Whew - Spring is creeping in, which means more bikes are on the road, which means registrations, thefts, and recoveries are all seeing an uptick. Numbers across the board are creeping up - we're now over 109,000 bikes on file, and my inbox is more or less aflame.
Without further delay: Here's all the bikes that Bike Index helped recover in March 2017. We're super proud of some of these, and you'll see why.
In this edition, we have ...
Before we begin - Did you know Bike Index is now a 501(c)(3) non profit? We're pretty proud of that, too ... and we'd love it if you could donate to the Bike Index! We could always use your help to keep these recoveries and stories coming.
You can donate (tax deductible!) here -- and we would appreciate it hugely if you did.
Now - onto the bikes!
Recovered by the same Clackamas Sheriff's Co. Sheriff's deputy who was on a great recovery streak last month - "An officer found it at a pawn shop. Thank you!!"
"The police found it locked up downtown Portland and searched Bike Index to identify me as the owner."
One of those rare cases where a victim we've helped in the past pays it forward! From the spotter: "My neighbor has a bunch of hooligans over all the time ... I came home from a cold ride on (redacted) today and there were some characters in my driveway - one riding a shiny new Fairdale. I asked about the bike and they quickly diverted the question. I snapped a picture of her and looked up Bike Index - it was the first listing." From the owner: "(redacted) called the police for me! They confiscated it and called me from my police report! Amazing people all around! Thank you!"
"Someone I didn't know had his bike stolen, and was looking for it on Craigslist. When he went to check out a bike listed, he looked up the serial number and found that it belonged to me and contacted me ... Since I had filed a police report when it was stolen, I notified the police, who helped set up a sting operation to recover the bike. Unfortunately, the bike had been totally rebuilt, and not for the better, but at least I got the original frame back."
"My neighbors and I found a stolen bike months ago. I spent over 10-20 hours trying to find the owner of this stolen bike... I searched craigslist, posted my own found ad on craigslist. Searched next door. I think I posted to next door. Searched your database, called the bike shop who sold it only to find they don't keep records. I even called REI headquarters ... Nada. I've been doing searches, but they did not find a hit. I was about to clean out my garage and give it to the cops but I searched again and found the owner (via this listing). It has to be." (Turns out, it was! Owner has been reunited with the bike - Thanks JR!)
Short on details but long on awesome: "An officer recovered it on campus"
The report on this bike doesn't nearly cover this whole story -- this sweet looking Handsome Cycles was one of the first couple hundred bikes registered by Bike Index, back in 2013. That happened in Chicago. The bike (and owner) eventually made it to Portland OR, where it was stolen in Jan 2017. Two months later, the Portland Patrol officer pictured here found it, matched it to the owner, and the rest is history. Can't tell you how happy this one makes us - it's an amazing confluence of awesomeness and excellent luck.
This Bakfiets was stolen in Portland OR -- and because of this, it went out over our Portland twitter feed. Days later, someone spotted it and alerted the owner via twitter, who then chased it down and recovered it with police. Another wonderful example of the PDX bike community keeping an eye out for each other,a nd how tools like Twitter can enable these needle-in-a-haystack recoveries.
Another awesome recovery by the Cycle Portland crew. "My stolen bike was taken in to a local bike shop for maintenance and was recovered as it was registered on Bike Index. Thank you so much for providing this service and for collaborative effort with Cycle Portland!"
"Friend spotted the bike and informed me. Called the police and they released the bike after checking the police report with the serial number. Thanks!"
Another Cycle Portland score! "The folks at Cycle Portland checked the serial number of a bike someone brought in for repairs, and it came up on the Bike Index as my stolen bike! They contacted me, confronted the person who had brought in the bike, who denied having stolen it, but let the matter go without a fight. Cycle Portland returned the bike to me. I am so grateful for the help, and was really surprised that I got it back in fairly good condition. I really appreciate that we have a network in our city to help combat bike theft!"
A rare case of attempted Paypal chargeback fraud. This was a bike sale where the buyer paid for a Craigslist sale via Paypal, took the bike, then went home and disputed the charge. (Paypal's notoriously terrible about this). And that's a bad idea in a town like Portland ... esp. after leaving a trail of phone #, email, Facebook, etc. From the seller: "The police officer just left. He called her and got her to admit she has the bike. She is supposed to pay me in cash tomorrow. If she does not she will be arrested." The buyer reversed their decision after being contacted by police.
"Someone posted your bike to Craigslist as Found - please reclaim!"
"Suspicious character brought this bike into the Clackamas Bike Gallery .... a Bike Gallery employee recognized the scenario and matched the bike with my posting on Bike Index. I'm very grateful for both (redacted)'s effort and with Bike Index. Thanks!"
One of those rare smash and grabs caught on multiple security cameras - including a very clear shot of the thief. "The Northern District Police Station circulated the images/videos/descriptions to the various patrols. Plain clothes officers spotted the thief with the bike and arrested him. They have had past contacts with this guy."
"Some guy named '(redacted)" locked it to a bike rack and texted my girlfriend the combination. I am happy to provide a quote or whatever for you as a happy user of the Bike Index! The bike shows some wear and I am no expert so it is difficult to assess its true condition. It is a vintage bike and it has been through a lot. Glad to have it back, thanks! I feel very fortunate indeed."
"... it was brought back to the building where I live (on the patio of one of the first floor units). Remorse perhaps?"
How's this for nuts - this assumed bike thief dukes it out with these guys after they recognize this stolen bike, and it winds up on Instagram "Found it in front of a bike store while he was trying to put air into the tires, he assaulted us but with the help of River City Cycles employees we recovered it. The bike is damaged a little bit which seems that they had used a torch to break the lock off but it is replaceable." Was told an arrest was made.
Good guy spots a unique looking bike, ID's it in Bike Index, contacts the owner, then cuts it free. Full service! "Hey, I just put a u-lock around a questionable looking 54cm Cannondale R1000 Optimo similar to your bike. What made me think it was yours is the round sticker on the downtube, which is definitely not standard. I'm going to try liberating your bike with my grinding wheel and get it inside so it doesn't disappear."
"Someone found it and then they returned to the nearest bike shop."
"Your bike was located by the Santa Monica Police Dept. please contact us at your earliest convenience to have it returned to you." (Shout out to Santa Monica PD for using Bike Index!)
"I bought this yellow cannondale bike at Kobys Swapmeet (San Diego) 2 weekends ago.. was really greasy/dirty and couldnt read serial #. But after cleaning. I checked it.. and yep, stolen.."
"Chased it down ourselves - stolen bikes Nola was a huge help. Thanks for all that you do! "
"Found someone riding it; they had bought it off of OfferUp.."
"UPDATE!!! I'm happy to say with the help of my boyfriend who found my bike posted on LetGo we were able to set up a buy with a guy who posted it for sale. Big thanks to the Buffalo PD who also stood by as I confirmed it was my bike via speaker phone and who then arrested the dirtbag who stole it! I couldn't have done this alone and it was set up as an extremely safe scenario. Resale apps are not for stolen goods! Thank you for all of your help! Thanks for reaching out! We did and I've notified the local bike community and shops as well! We're a tight knit in Buffalo so many people were beyond helpful re-posting and keeping their eyes peeled"
Same Clackamas County Sheriff's Officer with another score - "Can you call me .... I have found a Rover in an abandoned house."
"Hi. I think I found the frameset of your bike this morning. It still had a campy bb and an fsa headset on it. It's in pretty rough cosmetic shape. Lots of scratches and two decent sized dents in the toptube, but it looks to be straight."
"I received a call from the Portland, OR evidence lockup saying they found my bike listed on Bike Index."
... and that's a wrap!
Other notable things from March 2017:
Do us one more solid - and help spread the Bike Index far and wide. Please: let your local bike shops and police know about the Bike Index!
And yes, please keep cross checking all those sketchy bikes posted for sale online, because those tips are panning out ...
See you next month!