Honeybike: Bicycle Thief Honeypot

[liseman] decided to build a honeypot for bicycle thieves. He mounted a pay as you go cell phone and a gutted stun gun inside a water bottle. When the phone is dialed, the stun gun is activated thanks to a tap on the vibration motor inside the phone. He also installed some tracking software on the phone so the bike can be traced when stolen.
Location of the stun gun probes depends on certain assumptions: will the thief ride off on the bike, or simply toss it in the back of a truck. (Check your local laws if you’re contemplating doing this yourself.)

18 thoughts on “Honeybike: Bicycle Thief Honeypot

  1. oh, now that’s evil. no matter how expensive the bike was — it’s clearly disproportional to shock the thief while they’re possibly riding the bike. I imagine it’s quite easy to be run over by a car when you suddenly jump out of the saddle, being tasered. nobody expects that…

    I’d rather install a pulsed low-energy shock device, like they use for cattle, so a thief couldn’t touch the bike long enough to take it away. It could be deactivated by an RFID-tag worn in the owners shoe…

  2. So the hacker:
    has to know when the thief has a physical hold on the bicycle, probably by seeing it
    has to dial the phone number
    hopes it all rings through and works, while the thief still has hold of the bicycle

    Yeah that’s stupid.

  3. Boobie traps are usually illegal pretty much anywhere. Though if I were to build one of these, I’d have the cell activate the stun gun, but have the actual switch that fires it under the seat. That way, you know it’s going to get him/her. A better more legal thing would be install one of those 190Db “personal alarms” instead of the stun gun.

  4. A camera/tracking device might hold up in court. If you just zap the guy as he’s speeding away you’re going to be liable for any injuries he sustains, like that mugger who collected 30k from a ‘good Samaritan’ witness who pinned him against a wall with her cab and ended up tearing all the meat off his leg. If you’re rich enough for it, you might even have to pay the guy a million or so in punitive damages for being so reckless, callous and willful.

  5. If you’re going to make this just to see people in pain, then I think perhaps it’s (slightly) morally wrong (e.g. Purposely leaving your bike vulnerable just to watch someone try and take it)– but if the person is required to actually do more than just grab a bike, then this would be worth it (if it isn’t illegal)…
    Would it be possible to create something akin to a car alarm, and just have it draw attention? I think it embarrassment would be equally painful and there is less chance of breaking the law yourself… The only problem I could see is possible false alarms, but you could use a combination of sensors which need to be tripped as well (pressure sensor under the seat, contact with the bike longer than a specified amount of time, etc…)

  6. this gives me ideas. just this morning the cops woke me up, and told me my moped had been stolen. the found it a couple blocks away with the lock smashed, ignition wires ripped out like the tried to hotwire it. i’m so mad. theifs deserve the wrath of any electronic device i can rig on the thing. self destruct mechanism maybe… ‘evil laugh’ ;)

  7. This reminds me of the 1999 ig Nobel prize winners for peace. Guy and gal living in Africa, they designed an marketed a car alarm consisting of a detection circuit wired to twin flamethrowers. Most had an optional footswitch to prevent carjackings. A few hundred have been sold, and there’s supposed to be a really brutal up-the-sleeve flamethrower in the works as well.

    Keep in mind that the only reason he was able to do this is because lethal force is legal in Africa in self-defense, an also because flamethrower ownership is unrestricted.

  8. Would it be illegal if the device wasn’t “supposed” to shock the thief?

    “Sorry officer, it was for an experiment on ion generation…it wasn’t quite finished, that’s why mongol got shocked”

    It would then be akin to someone trying to steal copper wire out of a live electrical box. Too bad, Darwin will see you now.

  9. It’s not a boobytrap because it doesn’t have an automatic trigger. It is just activated remotely. Not illegal, but then, judges are fickle creatures and you might still wind up liable for awarded damages in a civil suit against you.

    I’d suggest also putting a warning label on it which should cover your bases nicely.

    And you probably should only use it if you have just seen the guy take it. For all you know he trashed it somewhere and the guy you’re shocking is an innocent.

    But all in all it seems pretty handy in as much as you can (a) get in your car and track down your bike (b) prevent the guy who took it from using it as a getaway/taking it with him once you find it.

  10. If yu’ve ever had your bike stolen…YOUR bike, not just A bike. All the custom work and all the pain you’ve suffered for speed…then you’d want to use a HAMMER on the cretin who dared to touch it.

  11. This make me think it could be useful to have such a device for a car, except that you could simply lock up the door, stop the car and then inject a non-lethal gaz that could cause the thief to fall asleep. (Or if you’re really evil, just inject carbon monoxide :P)

  12. Putting a sachet of superglue & methyl blue under a mesh seat. Would certainly ruin their trousers/day/sex life and make it pretty difficult to wash or explain away. Come to think of it, a set of dye loaded short needles in the configuration ‘ T H I E F’. That’d be hilarious – ‘Thief’ tattooed across their arse . I’m not bitter – I just had my bike stolen by some low life.

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