Evidently, “protect and serve” doesn’t necessarily mean inform.
As in giving us the information we need to protect ourselves — like the fact that there’s a potentially homicidal thief targeting cyclists.
Just when you think the LAPD’s relationship with the cycling community has finally turned the corner, comes word that two cyclists have been shot by a bike thief in Koreatown.
Almost a month ago.
At a time when many cyclists have had enough and have begun fighting back against bike thieves, the Los Angeles Police Department has known for nearly four weeks that at least one thief was willing to kill in order to get away with his prize.
The incident occurred at about 3 am on April 4th when two cyclists stopped at a catering truck at the intersection of Pico Blvd and Westmoreland Avenue, and left their bikes unlocked and unguarded while they bought food. Two thieves walked up and grabbed the bikes while they were distracted; the police have surveillance video showing one of the thieves snatching the bike.
When the cyclists tried to stop them, one thief pulled out a handgun and shot the first victim twice, then fired at the second rider as they rode off on the victims’ bikes, hitting him in the shoulder.
The L.A. Times writes that the first rider suffered life-threatening injuries that kept him hospitalized until last week.
“They nearly killed him,” said LAPD Det. Dennis Bopp, who is investigating the shootings. “It was a crime of opportunity that turned to violence.”
According to the LAPD blog —
Both suspects are described as Hispanic between 17 to 19 years of age. The first suspect stood between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black shirt and blue jeans.
The second suspect stood between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue or black baseball cap, blue sweater with white long-sleeves with the letters ‘LA’ on the chest and blue jeans.
Video footage of one of the suspects was captured on tape and is available at www.lapdtv.org.
Anyone with information regarding this crime is urged to call Olympic gang detectives at 213-382-9430.
So let’s be careful out there. No matter how much you love it, a bike can be replaced.
Your life can’t.
And let’s hope that next time, the LAPD tells us when there’s something we need to know.
In better news, police arrested three bike thieves at Sunset Blvd and Figueroa Street in Downtown L.A. when they attempted to steal two bikes while detectives were setting up a bicycle-theft sting operation. And in a final ironic touch, one of the bikes the thieves rode up on had been stolen from an L.A. County sheriff’s deputy in 2004.
In weekend ride news, Flying Pigeon rolls to the Eagle Rock Brewery on Saturday, while Will Campbell kicks of the first ride in his Bike Every (Satur)Day in May with the 10 Bridges Ride. Saturday, May 1st also marks the beginning of Bike Month in Glendale, L.A.’s increasingly bike friendly neighbor to the north; city officials visit Berkeley for inspiration. And Sunday is your chance to celebrate the one year anniversary of Bike Day LA.
Meanwhile, Green LA Girl offers to help with the fund-raising for this year’s Brita Climate Ride for one woman who’s already registered.
Here’s your opportunity to Ride Like the Dutch at the upcoming Long Beach Bicycle Festival in the self-described most bicycle friendly city in America, May 7 – 9; I’d be happy if Los Angeles just aspired to be the most bike friendly city in the county, though that would require asking Long Beach to move to Orange County first.
And the next Streetsblog LA fundraiser rides June 18th starting at Flying Pigeon in Highland Park and following the former Red Car route.
L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa says L.A. needs to walk and bike more. LADOT celebrates the council’s unanimous vote in favor of the city’s first bike corral. Semi-bike-friendly Santa Monica has big plans for more bike parking. A cyclist rides the Long Beach Bikeway Route 60 at the same time his biking brother gets hit by a car in San Diego, while a San Diego triathlete says cyclists need to embrace their vulnerability and stop blocking the lane. A non-standard — but clearly better — Share the Road sign appears in Tucson. Bike-friendly Salt Lake City gets a promotion. The bike lane that spurred the infamous Tony Kornheiser rant hits the street. New York authorities seek the identity of a cyclist killed in a collision with a car; a reminder to always carry ID when you ride. Starkville MS cyclists ride to protest a mandatory helmet law. Cannondale comes up with a very cool limited edition graffiti-style bike to benefit the Bahati Foundation. Ottawa needs to close car lanes to encourage cycling; well, who doesn’t? Eight Brit cyclists are fined for riding their bikes on a bike path. English footballer Frank Lampard — that’s soccer on this side of the pond — backs his Range Rover over a 14-year old’s bike, then hands over twice the bike’s value, in cash.
Finally, Traffic-meister Tom Vanderbilt says a drivers license is 2 easy to get, 2 hard to lose. I couldn’t agree more.