Bike Stolen on Eve of NYC’s Bikeshare Launch

Here's hoping it's not a harbinger of more problems ahead for the controversial initiative

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Before New York City’s inaugural bike-sharing program even had a chance to get under way, a thief had already made his getaway with stolen goods.

Late Sunday afternoon, a group of workers were loading bikes into a bike station near midtown Manhattan when the bandit struck. Citi Bike, the bike-sharing program that launches today, has faced a sharp divide between supporters who hail the move as too long in the making and critics who worry about increased accidents and congestion on already busy city streets.

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The New York Post reports that:

The pedal pilferer snatched the blue Citi Bike at around 6 p.m. in Kips Bay, and was able to ride off before workers noticed.

The crew had been busy placing a load of the $825 rental bicycles into a rack at Second Avenue and 25th Street, and had not yet locked them in place when the thief struck.

It wasn’t until a bystander shouted out that workers realized the thief had made off with the bike. They were not able to catch the culprit on foot.

It is not known whether the bike snatcher has been apprehended yet.

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There seems to be little worry, however, that the theft is a harbinger of future problems to come since the bike racks are outfitted with a mechanical titanium pinlock. “It’s pretty much bombproof,” Jon Orcutt, a senior policy adviser at NYC’s Department of Transportation, told New York magazine.

As of Memorial Day, approximately 6,000 bicycles became available at more than 300 stations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Riders can borrow bikes in a variety of passes available that include a daily, weekly or annual option.