Wednesday, May 25, 2011

[Updated] 'Dateline NBC' elicits epic meltdown at Bikes By George

Thanks to a reader for passing along this link to Sunday's "Dateline NBC, in which Chris Hansen blows the lid off the stolen-bicycle industry or something after selling an alleged hot bike for $25 at Bikes By George on East Fourth Street.

Per the "Dateline" promo, "it's the most explosive confrontation of Hansen's career." Ugh. Basically, Hansen confronts Dominic Philbert, George's son, about having bought a stolen bike. And the cameras keep rolling as Dominic becomes increasingly agitated and menacing, uttering the memorable "God does not like ugly, man" several times. It's local gotcha TV news at it's worst. (And this is supposed to be the network's signature broadcast for NBC News?)

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Updated: Bob Arihood spoke with Dominic today. Per Neither More Nor Less:

"Dominic , contrary to what he says on the tape , told us that he did give a man , a paid actor, $25 for the the bicycle . He claims accurately that the tape shows nothing of this transaction . Dominic told us that the actor told him that he had lost his job and that he needed money to feed his kids . Dominic claims that he purchased the bicycle to help the guy who seemed to have some serious financial difficulties."

Read the whole post here.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

As someone who has had more than one bike stolen in the East Village, I can't stand these local bikes shops that buy stolen bikes. This guy is a big, fat liar. I am glad he was exposed. What a freakin' bully.

Anonymous said...

I wish dateline would go to Wall Street and harass some bank executives like this.

Daho said...

George is always an amazing and helpful guy whenever my bike has needed a tune up. He rarely even wants to charge me.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

George is great. His son, the guy we see in this video, isn't so great. I know he's your kid, George, but fire his fat ass!

Anonymous said...

And why did this guy have to lie? Why not just say, yeah, I bought the bike from this kid because I didn't think it was stolen. He digs a deeper hole by lying and then getting all threatening. Be honest. If you buy bikes from people, so be it. He could say he has no way of knowing if it is stolen.

Dan LD said...

George fixes my bike all the time. Chris Hansen is a jerk off.

Roger_Paw said...

Fascinating to read both viewpoints!

Personally, I think Hanson should just focus on catching child predators and leave beat reports to local reporters.

HEY19 said...

Chris Hanson is a scumbag, but so are these shops that make a market for stolen bikes.

Anonymous said...

WA WA WA George is a local so let's give him a pass...but not other new places...

If any of you saw it, the guy who sold him the stolen bike harassed him for what was about 10 minutes just begging for him to buy it. It was underhanded but he still bought it. I don't commit crimes to get by because I have a sense of pride and honor.

But if that goes away, I'll be waiting for you white people on 13th street in the dark by the mystery lot between cars.

Marty Wombacher said...

The bike wasn't stolen because NBC owned it. They come off as the bigger bullies in this thing. One word: "Entrapment."

Anonymous said...

I kind of love a big show like Dateline even doing a little story like this. It matters to people who live in urban areas and have their bikes stolen all the time. You do have to wonder where they get all these bikes they sell. One of my friends had his bike stolen and saw it being sold at a bike shop in the city!

Spike said...

This kind of setup sucks. I hope it doesn't ruin George's biz.

Up next, a revealing expose on tailors and cobblers of the East Village! The true robber barrons of the city!!

Anonymous said...

This wouldn't have happened if George was manning the shop. George is the best!

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the show, so this video is all I have to go on.
If someone came into my shop with an obviously expensive bike and sold it to me for $25 - I would make that deal and try to find the original owner. For $25 I'm not out much cash, the original owner can get their baby back. The investment is worth the return in good will. The original owner will probably do some business here easily worth twice what I invested. Original owner isn't found? After a year I suppose I'm entitled to sell it for the storage, but that won't make me as happy as returning the bike.

HEY19 said...

@Spike - Yeah, you would hate to see this hurt the biz of a guy who rips off the neighborhood for a living. This isnt the first stolen bike George has bought. I cant understand why anyone would defend this guy.

Also, Chris Hanson is an entrapping douche, but thats beside the point. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peaVGw609fg

Anonymous said...

Clearly Dominic is up to no good. I got creeped out watching that clip. I'm gonna steer clear of that bike shop. I had my beloved univega stolen from 2nd avenue in february. Anyone who participates in bike theft...automatically on my super shit list.

Marty Wombacher said...

@HEY19: I'm not defending anyone, buying stolen goods is not right, but neither is flat-out entrapment to get TV ratings. It stinks and I won't be NBCeeing it anytime soon.

Al Lawson said...

I can't believe I'm reading this, frankly. People are defending someone who committed a crime that hurts a LOT of people in the neighborhood. Really, does anyone think this is the first time Dominic has bought a stolen bike? Of course not, but he probably only buys them from local thieves he knows, usually. So this time he got busted. Good. About time.

This wasn't "gotcha" journalism - please. Grow up. Use the term correctly. "Gotcha" is when the interviewer tricks someone into saying something. Everyone uses it these days to mean a journalist who busts you on something you're embarrassed by. Well, don't break the law and you won't get busted. Dominic has no one to blame but himself. No one.

Nor was it "entrapment" - entrapment is when you offer money to someone to do a crime, before they have brought up the crime themself. The idea being that they wouldn't have done the crime had you not made it lucrative. It's not "entrapment" to merely present someone with the opportunity to commit a crime. Is it "entrapemtn" when the cops send underage kids into bodegas to buy cigarettes? Of course not. This is the exact same thing. If they bite, that's their own fault. Again, Dominic has no one to blame but himself. No one.

The FACT is, Dominic offered to buy a bike he knew was stolen. The FACT is, if people couldn't sell stolen bikes, they wouldn't steal so many of them. Fuck Dominic. Every store that buys stolen bikes should be busted and shut down.

Miker said...

Feel bad for a true hard working man with a spoiled son..

Anonymous said...

will mr penley help out in this case it has been a long time since he was active in a les matter

Anonymous said...

If George isn't involved in buying stolen bikes, he needs to step up and do the right thing and fire his loser son. Let the jerk go out and get a job on his own instead of mooching off his father and tarnishing his father's reputation.

Spike said...

I stand by what I said. I hope GEORGE doesn't lose his business -- he's a good guy who has helped me numerous times with my bike(s) and that kind of setup by Dateline sucks. The bike in question was NOT a stolen bike. I've never dealt with the son before, so I'm going to give George himself the benefit of the doubt until someone gives actual proof they knowingly buy stolen bikes.

Marty Wombacher said...

@Al Lawson: Here's the Webster's definition of entrapment:

"The action of luring an individual into committing a crime in order to prosecute the person for it."

Underage kids going into a bodega aren't saying, "We'll give you 20 dollars for a pack of cigarettes because we aren't old enough." It's a whole different scenario, but having said that, I've always felt the underage kid thing buying cigarettes or drinks does somewhat fall under entrapment.

NBC created a scenario hoping a crime would happen. That's not right.

Bob Arihood said...

this isn't a case of entrapment but it might be a case of libel.

Kurt said...

@Marty Wombacher, the legal definition of entrapment is when a person, "is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case."

Dominic needed no persuasion to buy the bike therefore he was not entrapped. As someone who has had a bike stolen I consider someone that knowing buys a stolen bike no better then the thief himself.

cheese said...

If these are the kinds of neighborhood businesses you all want to defend and keep open, then I have no idea what to believe in anymore. It's so sad.

Breaking the law is breaking the law. The ONLY people hurt in this scenario are those in OUR neighborhood (and others) getting their bikes stolen. George's son is not a victim here. I'm really disappointed that so many people would defend him and his "business."

I just can't believe so many of you flip out over so many inconsequential things, but when it comes to a neighborhood business buying stolen goods, it's all fine and dandy.

argie said...

This isn't the first thing I've heard about Bikes By George either. So I'm with Al. Just because it's in the neighborhood doesn't mean I have to trust it and doesn't mean he is automatically a good guy.

Kurt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marty Wombacher said...

@Kurt: I see your point and I'm aware that NBC is not a law enforcement agency, and I'm not a lawyer, but I think that offering to sell an expensive bike for 25 bucks is an inducement, but that's just my opinion. Maybe it's not a clear case of entrapment, but it's a pretty poor piece of "investigative" journalism. You shouldn't try and make the crime happen, you should try to catch someone in the act of the real thing. It's lazy and sensationalistic reporting.

EV Grieve said...

@Kurt

I missed that comment.

cheese said...

I'm fine with sensational reporting if it scares the bike thieves and ppl buying stolen bikes.

I was walking on Stanton St. on Saturday night and witnessed a guy clipping locks on a few bikes at once while his buddies waited in a red Jeep Cherokee (circa 1990) a few feet away. He put his bolt cutters in a trash bag when he saw me staring and ran into a nearby building. I called the cops and gave them as much info as possible, but who knows if this scumbag was actually caught.

As long as these crap shops are buying stolen bikes, people will steal them. And it's NOT easy to catch these guys. Sorry for the bad language, it just makes me so angry.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what transaction transpired, Dominic acted forcefully and with physical abuse that should not be tollerated. A professional would just disagree with the newscaster and go back in their shop. Pushing, taking an arm to the guys neck, slamming the van door, using his body in an aggressive and threatening manner are not acceptable under these circumstances.

bree neumann said...

I have gone to george's bike shop for years.(20+ years- when he was on 12th street.) and like others have said George usually doesn't want to charge me for a little tune-up or minor repair.They have always been kind and more than fair. Those of us in the hood truly love this shop..
As someone who has had probably twenty bikes stolen in this city it is ridiculous to think that any used bike you buy at a bike shop has notbeen stolen numerous times already.. Who knows the true pedigree of a used bike.
Now Dominic has died and I can't help but think that the stress of this ridiculous set-up had everything to do with it.
As someone else said> go fight the real criminals. This is pathetic.

soulismoreprecious said...

Dominic Philbert (in reality Dominique: digit it with surname +Ero and you will have a surprise for what is in Deutche bank, in Ludwig Museum, in wikipedia) He had a difficult life and some problems.
So what, also his old friends Basquiat and Haring who died even younger had. Slowly he was recovering and getting back to art, just until this white guys, attacked to push him back to the ghetto, to the hell, with an insupportable provocation and kind of entrapment. Ero died little more then a month after, did the psychologically violent provocation those white guys did, and the consequence with his psychic and physic equilibrium, with his work and family, was a cause? Is there a lawyer to contact the family to check and possibly to sue those tv guys? Sorry for my bad English, I'm writing from Florence, Italy.