments

Avatar
RMurphy195 | 6 years ago
0 likes

Brilliant bit of work - video evidence of the guy stealing the bike, no question about identifying him on court, only thing might be to call 101howver this might detract from gathering the evidence, and often enough 101 doesn't get answered nyway (not around here that is!).

Had it been my own bike - then I would have known for certain it was a tealeaf and not someone losing his/her key, but still not sure what I would do now I'm in my late sixties (in my teens I did spot someone nicking bits from my bike and had no problem "challenging" him!)

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Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
1 like

This had made the BBC front page yesterday. No doubt the thief will be identified soon and soundly punished with a suspended sentence (despite a string of convictions) and community service (which they won't do).

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brooksby replied to Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
0 likes

Yorkshire wallet wrote:

This had made the BBC front page yesterday. No doubt the thief will be identified soon and soundly punished with a suspended sentence (despite a string of convictions) and community service (which they won't do).

BBC now reckons someone's been arrested over this 

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Redvee replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
0 likes

brooksby wrote:

BBC now reckons someone's been arrested over this 

 

Local plod confirms the arrest.

 

https://twitter.com/ASPolice/status/855430866260119553

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Fish_n_Chips | 6 years ago
3 likes

I think commonsense - take pictures/film or call the police.

Intervene physically and be sued for GBH or get cloutted by the bolt croppers.

If it was my own bike,  yeah I might have punched the guy and get sued for killing the brittle boned bike thief knowing my luck.

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drosco | 6 years ago
0 likes

Geez, looking at the comments on here, I'm amazed anyone leaves the house.

 

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earth | 7 years ago
1 like

Those bolt cutters would work really well at cutting off thumbs.

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Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago
5 likes

The thief was already tooled up with bolt cutters, probably got that smackhead desperation too. If you're not a fighter , don't fight. It's a bit like when someone fall in the sea, don't jump in after them unless you're a good swimmer or it'll be two people that need help.

If you're bigger and harder - go for it. If not draw attention to get a crowd and be prepared to do one if scumbag turns nasty.

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tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
12 likes

Guys, if you're ever in this situation and wonder what to do. Take your phone out and shout at the thief, Oi!, That's my bike! I'm calling the cops!

If it's his bike he'll be casual, if not, he'll bolt, most likely.

Wouldn't risk tackling anyone that you don't think you can handle. Most folk massively overestimate their ability in a scrap. Also, he has a weapon. One crack with that and your kids got no dad. Not really worth it.

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Kadinkski replied to tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
7 likes

unconstituted wrote:

Guys, if you're ever in this situation and wonder what to do. Take your phone out and shout at the thief, Oi!, That's my bike! I'm calling the cops!

That's a brilliant idea!

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Awavey | 7 years ago
3 likes

its difficult, because theres absolutely no need to go all Batman vigilante, but is just politely engaging the guy in conversation whilst filming him the answer either ?

Im not sure, clearly the guy has some front to be stealing the bike during the day on a busy street, but none of the other passers by are paying attention because no-one is drawing any attention to whats happening, and thats the thing I think people are reacting to on this.

it doesnt even sound like the police were at any stage called, the bike was simply reported stolen.

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Metaphor | 7 years ago
3 likes

Perhaps if a few more people had helped confront the scummer it would have been a different story but I don't think there are any grounds to question the integrity or well-meaning of the chap filming.

I'm not criticising the person filming, I am more criticising a legal system where people fear intervening in a blatent criminal act for fear of themselves being pursued by the law.

In these situations, the best course of action is probably have been to immediately involve other people, for both practical and psychological advantage.

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Metaphor | 7 years ago
1 like

Someone willing to be filmed blatantly stealing a bike is quite likely willing to smash your face in with a pair of bolt croppers. What would you have done differently?  Punched him?  The guy filming did a lot more than most and handled what must have been a very stressful situation better than I think I would have. 

Why the hell shouldn't he have punched him? Or is that wrong because it involves violence? Is that too primitive?

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Cupotea replied to Metaphor | 7 years ago
8 likes

Ramuz wrote:

Why the hell shouldn't he have punched him? Or is that wrong because it involves violence? Is that too primitive?

Because as I stated, the scumbag thief is quite likely a bit handy in the art of fisticuffs and has a pair of crops in his hands.  Maybe you would be happy with those odds. If you are then great,  and I applaud you and agree he deserves a punt in the plums. Most wouldn't be so confident or capable.

 

Perhaps if a few more people had helped confront the scummer it would have been a different story but I don't think there are any grounds to question the integrity or well-meaning of the chap filming.

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Metaphor | 7 years ago
3 likes

In what kind of warped society are people afraid of confronting bad acts because they are afraid of getting in trouble?!!? This needs to change. People must not hesitate to do good.

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Cupotea replied to Metaphor | 7 years ago
0 likes

Ramuz wrote:

In what kind of warped society are people afraid of confronting bad acts because they are afraid of getting in trouble?!!? This needs to change. People must not hesitate to do good.

Someone willing to be filmed blatantly stealing a bike is quite likely willing to smash your face in with a pair of bolt croppers. What would you have done differently?  Punched him?  The guy filming did a lot more than most and handled what must have been a very stressful situation better than I think I would have.   

 

I suspect the really depressing part of this story will be the inevitable lack of action by the police even with overwhelming evidence.
 

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Valbrona replied to Metaphor | 7 years ago
2 likes

Ramuz wrote:

In what kind of warped society are people afraid of confronting bad acts because they are afraid of getting in trouble?!!? This needs to change. People must not hesitate to do good.

Maybe when you are a bit older and have more life experiences you will see more clearly how this 'society' of ours works. It tends not to work in favour of the public spirited. Scumbags have quite a lot of experience of playing the system, and most usually know how to make it work in their favour.

This was only a bike and not someone being harmed. And the person doing the crime probably wass most probably driven by a biological urge, like an addiction to Class A drugs.

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beezus fufoon replied to Valbrona | 7 years ago
5 likes

Valbrona wrote:

Maybe when you are a bit older and have more life experiences you will see more clearly how this 'society' of ours works. It tends not to work in favour of the public spirited. Scumbags have quite a lot of experience of playing the system, and most usually know how to make it work in their favour.

not sure what the tories have to do with this story

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Mungecrundle | 7 years ago
10 likes

Many years ago I witnessed a couple of scrotes smashing a van window and stealing a radio. Being younger and stupider I gave chase, cornering one in the ticket office of the local bus station. I actually had to get quite aggressive with the ticket staff who initially refused to phone the Police. However after 15 minutes or so the Police did arrive and arrested the scrote.

Having walked back to the scene of the crime with an officer, we met the van driver who was understandably upset about the damage to her van but thanked me for taking some action. I was asked to attend the Police station to give a statement.

Unfortunately the thief I cornered did not have the radio in his possession and was released. I'm pretty sure I spent more time with the Police than he did.

A friend of mine collared a lad vandalising cars. He ended up being threatened with prosecution for assault of a minor.

Would I get involved if I saw this bike theft in progress? Not physically, too much risk of personal injury or the risk of persecution by the authorities if the thief got hurt by my actions. I think this bystander did far more than most. Given the choice of using the phone to call the Police or using it to gather evidence, I think he made the correct decision. In real life the hero doesn't always come out on top.

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OldRidgeback replied to Mungecrundle | 7 years ago
8 likes

Mungecrundle wrote:

Many years ago I witnessed a couple of scrotes smashing a van window and stealing a radio. Being younger and stupider I gave chase, cornering one in the ticket office of the local bus station. I actually had to get quite aggressive with the ticket staff who initially refused to phone the Police. However after 15 minutes or so the Police did arrive and arrested the scrote. Having walked back to the scene of the crime with an officer, we met the van driver who was understandably upset about the damage to her van but thanked me for taking some action. I was asked to attend the Police station to give a statement. Unfortunately the thief I cornered did not have the radio in his possession and was released. I'm pretty sure I spent more time with the Police than he did. A friend of mine collared a lad vandalising cars. He ended up being threatened with prosecution for assault of a minor. Would I get involved if I saw this bike theft in progress? Not physically, too much risk of personal injury or the risk of persecution by the authorities if the thief got hurt by my actions. I think this bystander did far more than most. Given the choice of using the phone to call the Police or using it to gather evidence, I think he made the correct decision. In real life the hero doesn't always come out on top.

 

I think this is about the best comment on this thread. I do wonder how many keyboard warriors would actually confront a thief. Who would want to risk an assault charge? And if the thief is armed with a set of bolt croppers...?

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Valbrona | 7 years ago
6 likes

It's a dangerous world out there ...

Scumbag No.1 uses the boltcutters.
Scumbag No.2 waits in the background, acting as look-out and ready to intervene in defence of Scumbag No.1.

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DaveE128 | 7 years ago
1 like

What rubbish camera work!  2

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Metaphor | 7 years ago
2 likes

The traditional British answer to crime or incivilities: film it!

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drosco | 7 years ago
4 likes

I was faced with this very situation. 2 blokes with bolt cutters at a station. I confronted them, at which point I was threatened, however it drew attention to them and slowed them down before the police came. Not sure it helped a lot, but felt an awful lot better about at least trying to stop it then pretending it wasn't happening. If it was my bike and nobody did anything, I'd be gutted.

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Barraob1 | 7 years ago
1 like

Having had a bike stolen, that coont would have had a kick to the jaw and hands broken with his cable cutters.

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Barraob1 | 7 years ago
1 like

The biggest scumbag is the camera person. I've intervened in a few attempted bike thefts, people robbing bikes don't like attention. Be loud, vocal and call the police. The wanker filming this doesn't get a face shot, doesn't call the police.

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Rich_cb replied to Barraob1 | 7 years ago
19 likes
Barraob1 wrote:

The biggest scumbag is the camera person. I've intervened in a few attempted bike thefts, people robbing bikes don't like attention. Be loud, vocal and call the police. The wanker filming this doesn't get a face shot, doesn't call the police.

The guy filming it intervenes more than anybody else in the vicinity.

Even if you disregard that the "biggest scumbag" is surely still the actual thief?

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Bikeylikey replied to Barraob1 | 6 years ago
1 like

Barraob1 wrote:

The biggest scumbag is the camera person. I've intervened in a few attempted bike thefts, people robbing bikes don't like attention. Be loud, vocal and call the police. The wanker filming this doesn't get a face shot, doesn't call the police.

This is far too harsh, and it's wrong. The person filming did intervene by filming him and questioning him, which is far more than anyone else passing by did. He didn't know for absolutely certain it wasn't the cutter's bike, he didn't know his rights or what might happen if he had been  forceful. You can't just jump in and commit an assault because of what you think might be the explanation. You'd be in trouble with the law, you might be put in hospital.

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FrogBucket | 7 years ago
4 likes

I understand why people passing by may not get involved. They are seeing someone record someone taking bolt cutters to a bike - they may think it is there bike based on that.

 

However, the person taking the vide should have either called the police or asked a bypasser to do so. Just standing and recoridng, in my view, makes him an accomplice to theft. 

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Kendo replied to FrogBucket | 7 years ago
3 likes

FrogBucket wrote:

I understand why people passing by may not get involved. They are seeing someone record someone taking bolt cutters to a bike - they may think it is there bike based on that.

 

However, the person taking the vide should have either called the police or asked a bypasser to do so. Just standing and recoridng, in my view, makes him an accomplice to theft. 

 

I wasn't there, so I don't know for sure, but it sounds like the camera chap asks someone else off camera, a bit distractedly, to "go into there, just go in there" which could've been a request to someone to go into one of the shops to get help/ call the police.

 

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