I'd like to throw something out to the group for your opinions.
Do any of you have a specific policy about what to do when a known bike
thief comes in the shop? Do you turn him/her away?
Last year, we had an incident with a youth EAB'er, who was caught taking
bikes. He's since been implicated but not charged or confirmed as being
involved in another bike theft, altho that one is not related to our shop,
other than we're friends with the victim, and used some of our resources
with a local low-income neighborhood to track down the location of this
latest theft, leading to the recovery of said stolen bikes.
Since this last incident, the individual was spotted in our shop by a staff
member who was around during last year's debacle. Someone swiftly took him
aside, and told him that he needs to leave, that he's not welcome in our
I'm not sure how i personally feel about this. I mean, bike thieves are
pretty low, and as such I don't want to encourage them...teaching them
wrenching skills that they will potentially use on stolen bikes makes my
Being the community shop that we are, i'm wondering if we can't use our
position to turn some of these kids around. By bringing him in and welcoming
him, do we not stand a chance of befriending him and breaking down the
barrier between us, so that he comes to value our bikes (shop's and staff's,
and by extension, the general public) by being exposed to what bikes mean to
the people in our shop. in theory, come to see the shop as a resource for
knowledge, skills, and cheap parts that takes some investment on his part,
instead of just a pool of resources for him to pilfer on a whim.
I'm interested in the groups thoughts, policies, experiences.
I also know that bike theft is something that hits close to home for a lot
(or all) of us on this list, and would ask that we keep this discussion on
the topic of "to welcome or not in the shop", and not get too distracted
with how painfully bike thieves should be tortured.