by Bryan Hance
Topics: Bike Recovery, Bike Theft
Topics: Bike Recovery, Bike Theft
Welcome to the July Bike Index recoveries!
We're still in the thick of summer's "high bike theft" season, but here's this month's highlights:
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And away we go …
"Good News! Your bike has been recovered and was turned in to the Portland Police Bureau's Property Warehouse as "found property" - later: "Thanks a lot for this email, I immediately went and picked up the bike. I was not at all expecting to see this bike ever again so I am really happy that it was found."
Found via the Stolen Bikes Nola facebook group: "I just had the bike returned. So awesome! StolenBikesNola is awesome!"
"Friendly stranger saw it abandoned in the weeds. Found me on Bike Index. Hooray!"
"My neighbor ... found it tossed in the bushes outside his door. He realized its value and took it inside. He checked Bike Index and ... knocked on my door today! I'm very grateful to Bike Index and my neighbor for getting it back to me!!!"
"The officer who helped me found both bikes - two people had purchased them from a swapmeet style short sale but they didn't research what they purchased. Ended up being my bikes ... and they are home and getting tuned up again. Way too excited at the moment!"
Recovered by Portland Police Bureau, ID'd via contact in the Bike Index
"Hi there! Just recovered your bike downtown! It's in great shape too! ... officers spotted it in Waterfront Park. Happy 4th!"
Another Portland Police score: "It's a little murky, but the police ended up with it. The officer reading the file said it was brought into VELOCULT and someone ran the serial # - ba-boom -- here come the police. The bike must have reeked of 'stolen' since it had been painted black over the nice factory paint, and had electrical tape too for coverage. Basically all intact but all the secondary gear is gone and it looks like it's been living on the wrong side of the tracks for a while. But YEAAAH! "
"This is (redacted) at JRA Bike Shop. I found what is left of your bike behind our shop today. All the parts have been stripped off, and someone tried to use the frame as a lever to break the lock and damaged the frame in the process. Right now, it's just scrap metal. Sorry about your bike, but maybe this will give a bit of closure on it. "
"A bike was pawned in Omaha, NE and came back with the hit listed above ... "
"Portland Police patrol found bike leaning on a tent near the PSU campus. Fender Kit removed, Lime Green U Lock was painted black and bell was smashed. Great work by Portland Police and Bryan at Bike Index to contact me and my very new Kona bike is in great shape considering I missed it for 3 weeks. THANK YOU BIKE INDEX. "
"SAPD found my bike and returned it to me this morning! So grateful for their work!"
" What a crazy day! Story time? I got the e-mail about this thread via Bike Index ... A few hours later I get phone calls saying that my bike and the person are being held at 46th and Main! I'm working out in Troutdale and was wrapping up but was still a half hour away. S. (stranger from NextDoor) calls me and puts me on to speak with the dude. He's pretty chill, really, but says that he doesn't know why he should believe it's my bike when his friend who loaned it to him says it's his. Ok... I give him some real specific stuff about the bike's components. He suggests that perhaps S. had given me that information and we were trying to fool him, so maybe he'd better just take it to the police station. All of a sudden he gets frazzled and hangs up on me. I call back and tell S. I'll send them a photo of the bike and maybe that'll convince him, but in the 45 seconds or so that it takes me to do that, he takes off and says he's going to Laurelhurst. On the way to the 'hood from Troutdale I call the police ... The operator had apparently heard from several of you, finishing my sentence as I said where the bike was last seen, and told me no one was coming, no police were available. (ed: in the sake of brevity here: they chaned this a lot) Later: As soon as S. rode off the police called me and said they had my bike at 37th and Stark! I went and retrieved it, and the guy said that he was on his way to take it to the police station... Alright. Anyway, got it back and it's in pretty much the same condition it was when they took it! Now, the subplot: LITERALLY FOURTEEN MINUTES before I got the e-mail to this thread I received an e-mail from Bike Gallery saying that someone had brought in my Surly Karate Monkey that was stolen at the same time in mid-may!! The person who brought it in said it was under the deck of a house for 2 weeks with some clothes and stuff. So after I brought the GT home I went and picked up that bike from Bike Gallery. A little full moon magic? Any astrologers out there able to interpret this? Huge thanks again to everyone who went out to check for the bike, and especially to (redacted) for posting the photo to begin with, and S. for fulfilling your apparent destiny of being my bike's guardian angel."
Ed note: this is the other bike noted in the recovery above: "A good samaritan found it under their porch and it had been there for 2 weeks, along with some clothes and other various personal belongings. They brought it in to Bike Gallery on Milwaukee and Bike Gallery found it on Bike Index and contacted me! Thanks everyone! "
"I have your stolen bike. I 'liberated' it this evening and it's at (redacted) whee I work ... "
"Someone bought the bike off Facebook Marketplace, realized it was stolen, and returned it to me ... "
"So I parked my bike outside Helium comedy club around 6:15pm and found it stolen at 9pm. I was surprised as it was still daylight and I used a good u-lock. Per the officer who informed me it was found, around 3-3:30am some sketchy people were seen with my bike around SE 16th and Oak. Two good Samaritans were just getting off work and saw this strange scene: sketchy people with a really nice bike. Somehow they were able to get the bike back from them! Ironically, it was the sketchy people actually called the police saying they stole it from them. The officers interviewed the people, found my bike registered with Bike Index and subsequently found the police report about it being stolen. The sketchy person was apparently a heavy set woman in her 60's who said someone sold it to her as her daughter's graduation gift but when pressed for details by the officers she couldn't keep her story very straight. Once the police officers figured out the whole situation the sketchy people down the street had already ran away. Can you believe this? This is the 2nd bike that was stolen from me in the past 6 months. This story is a hard to believe but I'm so very grateful for these two Samaritans and, of course, the Bike Index! Wow!"
"Was contacted that my bike was listed on Craigslist under the lost and found category with the title, "I stole your bike and want to return it". Strangely enough, I met up with the bike thief and was given back my bike. Would have never found it on Craigslist if I didn't get a call from someone saying they saw my bike and found the listing on Bike Index. I'm pretty sure what happened is one person stole it off the MAX, then some kid stole it form that person. The kid's dad found out that he stole a bike, tracked me down from your website, and made him give it back. Pretty crazy."
"I have your bike! - found dumped in long grass at Press & N.Rampart Street. Seems to be in good condition apart from damage to mud guard. "
"A wonderful neighbor spotted the posting about this bike. He then saw another neighbor with the bike and was able to buy it back and then get in touch with us through this website. "
Via the finder: "I actually bought the bike but became suspicious when I discovered the frame was not the 56cm as advertised, but 47cm. Then I was told that the serial # of the bike looked like it may have been altered. I had checked the serial # the seller gave me and got no hits, so I thought it legit. But when I Googled "Stolen Riese and Muller Nevo Nuvinci U.S." this page came up. The serial # on the bike I purchased differs from this one by only the next to last digit (88 instead of 58). There is "touch up" paint on several spots on the bike, including on the serial # ... I've had 3 bikes stolen over the years, and don't want to be party to any potentially "ill gotten" property ..."
"Recovered by Portland Police - owner ID'd and contacted in the Bike Index."
Spotted by a local bike community member who - through a long history of getting stolen bikes back to people - was able to negotiate for the bike's return. "Thanks for all you do! Bike Index was how we found the owner of this one!!"
"(redacted) spotted kid riding badly spray-painted bike, two blocks from my house. Ran the serial number and got a match. Sadly, the bike was badly damaged (horrible paint job, parts missing or replaced with inferior components) and is no longer worth keeping."
Finder: "I have your bike. Text me. I'll explain how I got it, and I'll bring it to you." Owner: "Thanks! I was skeptical about this Bike Index thing, but am shocked at how efficient it was. Wonderful thing you got going on..."
" I never thought that registering my stolen bike on Bike Index would help me get it back, but it did! I registered my bike after it was stolen from my back yard, and a few weeks later, I had given up hope and was about to begin the process of purchasing a new bike. I got a message from someone on the Bike Index saying they "should have known better" but bought my bike off of someone on the street, and after checking the Index, realized it was stolen. They just wanted to get it back to the rightful owner. I'm so grateful for their kindness, and so happy to have my bike back!"
" A resident 20 blocks from my house saw some scetchy people with a killer bike and looked it up on the Bike Index. They texted me. I called the police and arived at the location (Essex park) about the same time and caught the bastards riding it around on the street. The cops were a huge help. Make sure you have photos for proof of ownership and police report handy if this happens to you."
"Someone contacted me through Bike index and returned it to me!"
"I have this bike in my shop ... A sketchy dude dropped it off asking for a bar swap. I told him to give me an hour. I can hang on to it for a little bit, please let me know how you want to proceed. It is DEFINITELY your bike. "
"I work with the Pawn + Property Recovery Unit at Seattle PD. I have a pawn shop owner contacting me, thinking he may have your bike in his shop. I cannot confirm that it is really your bike with the limited information provided. I was hoping you could possibly supply a serial number, or something distinguishing about the frame, etc. that we could use to identify whether or not it is yours ... " (Turns out: this was a total match! The owner recovered their bike.)
This crazy recovery was all thanks to Portland Police's @ppbbiketheft- who noticed thieves had altered the serial on this Kona Coco in order to make '1' look like '7' and a '3' look like an '8'. Fortunately their restamping job was so terrible it stood out like a sore thump. @ppbbiketheft promptly highlighted this on Twitter, which was picked up by the local news media ... pretty crazy, considering this is the 2nd 'tampered serial' report we got this month.
This was an epic recovery facilitated by our SF spotters such as @SFbikebandits, @milesbcooper and @andrewkdavidson and @liocphoto - this distinct looking Rad Power was spotted, lost, then spotted again, then SFPD called in to chase the guy down and arrest him. This was taken in a home break-in, so I'm hoping he's toast.
Ed: this one wasn't technically our recovery but the owner's pursuit on this one was so doggeded I wanted to share it. This bike was originally stolen in the Seattle area, and then ... "Found it on Craigslist out of state, was diligent in communicating with the local Police Department in the area it was listed for sale. Officers met with the buyer and seized the bike. This bike made its way to Cheyenne, Wyoming and then later appeared in Northern Colorado. Fort Collins PD was able to recover it for me. They are doing a background check on the seller but the seller told them they had purchased it from someone else (the usual story). Not sure if they've arrested the individual but they are trying to get more information on the seller to potentially bring them in. I don't think this bike was ever flagged, I first saw it on Craigslist on May 31st. I simply stayed on top of it and it all worked out."
"Mason City Police recovered the bike after the subject fled on the bike for an unrelated crime. Bike had been stripped of the quality parts and replaced with inferior parts, only the frame was original. The frame was dented when the subject took an unfortunate tumble during the pursuit."
" Portland Police found my bike on a chronic bike thief downtown! So happy to have it back :)"
Found in a Seattle pawn shop ... (Ed note: Bike Index continues to work with a lot of pawn folks, as we know a lot of bikes are showing up in the pawn system.)
"Seattle Police received a call for "found property" - the bike had been tossed in a dumpster behind the local QFC. The officer suspected that the thieves had tried to pawn it and were unable to, and so (naturally) decided to toss it in the trash. The QFC employees thought it strange that a perfectly good road bike was in their dumpster, so (thankfully) reported it to the police. Big thanks to those QFC employees and the West Seattle precinct of the Seattle PD! "
"Did you ever recover this bike? I recently found a bike in a natural area in North Clackamas County. When I ran the serial number this came up. If it is the same bike, it has been painted and all the components have been changed. It has different wheels, seat, seat post, fork, pedals, etc... It still appears to be in decent condition though. Let me know if you would like to come check it out and see if it's yours" From the owner: "Thank you so much! I spoke and met with (redacted) at the North Clackamas maintenance facility and got my stolen bike (I showed him a copy of my bill of sale). I also shared this on my FB page; everyone was thrilled at the news of my bike showing up! So very glad Bike Index exists. It's also amazing how the bike had much nicer components added by whoever used the bike. Go figure!"
... and that's it. July was a busy month, as you can tell.
Yes, that was a lot of bikes ... and yes, we're already very deep into August recoveries. Stay tuned.