Amsterdam thieves stealing bikes by request

It used to be that anyone wanting to buy a stolen bike went to the centre of Amsterdam, for example the bridge at Oudemanhuispoort, and selected from what was available.

Now, bicycle thieves are going bespoke: they will steal a bike according to their client’s request, be it a certain model, a man’s or woman’s style, a particular colour, or with our without hand breaks.

Then clients can meet the dealers by appointment anywhere in the city and voila, a new bike exactly as requested.

Professional bike thieves

Newspaper Het Parool spoke to four bike thieves to order delivery of a stolen bike. Prices varied by dealer, but one experienced Amsterdam bike thief, named Mike (40), charges 20 euros per bike.

He has been stealing this way for three years, as the pressure from police watching the known spots had grown too great.

Bike theft in Amsterdam

Bicycle theft is a real social problem in Amsterdam. The number of thefts has greatly increased in recent years, from 5.880 in 2008 to 7.880 in 2012.

A recent poll by the newspaper of two thousand Amsterdammers revealed that over 80 per cent have had a bike stolen at least once, with 60 per cent having had a bike stolen multiple times.

Only 17 per cent reported never having had a bike stolen.

Police response to bike theft

Police are still catching up with this new trend, according to the newspaper. The most recent innovation in dealing with bicycle thieves has been the use of undercover GPS bikes to trap thieves.

With this method, the police simply follow the thief via GPS as they ride their stolen bicycle home.

As of August 2013, police had made more than 100 arrests through GPS bikes in Amsterdam West alone.

The number of arrests for bike theft in Amsterdam in recent years ranges between three and four hundred.

Source: Parool

Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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