Yep, we're officially in the 'high season' here. Thefts and registrations are steadily climbing upward ... it's keeping us busy.
In this edition - the April 2018 Bike Index recovery stories - we have:
Before we get started: Recall that Bike Index is a 501(c)(3) non profit, so we run a tight ship.
I won't lie - it's pretty annoying to recover so many bikes and have to scrape by on donations. Or to recover a really expensive bike and get no donation in return. But, hey, we love catching thieves and finding stolen bikes, so we keep at it. Point being: We would love it if you could donate to the Bike Index. Please help us keep these recoveries coming by donating here -- tax deductible, too! We would appreciate it hugely if you did.
Now - onto the April recoveries:
"It got vetted that it was stolen and through a series of transactions it was thoughtfully returned ..."
Recovered by PPB (Portland Police Bureau), no other details available.
"Hey, I may have spotted this Downtown today on 4th ave around 5PM, a King County Sheriff's deputy was talking to a scraggly looking gentleman with an upturned gold Soma - might be worth calling their non-emergency number, good luck." Later, from the owner: "Bike index is responsible for its recovery - I’m a total believer and thank you all so much. Bike was recovered In an unbelievable and amazing turn of events, a couple of Bike Index good Samaritans spotted my bike downtown, called 9-1-1, and the King Co Police recovered the bike. It was relatively unscathed and in good shape. What a great community to tap into here on Bike Index!"
"Contacted by an individual who had purchased the stolen bike. He returned it after I was able to confirm it was my bike. SPD was present to verify returning of stolen property as part of an ongoing burglary case"
Editor's note: this bike had been missing several years when someone noticed it in the back of a sketch pickup truck in Seattle: "Hello, I saw your bike this morning on the back of a pickup on (redacted) on Beacon Hill Seattle. I've seen the pickup parked on the street for at least a week, but just noticed your bike this morning. Reply with your email so I can send a picture to confirm! (Later, from the owner) So, in the end, (redacted)’s heroic efforts worked out: he ended up following them... where I arrived shortly afterward and confronted them. They claimed they’d bought it from someone in pike place and after some clearly inaccurate info that led me to believe I couldn't trust anything they were telling me, offered to buy it back from them... small price to pay to recover a Ti Davidson. Thanks! "
"Someone saw a sketchy dude on a bike that was obviously not his and confronted the person after they wrecked the bike in front of where he worked. The thief later ditched the bike in someone's yard a couple houses down and a good Samaritan grabbed it and started combing Craigslist and the Bike Index. Guy called me at work today and dropped my bike off a couple hours later!"
"Police picked it up and traced the serial number. Members from this site really looked out and reached out when they saw a bike matching the description (was listed) ..."
"Hey! We purchased the bike on Kijiji in Calgary, Alberta Canada only to find your stolen ad when we punched in the serial. I would suggest calling the Calgary police and giving them this information. He lives at (redacted). They changed the pedals to a black kind that are plastic. We took the bike back to him to get our money back and wanted you to know where your bike is. If you have anymore questions let us know..."
"Pawn shop found it on Bike Index!" Editor's note: Bike Index thanks all the Pawn shop users who match stolen bikes with us. Good lookin' out!
"Found it posted on Offer Up. Accompanied Garden Grove PD to retrieve the bicycle. Serial number was still present on the frame so proving ownership wasn't difficult..."
"Hello, I believe I had your bike - I purchased it from an acquaintance which didn't sit well with me at the price I purchased it. I ran the serial number and the bike serial number came up as stolen on this site..."
"Hello! Our mechanic here at Cyclepath in Hayward purchased this bike at the flea market for $150 and suspected it might be stolen. We found your ad on here and confirmed it is the same serial number... He is just looking to return the bike to the original owner. Please call ... "
"I received a text message from a local bike shop owner that he found the bike. Some details about the bike looked suspicious to him, and he found my entry for the bike here on Bike Index. He contacted me, and I came and picked it up! Bike Index is amazing!"
Several Bike Index users flagged this stolen Trek Marlin shortly after it appeared on -yes, you guessed it - Offerup, after it was stolen from a local kid's school. By the time we got in touch with the owner and got it rolling, the seller had already sold the bike ... Owner's reply: "Oh my gosh! That is exactly his bike. I’m so heartbroken she sold it for $100! It’s so disturbing that somebody would go to a local elementary school and steal child’s bike - let alone steal anyone’s bike. We did file a police report so I will call them this morning and let them know what I found. I can’t seem to find a way to contact this woman on Offerup. It’s unbelievable that she is selling all these bikes..." We explained that we can't always get thieves the first time around, but since we had found the seller's name, Facebook, address etc... to just be patient. So: we didn't get this one back because this absolute unit had already sold it, but ... well, perhaps you can see where this is going ...
... because the next day this same moron/strangely large beet of a human (look, I've seen their Facebook ... so just bear with me) listed yet another stolen bike. Specifically, a 2012 Giant Defy that had been stolen from roughly the same area. From that bike's owner: "I got a text last night from someone who matched the bike description to the Bike Index, and noted it was an absurdly low price. From the pictures, I confirmed it was my bike from several non-stock accessories and components and notable wear marks on the crank arms. Based on advice from the PPB, I started a conversation with the seller ... . Next morning I contacted PPB again to have an officer meet me near the meetup location, letting the officer know via text exactly what was happening. When we circled the parking lot at the meeting site she was standing right in front of the store with my bike! I walked up and started chatting with her, while I looked the bike over, even flipping it over to confirm the serial (even though I already was 100% certain it was mine). A few minutes after, PPB came rolling down in front of the store, pulled up right next to us and took over from there. I'm amazed it's back, and apart from a few minor things is exactly as it was! Thanks so much for Bike Index, as that's the reason it's back today. All my other bikes are already on Bike Index, but now I'll update them with more up-to-date pictures..."
Bike Index notes this seller is still active on Offerup. We've got an eye on them.
" Hi a friend of mine was approached by a man at a Stockton gas station about a month ago. He said he was hungry and needed money for food so she gave him $20. She said he was so grateful that he gave her a bike . She didn't want it but he insisted. Out of curiosity today I pull the bike out want just to look it up online and I came across a picture of your stolen bike. They look identical except for the serial number is one number off I'm not sure if you made a mistake but email me please because if it's your bike I would like to return it ..."
Editor's note: this GT was one of two bikes stolen from the same owner, and matched within minutes by the buyer, who said: "Hello, I think I found this bike. Bought from scumbag. Serial number matches. I would like to get it back to you."
They also recovered the same owner's Boilermaker, listed below.
As mentioned above, the same person recovered these two bikes for the same owner. From the owner's email: "Both bikes were recovered by the same buyer. He bought them off a guy in his neighborhood, who he admits is kind of shady. He then checked Bike Index and contacted me after confirming the serial numbers. Needless to say, I'm beyond grateful to him, and to Bike Index!! I've shared this story on Facebook and included a shout out, and link, to Bike Index ..."
This was an odd one: someone found this absolutely pristine Niner with no lock, sitting out in the open, totally unattended. So they reached out to Bike Index to help find an owner... After much searching they eventually found an owner, and as they put it: "This blows my mind, but the owner knowingly left this bike with no lock at all, at the bike rack at (redacted) - where locks get cut all the time. They apparently thought nobody would notice this pristine frame w carbon components and big Niner logos left unlocked between locked bikes. They left, though, and it fell down across sidewalk. I guess the thieves thought it was a trap, it's just so unbelievable," they said.
This stolen Tommaso was spotted on Offerup by one of our longtime spotters, and a sting ensued. From the owner: "I just met about damn near half the Vancouver PD and went undercover to 'buy' the bike! It was mine! And I got it back! I really appreciate the tip and would love to buy you a beer to say thank you. Let me know..."
Bike Index wearily notes this seller is also still active on Offerup. We continue to monitor them as well.
"I have your bike!!!!!!!!! A guy left it behind my building Friday and I new it wasn't right - damn I'm glad I could connect with you!!!!!!! I'm located off (redacted) just a couple blocks from where it was stolen." Later, from the owner: "Thanks so much Bryan! A conscientious guy in Santa Cruz saw my bike hidden and ditched outside his workplace. Given the circumstances, he was certain it was stolen so he locked it up inside called the police to report it. Eventually a woman saw the generic “found” post he made for the bike on Craigslist and recommend that he search Bike Index. He found my post immediately and Bike Index got us in contact! Thanks for helping me recover my mountain bike I never thought I’d see again!"
Ah yes, the ol' stolen bike inside of a stolen car trick ... aka the Turducken of bike theft: "Lakewood police pulled a stolen car over and the bike was in the trunk of the car. Unfortunately my tool bag and one of my water bottle cages were taken and not recovered..."
Editor's note: we didn't have a hand in this beyond helping to spread the word on Instagram, but we watched in admiration as the SF bike scene not only spotted this funky looking Voodoo Hoodoo shortly after its theft, but helped chase it down. Via the tip that came in via Bike Index: "Hey, I just saw your bike going down Market St. 30 seconds ago. Market/6th". Later: "How the bike was recovered: Posted on Instagram, it spread like a whirlwind, Homie and bike messenger got approached by a dude wanting to sell it and he confiscated it."
From the spotter: "Hi, I am hunting for my own lost bike and I noticed this pop up on OfferUp. Seems way too good of a deal. Hopefully it may be yours?" From the owner: "Yes!!! That's my bike. I can tell because I had the brakes replaced and I can see them clearly in the pictures." Later, from the owner again: "Hey Bryan!!! I was able to get my bike back from the guy who had it. I decided to (redacted) instead of involving the police and getting him arrested. Thank you so so much for your help, and for Bike Index. It was really the thing that made this happen, and I'm super grateful. I will be singing your praises for quite some time."
Bike Index notes, yet again, that this seller is still active on Offerup. We're kind of curious what it takes to get kicked off of there TBH.
Spotted on Craigslist by Stolen Bikes Nola: "Hello this is your bike. Contact Dean or Alex at StolenBikes NOLA for guidance to get this seller to expose themselves."
Good News! My bike has been found!!!! Over in Northeast Portland probably 5+miles from my house, someone found it stashed in an alley. He searched BikePortland.org stolen bikes and found my listing with Bikeindex.org!!!! Thank you thank you!"
"I found it on Offer up. Was able to recover."
Bike Index notes that this owner didn't send us a link to this Offerup Seller profile, but we've got $5 on it that says the seller is still active ...
"This is Rich at Kenton Cycle Repair. I have your bike! A customer found it and brought it by to see if it had been stolen. Please stop by or contact me at ...."
"Hi I have your bike - my name is (redacted) I found your bike and had the police run the serial number but it must have not been on the system yet so they left it and it was still there at the end of the day. So I took it home and put an ad on Craigslist, but I finally found a site to run the numbers and found you - woot - so please call me "
"Got a call from someone who saw bike on street, (ID'd it) and called police and got bike back (of course police part took about 2hr) ..."
"Milton Police Department found the bike in a 3 AM incident involving 2 juveniles..."
Editor's note: two yoots?
Another spot and recovery with heavy intervention from a PNW Lost/Stolen Bikes on Facebook. This seller has several Offerup profiles with same/similar names and has a grip of folks looking in on them due to many prior incidents. "I was contacted by someone at BikeIndex.org. They indicated that someone had noticed a bike similar to mine for sale on OfferUp. Someone had posted the ad and their suspension of the match to a stolen bikes Facebook. One of the group members took up the hunt and arranged to meet with the seller. I spoke with the group member prior to his meet up and expressed my doubts that it was my bike. I had taken a look at the ad and there were many visible components that were not on my bike when it was stolen 2 weeks prior. Frankly I was I was convinced that it couldn't be mine. The group member disagreed with me and said that he was almost positive that it would be mine and he wanted to go through with the meetup. He had also arranged for the police to be there. It turns out he was right, it was my bike. The thief had gone to a lot of trouble to swap out the parts and had misrepresented the model year... Apart from the components they had swapped out the serial number matched mine AND the hack of a field repair I had made on my dropper post was still in place. My takeaways: 1) A big HUGE thank you to bikeindex.org, PNW Lost/Stolen Bikes and all of the bike vigilantes out there. Having your bike stolen REALLY sucks. Getting it back is singular. 2) Register your bike with bikeindex.org 3) Never purchase a used bike without a paper trail and verification of the serial number (not registered as stolen). 4) The thieves are crafty and fast. They must have a backlog of bikes to swap parts with on short order. They managed to quickly put together and post a bike for sale that I would have never identified as mine from the photos. The police let the thief walk BTW, no way to prove that he was the one who stole it or he was knowingly fencing stolen property."
Bike Index notes with literally zero surprise whatsoever that this seller continues to maintain several active profiles on Offerup.
And that's it for April 2018 ...