Thief Caught Using Electric Grinder to Steal Very Pricey Bike; Is It Yours?

New Van Moof electric bicycles — called “the Tesla of bicycles” by The Verge — sell for more than $3,000.

A thief must have known how valuable they are, because the person was apparently using an electric grinder to steal it when it was parked on 83rd and Columbus Avenue Sunday morning. A police sergeant from the 20th precinct came upon the scene, and stopped the theft. But now police are looking for the owner so they can prosecute. The precinct’s main phone number is 212-580-6411.

Van Moof bikes hide the battery in the tubes that make up the bike’s frame. It’s ironic that the bike was nearly stolen, because one of their selling points is that they’re supposedly very difficult to steal.

“The bike is controlled through an app on your phone and has a stealth lock concealed in the rear hub, which you can kick to activate, or apply by selecting the padlock icon on the app. The bike makes a range of sounds to communicate with you, from powering up to a nasty growl if you try to move it when it’s locked. You can control power, check its charge and even the bike’s location all from your phone. It’s as close as a bike can get to being unstealable.”

NEWS | 18 comments | permalink
    1. Deputy Inspector Malin says:

      If you know who owns this bike, please call or come in and see us. Ask for Officer Groger, Sergeant Rivera, or even myself. Thank you!

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        I continue to be impressed by DI Malin’s day-in, day-out community outreach. Props to you, DI Malin! You deserve some positive feedback on this.

      • AN says:

        VanMoof will likely know who the owner is. Their shop in Brooklyn should be able to help.

    2. Scott says:

      Owner’s a fool for leaving the VM logo visible. I’d tape or paint over it.

      • Rb says:

        Ummm if you know what a Van Moof is then you know by looking at this bike that’s what it is. Not sure the logo gave it away. Like if I tape over the logo on a Ferrari. Right?

    3. Chase says:

      the bike contacted the police sergeant thru telepathy

      • Bill Williams says:

        No it contacted Howard Yaruss who then called Transportation alternatives who then called DOT who then told the NYPD what to do.

    4. Paul says:

      The police had a program years ago where they’d etch identifying numbers on a bike frame.
      Do they still do this?

      Also, take a couple of the return address labels the library and Red Cross types send you, add your phone number, and stick them in places on the frame that a thief won’t notice. Tape over them to keep them in place. Put one in plain sight so the thief thinks he got your id off the bike.

    5. Basement of the Alamo says:

      If the bicycle were registered, it would be easier to locate the owner, and prosecute the thief.

      • UWS_lifer says:

        Love the Pee Wee Herman reference!!:) Made me laugh. Haven’t seen that movie in decades so it took me a second.

    6. stu says:

      I am flabbergasted that anyone would lock up this bike (or any other expensive bike) in NYC and expect it to be safe and sound upon return. Kudos to the NYC Police.
      And “unstealable” because it growls and has a wheel lock mechanism? Marketing nonsense.

      • JL says:

        It does say STEAL THIS BIKE all over it. He’ll have to use 15 locks to secure it in NYC. $3k for a 45 pound bike that you can’t leave outside for long. No wonder you don’t see many of them here.

    7. I’m going to miss James O’Neill. I thought he was doing a great job for the city.
      Being commissioner of New York City and a army of 35,000 is a tough job and Commissioner O’Neill coming up from the ground did a hell of a job for the city of New York.
      It’s going to be very hard to replace such a professional like he was. He had his hand on the pulse of New York City from his first day on the job.
      My thanks to him and his team.

    8. UWS_lifer says:

      In 1983, a kid stole my bike over by the Great Lawn. Who do I talk to about that??:)

    9. Mark P says:

      From the photo I believe this is an older Van Moof, lacking the tracking and other anti-theft features of the new ones.

      I had a bike etched at the 20th a few years back, believe they still do it.

      Happy to see the police making an arrest here. A lot more people would bike if you could park them outside as safely as you can a car.

      I locked a bike outside 24/7 for 3 years on a block adjacent to the Museum. Only had a problem once, while parked on Columbus, someone tried to steal it and failed but bent the frame in the process. That said it was a beater Raleigh.

    10. Paul Grecu says:

      They should check at the sinagoge on 83rd close to CPW. I always saw there 3 Van Moof outside there . I am a big fan of this brand and was surprised to see so many together.