My point on CCTV wasn't the identification of suspects, it was the thief's not wanting to be seen aspect
Bike thieves really don't care about this. Good ones can break a lock or strip components on a busy street, and CCTVs are lot less intimidating than passers-by - most are dummies or not watched in real time, and the few that are have one guy covering 20 screens. And that guy will usually just see someone who looks like the bike owner fiddling with his bike.
Pretty sure if someone was caught with the items in the picture then they'd be arrested and charged with "going equipped to steal"
Completely. But a good bike thief can make a lot more in a day than a burglar, he'll get a much smaller sentence if caught, and ebay provides a ready means of shifting the loot. It's a very rational crime.
Ironically, a major reason why NYC messengers switched to single or fixed was so that their bikes would have as little stuff as possible for theives to strip and because no one would want the ancient frames they were using...
So the answer to the question "Why would you want to uglify a good bike?" is "Because in some places that is the only way you will keep one, and the main benefit of a good bike is that it rides better." If I was in NYC I'd use my Zaskar for errands, but the wheels would be "value" ones and the rims and hubs would be drooled with epoxy and paint, the mostly alvio level components would have had the same treatment plus dremel time, and the frame would be repulsizively rattle canned and covered in stickers. I'd use a locking system good enough to stop a thief who wasn't using powertools from stealing the whole bike (and powertools guy would probably move on to a more rewarding target) and it would be obvious to part strippers that the bike wouldn't be worth their time. Because otherwise, even with a boron chain weighing more than the bike, I'd worry that I'd find the frame sawn in half so someone could make $100 from selling my wheels and shifters on ebay. Then I'd enter the bike in BOTM.
..But wrapping an inner tube or duct tape around a frame, or those stupid rust stickers you can buy, pretty much a waste of time.