A shocking video of a car backing into pedestrians and a row of parked bicycles near Chengdu's Computer City on the First Ring Road has circulated in national news recently.
The scene was caught by Computer City surveillance cameras. In the video, a black car backs up recklessly on the sidewalk as people standing in its path scramble to get out of its way. Some are knocked down and run over, and the car finally comes to a stop after running into a long row of parked electric bikes.
This, it turns out, was not the act of a madman but the poorly executed escape attempt by a ring of teenaged bike thieves.
On the afternoon of March 24, the thieves attempted to steal some electric bicycles, but they were spotted by the bike attendant, who caught one and pinned him to the ground. In the news clip, she tells an interviewer that he then took out a long knife and threatened to kill her with it.
The attendant called for help and passersby came to the rescue. Instead of surrendering, the suspected thieves jumped into a car and, because the road in front was jammed with traffic, the driver put it in reverse, colliding with everything in its path.
According to a recently publicized investigation by the Wuhou police department, the people inside the vehicle are a gang of young e-bike thieves; the eldest among them is 16 and the youngest 13.
The teenagers collaborated with adult relatives operating out of a Shuangliu car rental company to commit their crimes, according to this article, which also added that the suspects are all repeat offenders, and officials estimate that the incident caused RMB100,000 in damages, which the minors' parents will be responsible for.
Five suspects have been arrested in the case.
In a similar case last month in Tongzilin Nanlu a gang of scooter thieves attacked and injured a bike owner with a knife before escaping in a car. No word on whether these two incidents were related.