Riders in Berkeley, California are deeply concerned after a string of armed bike thefts on a popular cycling route.
The latest robbery took place on April 10 when a Transition Spur was taken from a rider on Grizzly Peak Boulevard. This is the fourth confirmed robbery but apparently there have been other attempted thefts on the same road.
The perpetrators are using their vehicles to drive lone cyclists off the road and then are approaching them with guns or knives to take their bikes. If the robberies are connected, the thieves seem to be using different vehicles in different attacks. In the first attack, The Berkleyside reports
that, a cyclist was "run off the road … by two men in a grey VW or Toyota sedan", however, following the April 10 attack, UCPD are looking for a black or green Volkswagen or Volvo with California license plate number 5DJK736.
A cyclist has described what she suspects was an attempted robbery to The Berkleyside
. She said "I was riding up Grizzly Peak toward Tilden, about a quarter-mile uphill from Fish Ranch, when suddenly a small black car tried to run me off the road by veering right and stopping abruptly right in front of me,” she told Berkeleyside. “A black SUV was right behind it, effectively boxing me in (no escape route as there was no shoulder in that spot). Fortunately, both cars took off quickly (leaving me unharmed), and I am not sure if it was because other cyclists were coming up the hill in the distance.”
As shown in the above report from CBS
, local riders are increasingly concerned by the attacks. Lone riding has become more common during the pandemic and the slow speed of cyclists riding uphill makes them more vulnerable to attacks. Cyclists are urged to carry personal belongings in pockets rather than in frame bags and ride a less expensive bike if they have one. Police advise cyclists not to ride alone and instead ride with a large group or at least with one other person.
Several law enforcement agencies are responding to and investigating crimes in the area. We will update this story with more news as it comes in.