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Architect Fends Off a Gang of Thieves Who Tried to Steal His Bicycle Armed With Power Tools 

Man bravely defends his $3,100 bike.

A prominent London architect fought off a group of thieves on scooters who attempted to steal his bicycle while armed with power tools, and it was all caught on video. Footage shows Ben Derbyshire, the former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), tussling with the robbers as they cornered him outside an East London café and tried to take his $3,100 Brompton bike.

Heist Foiled By a Steady Hand


The video shows four people on mopeds, wearing blacked-out helmets, surround Derbyshire outside the establishment and try to grab his bike. But the 70-year-old refuses to let go, gripping his phone with one hand and his bike with the other.

A woman passes in front of the person filming, taking a video of the altercation herself. Two men then rush to Derbyshire's aid. The gang then abandons the heist and drives off. 

Victim Tweets His Own Attempted Robbery


Derbyshire tweeted about the encounter: "I find myself in an altercation with angle-grinder wielding rustlers after my #Brompton. Fended off with the help of son & daughter and the proprietor of El Ganzo! Lesson 1: In extremis make lots of noise & take loads of pictures. Lesson 2: Swap Brompton for my tatty old Giant?"

A commenter responded: "That's terrible, I hope the Police find them and prosecute them to the fullest? Did the Police get involved?" 

"Yes, came right away," Derbyshire replied.

Victim Expresses Fear, Depression


"I thought I was in danger," Derbyshire told the Evening Standard. "Especially at one point I was rather pinned into position with a lot of bikes in front of me and people behind me and I wasn't in a position to run away if I wanted to. I think what happened was, from their point of view, it all got a bit too complicated, so they chickened out."  

He said the encounter had left him shaken up and depressed. "I just think that's depressing and that they should be so aggressive about it," he said. "I mean, trying to intimidate me by pushing an angle grinder into my face. That is not on."

Suspects Apparently In Custody


The Hackney Police tweeted that they had arrested two juveniles and an adult for the attempted robbery of a Brompton bicycle—apparently Derbyshire's—and the theft of two motorbikes on the same day.

In an update, they said a 16-year-old boy had been charged with attempted robbery, robbery, and driving while disqualified, and two other people had been released on bail.

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Commenters Frustrated

person holding a phone using social media

Online commenters expressed frustration with the rate of bicycle thefts and scooter-assisted robberies, which have been increasing in recent years. "The police are only reactive to crime. They should be proactive by stop and search on the roads," one commenter on the Telegraph's site suggested.  

"Very brave of the guy to physically intervene, not sure I could. However, the moped guys probably thought they were safe behind their visors and full face helmets," another said.  "You'd think that in a city where cycling is being heavily pushed, the mayor and the authorities would be strongly down on bike theft. Yet it's been a black-market industry for decades," wrote another.

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