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Cyclist spots thief with her stolen bike... outside police station — then assaulted during confrontation

"I went to make a report and saw the thief with my Bianchi... in front of the police station. He wouldn't let it go and shoved me": A reader's bike theft nightmare...

Having your bicycle stolen is bad enough, but imagine then spotting the thief with your bike just hours later — outside a police station of all places — and being assaulted when you confront them...

> This story has now been updated: read more here

That's the grim reality of one reader's bike theft nightmare which started in the early hours of Wednesday 31 August when the bicycle storage facility at her Harbourside apartment building, in Bristol, was broken into and anything unlocked — lights, pumps, wheels and other gear — was taken.

> Police failed to catch a bike thief in 87% of affected neighbourhoods in past three years

A neighbour's "deathtrap Trek" with seized wheels was left unlocked and the thief, or thieves, used one of the reader's Bianchi's wheels to get it rolling, opting against fitting the rear wheel too.

After the Harbourside security office refused to release the CCTV footage ("with the excuse of data protection") the reader found the bike, and her wheel, on Clare Street at 11am and returned it to the building.

Stolen Trek

However: "On Thursday morning at 10.30 am, I discovered that the thieves had returned with an angle grinder and stolen anything that looked flashy," she explained.

"Three of my bikes — Whyte Victoria 2012 with a dent on the top tube, Boardman Comp Fi 2014, Bianchi Via Nirone 7 2017 —) and MTBs and gravel bikes were taken.

"After surveying the damage, I made my way to the police station to make a report. At 11 am I saw the thief with my Bianchi... in front of the police station. I confronted the thief and assertively took my bike back as I assumed he'd be stunned by my confrontation and give up.

> Inside the mind of a bike thief — learn how to protect your bike

"He wouldn't let it go, yanked it and shoved me. A woman and her son passing by were witnesses. We flagged down a passing police officer and he took off on foot to look for the thief with just the description of my Bianchi. I later found another witness on the Bristol Cyclists page who was driving by. Unfortunately, no one could remember the appearance of the thief."

The thief was with two men who, the next day, the reader spotted one of in a larger group while walking through Broadmead. They had two more "presumably stolen bikes that I didn't recognise as they" were not from the Harbourside building.

"His mates brazenly waved at me to come closer to take a photo. I tried to look for police officers in the area but couldn't find any," she continued. 

"The city centre police station is shut for renovation so I walked all the way to Trinity Road police station. I wanted to make a separate report for assault as advised on Bristol Cyclists. They found my initial report categorised as burglary and re-categorised it as assault.

"At 4.30pm, I received a welfare phone call from the police control room. I said I was physically fine and they said officers will be in touch with me again. At 5pm I finally found police officers patrolling on College Green.

"They advised me that I can call 999 and police officers can confront the accomplices, and reassured me it wouldn't be a waste of time. Unfortunately, by 5.30pm the accomplice was no longer at Broadmead."

The reader, and other residents, have not been reunited with their stolen bikes and nobody has been caught for the double break-in.

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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