Out of Sight for Two Minutes, a $2,000 Ride Disappears

UntitledDaniel Maurer The flyer for the stolen cycle.

Remember the guy who recovered his stolen bike after posting flyers around the neighborhood? Rich Minkoff is hoping he’ll be so lucky. The Greenpoint resident’s custom-built bike, estimated to be worth $2,000, disappeared from Avenue A last week, and now he has papered the area in an effort to get it back.

Mr. Minkoff said that around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, he met his girlfriend, who lives in Stuyvesant Town, at Table 12, the coffee shop at Avenue A and 12th Street. He rested his bike against a table outside of the café and walked in to fetch his girlfriend. Within two minutes, it was gone.

“It was dumb – I shouldn’t have turned my back to it,” he said, “but someone must’ve been ballsy to jump in within that two-minute window or less.”

Mr. Minkoff said that after buying the Specialized bike last year, he made modifications to it that brought its value to around $2,000 – a sum that he hopes to recover via renter’s insurance, minus his $250 deductible. (He’s been able to do the same with two other bikes that have been stolen from him in the past few years, including one that was worth $1,800.) But the bike, which he used for commuting to his west-side job at an advertising start-up, also had sentimental value. “It was something that was really personal to me because I built it from scratch,” he said.

That didn’t prevent police officers from the Ninth Precinct from rubbing salt in the wound, Mr. Minkoff said. Officers who took his complaint, including a detective, said they would secure surveillance camera footage from Table 12, but also scolded him for leaving his wheels unattended. “The whole time they’re saying things to me like, ‘I can’t believe you didn’t lock it up – why are you riding a $2,000 bike?’ It was ridiculous,” he said. “Why are you guys telling me I shouldn’t be spending so much money on a bike?”

In the February issue of Outside magazine, Patrick Symmes, a victim of numerous bike thefts wrote, “N.Y.P.D. officers openly discouraged me from filing reports on the stolen bicycles mentioned in this article, probably because their precincts are judged by crime stats.” Mr. Symmes tried to recover several stolen bikes himself, sometimes using GPS trackers. He was unsuccessful, but if you’ve ever been through what he, Mr. Minkoff, and most every other bike owner in New York City has been through, the piece is worth a read.