Man on Divvy bike steals woman's purse in South Loop

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 35-year-old woman walking with three friends in Chicago's South Loop was robbed by a man riding a Divvy bike early Friday.

She was walking south in the 700-block of South State Street around 12:30 a.m. when police said the Divvy bike rider took hold of her purse.

They both struggled for the bag and the suspect crashed the bike into one of the victim's friends, police said. Then the suspect started running, purse in hand. The victim tried to run after him, but he got away.

No one was hurt.
Investigators said the robber may have had help. The group of women told police they were approached by a man who tried to help them, but they later saw that man with the robbery suspect.

Police said it was unclear whether the Divvy bike used in the incident was rented or stolen.

Area Central detectives are investigating. No one is in custody.

Friday's incident comes just a month after a gunman on a Divvy bike shot a teenager at the intersection of Wacker Drive and Wabash Street.

Also in June, police said thieves used Divvy bikes to steal cars in River West and West Town.

Divvy rider Scott Edmunds said it's unfortunate that these incidents are dragging the company into the spotlight.

"I guess it's somewhat expected," he said. "You'd hope to a large extent that people would have the moral compass not to do that, but unfortunately I think that's just the way of life."

Divvy user Keith Paris told ABC7 Eyewitness News that he'd seen people rattling the bikes and tampering with the docks to make the bikes easier to steal.

"They were doing a water bottle trick where you think you check your bike in but the water bottle blocks you from locking in," Paris said.

Now Divvy is in the process of fighting back.

"In response to a recent series of thefts of bikes from stations, we're also retrofitting all of our docks with stronger, more tamper-proof lock mechanisms," a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.

Ira David Levy, president of biking nonprofit Pedal 4 Life, said he's been monitoring news of Divvy-related robberies closely. He's pleased with Divvy's response but said curbing these crimes in Chicago needs to be a city-wide effort.

"Securing the locking mechanism making them stronger is a real positive step, but they can't necessarily keep everybody safe when we're out there using the system on our own so I think that's where we all have to be responsible for ourselves," he said.
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