Scooter thief caught on camera as cops warn about a growing pattern of similar crimes

The thief rides away with Nate Vaysenberg’s scooter. | Nate Vaysenberg

CHICAGO — Video cameras near the Mag Mile recorded a scooter thief in action this week, just days after Chicago police warned about a rash of similar crimes downtown and in Lincoln Park.

The scooter’s owner, Nate Vaysenberg, said it happened around 10:45 a.m. Thursday at Michigan and Grand.

In the footage, a man rides up next to Nate’s scooter on a Divvy bike, then scopes out the area while munching on some chips as people stroll by on a sunny morning.

After a while, he rides away on the bike, only to return and get to work on the Genuine Hooligan Scooter. For more than four minutes, the thief tools on the scooter’s parts, lifting it here and there before finally mounting it and riding away. Watch:

“The guy was absolutely a professional,” Nate said Saturday. “I almost bought an air tag a few weeks and hesitated.”

He was in for a surprise when he called a detective to report that he found video of the theft: “The detectives rattled off the [thief’s] description before I could finish my sentence.”

“I realize there are a lot bigger issues going on in the city and for the cops,” he continued, describing his scooter as matte gray with some black paint and a chip or dent on the front panel, and some scratches on the side.

Last weekend, Chicago police issued a warning after six scooters were stolen from the streets between April 10 and 14. Cases were reported in the: 

  • 2200 block of North Lincoln Park West, Monday, April 10, in the morning
  • first block of West Chestnut, Monday, April 10, in the morning
  • 1100 block of West Dickens, Wednesday, April 12, in the evening
  • 600 block of North Franklin, Wednesday, April 12, in the evening
  • 100 block of West Eugenie, Thursday, April 13, in the evening
  • 1900 block of North Lincoln, Friday, April 14, in the evening

Scooter thefts are not a new problem. Last May, 30-time convicted felon Randall Brown was sentenced to eight years in connection with the thefts of ten scooters downtown and in Lincoln Park. Officials said Brown resold stolen scooters for a fraction of their value on the West Side.

Randall Brown | IDOC

Brown reported to prison last May and was released on March 22, less than three years after he was arrested in the scooter thefts, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records. IDOC’s website says Brown is in “absconder” status, meaning nobody knows where he is.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com