Many years ago, on return from a surf trip in Pembrokeshire, myself and a couple of friends challenged a lunatic trying to breaking into a car at a service station. After being challenged and an en exchange of ‘pleasantries’ , the perp drove off at speed, did a quick fire lap of the car park and tried to run us over. He failed. At this point the car owner returned, a homeward bound squaddie, on leave from his barracks in Germany. He was rather less than chuffed that someone had taken a crowbar to his car door. Some very impressive headlocking ensued (the squaddie seemed quite well practised at it) and a traffic passing cop with a cat-who’s-got-the-cream grin earned himself the easiest collar of the day. The would be thief was caught and subsequently prosecuted. More recently, I saw a gang of kids on BMX bikes riding around the Cardiff University car park in the civic centre, peering into cars and all set to smash a window and nick something. Being a nice chap, I helpfully joined them, asked if they had lost something and told them I’d be more than happy to help look for it. They declined the offer. Tsk. Some people eh? You can’t do enough for ’em.
So I think, given previous form, an overblown sense of civic responsibility, a slightly bolshy attitude and a tendency towards red-mist-itis where bike crime is involved, I think that I would confront a thief. That said, I might be a bit reticent to do the same thing in New York. I’m allergic to penicillin, tree pollen and guns.
The serious point here of course, is that you can’t expect others to stand in your behalf. Get two good locks (one ‘D’ lock, one cable type lock – making it trickier for the attacker to be tooled up properly), park your bike somewhere that will at least reduce the risk of attack and lock both wheels.