The crime of carjacking is not unfamiliar, but bicycle jacking? Theft of bicycles in the San Francisco Panhandle has become quite a problem for law enforcement officials to deal with. Reports claim that there has always been a market for stolen bicycles and, thus, this has always been an issue in the area. However, these thefts were traditionally non-violent. Now, it seems that bike thieves are becoming a lot more dangerous. In recent weeks, 3 or more cyclists have been forcibly knocked off of their bikes, one of them at knifepoint, another by a thief sticking a foreign object in the wheel spokes. Also, these cyclists claim that their wallets, phones, and money are being taken as well.
Depending on the particular set of circumstances and what types of weapons and threats these bicycle thieves are using, they could end up facing a good bit of jail time and hefty fines for their actions. California law takes this kind of thing very seriously; it falls under the crime of robbery as opposed to theft (CA Penal Code 211). Under the definition of robbery, property must be taken from another person in their ‘immediate presence’ and through the use of ‘force or fear.’ Violations of this law are always treated as felonies. A first degree robbery conviction will likely end in up to 9 years in state prison, whereas second degree robbery will result in up to 5 years in state prison. If identified and caught, the persons responsible for any bicycle jackings in the Panhandle will be subject to charges of second degree robbery.