Viral vigilantism, Tony Hawk style
Tony Hawk posted images on Instagram of two thieves who stole a skateboard from his car.
June 23rd, 2012
02:42 PM ET

Viral vigilantism, Tony Hawk style

If you’re going to steal a skateboard, don’t steal it from Tony Hawk.

The pro skater called out a couple of criminals yesterday by posting images from his home’s security camera on Instagram after it captured them stealing a skateboard from his car.

“To the a**holes that broke into my car & stole Calvin's skateboard: return it or your video goes ‘viral’ as in ‘to the police,’” Hawk wrote on the photo sharing app.

According to Hawk, the stolen board, which belonged to his girlfriend’s son, was a rare design from his company, Birdhouse.

“If they know anything about skateboards they’d know that they have something of value,” Hawk said, adding that he didn’t believe he was specifically targeted.

“I don’t think the guys that stole it knew it was my house. I can tell by the way they approached the house that they were actually looking for anyone that might have left something in their driveway in their car,” Hawk said.

Hawk opted to post the photo on Instagram rather than going to police to give the thieves a chance to return the skateboard and also to teach them a lesson.

“To be honest, I did put that up as kind of a joke and kind of a warning, as well. My hope is that it does resonate and these guys realize what they’ve done and return it in guilt.”

Hawk said that he probably won’t turn the pair in to police if they return the board, though many people who commented on the photo on Instagram urge him to.

Hawk said he chose social media as his first line of defense because it was an interesting way to handle the problem – and because his 13-year-old son came up with the idea.

“So much of our life is recorded on video now, including the worst parts,” Hawk said. “You just feel so vulnerable, but at the same time I’m glad – not that I condone it – it was a skateboard and it’s something that I can replace.”

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Filed under: Justice
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Lover of Justice

    True Justice cannot be bartered with or bribed. Men can be, though. Observe US Congressmen, for example.
    Allowing the guilty to go free in order to make it easier for you to convict the guilty is called "spinning your wheels", and explains the USA leading in most all kinds of criime rates.
    If a criminal confesses and returns stolen merchandise...good for him. Yet Justice still calls for his accomplices, even the ones knowing of a church boy being rayped who call themselves together to discuss the subject RATHER than calling the police.

    June 25, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Hamsta

    I have a skater friend, his name is Brad. As a whole the skater community is mostly rebels without a cause. A good bit of skaters are borderline anarchists who are routinely harrassed by the police. We had a half pipe in my back yard in the late 80's. Every day we had kids glad to get away from the police for a minute to shred on that ramp, I'm almost sire some of those kids later became professional skaters, some of them had some really cool tricks. One the best tricks I saw was when one of those kids slam dunked his board through the old basketball goal that one of the ramps was built around. He was even able to land the trick after taking the net down and practicing a few times. We had that ramp for 12 years until some poser tried to sue us for a broken arm. I call him a poser because real skaters know you skate at your own risk. That ramp is long gone but the basketball goal remains. I remember that ramp every time I shoot hoops with my nephew or my dad when I visit. Its a long standing inside joke that one can go for the 100 pointer by successfully slam dunking a skateboard. My nephew wasn't around when we had the ramp so be doesn't get it.

    June 25, 2012 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Keith

    Yeah, 'cause having the world's most-populated prisons is certainly solving crime.

    I say kudos to Tony for trying a new approach. It's obvious the "throw 'em all in jail 'til they rot" approach isn't working. They say that insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Throwing people in jail in record numbers clearly isn't solving crime here in US. Yet, in countries where rehabilitation and education are more valued, the prisons are significantly less full and the crime rate is significantly lower. Gee, I wonder is that's only correlation or if it's causation, too. Or, perhaps, just, perhaps, it's both.

    June 25, 2012 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave Seavy

      Here's why we keep doing the same thing over and over – because it gets politicians re-elected. They know the "disposable people" mentality that perfades society these days, and they play right into it. They boast how their laws have put so many people behind bars, and John Q. Public loves it. He tells the public how much safer we are and that the crime rate is going down. It's all a smoke screen, but it gets results on election day. Further – corrections is big business – VERY big. Billions of dollars change hands yearly. The more people locked up, the more money that gets spent. Our corrections system is a dismal failure, and until the public wakes up and sees how badly we're being fleeced, it will not change.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. Fred

    Two "theives", yes, this is CNN.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. evrgreen

    If the images are clear, maybe the police could have had the change to find the losers who stole the item. But if the images are not neat, it's a waste of time going to the police. They don't pay much attention to that kind of crime.
    We were robbed once and there was an item right next to my car, something the loser might have left behind when broke into our car and I asked the policeman if he was going to run for finger prints or something and he said: this is not CSI..

    June 25, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tbean

    Funny, this coming from a man who stole his best friends wife! lol

    June 25, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. clevercandi

    Trying parking your car in the garage 🙂

    June 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Saul Alinsky

      Arrest Holder, Impeach Obama. America needs a real Leader, not some funky siinging terrorist.

      June 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Please tell Obama to STOP terrorizing gay medical marijuana cancer patients... why is he doing this to his people?

      June 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shaneeda Quit

    Don't leave valuables out in plain sight.

    June 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack

    Man-o-man... you folks just can't stay on a topic! What's Nigeria, Pesident Obama, racism, or the Carslile Group have to do with Tony Hawk's SUV getting broken into?

    June 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
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