Bike theft is nothing new in Los Angeles.
A sound beating and bike theft at the point of a gun is.
This morning I received the following email from Jane Voodikon, who wrote to warn LA bicyclists about the robbers who stole a bicycle from her friend Ulises Melgar Saturday night.
Today I’m writing to report to you an incident that happened to one of my biking friends this past weekend, hoping that you can help spread the word to the bicycling community. He was riding home Saturday night at around 11:30 p.m. coming out of the Little Tokyo area across the First Street Bridge eastbound toward Mariachi Plaza when a green four-door Chevrolet pickup cut him off and the passenger in the front seat pointed a gun at him and then tried to hit him with the gun. At this point he got off his bike, and then one of the men in the truck (there were five men total, wearing hats and sweatshirts around their faces) punched him, enabling the hijackers to take his bike, throw it in the truck bed, and drive off.
It seemed they had planned this out because they had covered up the license plate with a trash bag. Unfortunately there was nobody else around to witness the crime, and at that location there would be no surveillance cameras. Understandably my friend didn’t react by taking a photo of the truck so there are really not many other identifying details. He reported it to the police, and they said they searched the area for a truck matching the description but found nothing.
He said the truck bed was empty save for a construction toolbox.
His bike is a 2012 silver Cinelli Mash frame, 52cm, with two noticeable dents on each side of the top tube. Fizik saddle, riser bars, platform pedals with Wellgo straps. Photos are attached.
This is especially tough (apart from it being a terrifying and traumatic incident) because he has been getting back on his feet after being laid off last year. Since January he has been delivering food by bike for Simply Salad, UberEats, and Caviar. A friend has lent him a bike temporarily so he can continue to work but his bike is not only his property but also his transportation and most importantly his lifeline to income.
We’re hoping you can help at least alert the cycling public to the fact that there are people driving around hijacking bikes at gunpoint, and that is downright scary.
She also reports that a friend saw someone riding the bicycle the night after the bike theft around Olympic and Normandie. You can contact Melgar directly through Facebook if you see the bike or have any information about the theft.
Meanwhile, a crowdfunding campaign has been started in an effort to raise $800 to get him a new bike and gear so he can get rolling again and get back to work, but hadn’t received any donations as of this writing.
As causes go, you could do a lot worse. Maybe we can help him get that first donation.
Or maybe even put him over the top.
Update: Good news! Ulises Melgar’s bike was recovered after being spotted in Hollenbeck Park; all he ended up losing were the lights and a Garmin.
As a result, donations have been disabled on the GoFundMe page, and any who gave will be contacted about their donations.
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