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BLOG: An open letter to the bicycle thieves of Singapore

Zafar Anjum | May 26, 2011
A cautionary tale that involves bicycles and Twitter.

She quickly tweeted news of her missing cycle and included a mobile phone photo a neighbour took of the thief as the crime was happening.

Ellis is a social media manager and has more than 3000 followers.

Less than five hours after she sent out the tweet, one of her Twitter followers spotted the thief and informed police.

Officers arrested 41-year-old transient David Carroll Oldham on suspicion of theft.

Oldham could not be reached and did not have an attorney.

Read more:

Now, here is my story:

Crime is something that happens to other people. Like most people, I too was smug in my belief that I was crime-proof (You are smiling reading this, aren't you? You want all people to be smug like me, right?). I'll be honest to you. I believe I am a careful person and I take all precautionary steps that one ought to take. This applied to the handling of my bike too.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to an NTUC supermarket in Whampoa Drive. I parked my bike at an open bicycle bay where two more bikes were parked. I always used to park my bike there, which is adjacent to a carpark. I locked my bike with a chain and a Chinese padlock in the usual way. It was a Friday afternoon, so there were not many shoppers at that hour but still the place was not completely deserted. There are two ATMs nearby and while walking towards the supermarket I could see people using the ATMs.

After half an hour of shopping, when I came out of the store, my bike was gone. In the hot sun, I looked all round, combed the area and I found no trace of my bike. You made a quick getaway with the object of your desire; you were fast, man--I'll give you that.

Disappointed, I called me wife and told her about the theft. Then I proceeded to the police station. The police officer told me of your exploits-like how your gang members were committing thefts left, right and centre. The officer checked the area for surveillance cameras and unfortunately, there were none where I had parked the bike (You knew that, didn't you?). He nicely told me that registering a police report would not help much-the chances of getting my bike back were slim.

Finally, I took a bus and went home.

I wish I could have done something smarter like the woman in Colorado. But take it from me, now onwards, I'll make your job more difficult. And I'll urge other bikers like me in Singapore to do the same.


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