Yeah, it's been a while since we posted a recovery round-up. Things like day jobs (and vacations) got in the way - but that doesn't mean we didn't recover a grip 'o bikes in September. Because we did.
This post - and my next - are a rare Bike Index double-whammy, chock full of amazing stolen bike recoveries.
In this edition:
Also: I'm going to ask for your help. Recall that Bike Index is a 501(c)(3) non profit and as the year comes to a close - we could really use your help.
It's pretty painful sometimes - we monitor serial bike thieves who fence stolen bikes online - and they're making more cash on a single stolen bike sale than we get in donations in a whole month. Even though we'll recover 40+ bikes, it seems that people just really don't want to pitch into this effort - even after we've helped them pull a bike-sized needle out of a city-sized haystack. I won't lie - it's pretty demoralizing sometimes to recover a $4000 bike and only get a $5 donation. But we love catching thieves and finding 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 recoveries:
"Saw the guy riding my bike followed him to a public location. Had a police officer flag him down. Showed them it was registered. They were very surprised because most people don't register but this proved I was the owner."
"This is Deputy (redacted), King County Sheriff's Office, Sound Transit Division. You bicycle was found at either a light rail station or a bus stop. Unfortunately, the wheels and the seat are missing, so it's just the frame."
"I found this bike outside my building yesterday, dumped by a delightful gentleman calling everyone a B****. I currently have it locked up in the garage in my building though we frequently have thefts & I'm not sure how long it will last."
"Hi, I think I just bought your bike off a guy down in Kent, WA. I can show you the listing to prove I was not the one who stole it ... I can get your bike back to you"
"A couple found it in the woods several cities away, looked up the serial number on the Bike Index, sent me an email with photos and we met up in a common area and they returned the bike."
"Its nice to know there are still some honest people in the world. A good man named Mike bought the bike at King County Surplus at auction. He checked the status of the bike at BikeIndex.org and found the serial number matched. So he got in touch with me. I have my bike back! Its a bit beat up but still works. Thanks Mike! Others - if you buy stuff at auction from the county or city - please be like Mike and check to see if it was stolen.."
"Found it on Craigslist and 'bought' it, told the seller it was stolen and got it back (did not pay anything for it)."
"Hello, good news! I am writing you from West End bikes to inform you that we have recovered your Ghost!"
"The good news first -- I have your bike. The bad news -- someone sold it to me on Kijiji. After buying it, I started wondering about the seller; a few things seemed suspicious, so I tried to find out whether it might have been stolen and finally found your ad. I will gladly return it to you."
"Hello, Wanted to pass along my contact info so we could talk about your stolen bike which was located. - Officer (Redacted)"
"Bike was listed on Kijiji, the person who bought the bike apparently had 2nd thoughts and called the police about it. Police returned it. There are good people in the world!??"
"Business owner found it and looked it up on Bike Index! They contacted me through here."
"I bought this bike at a garage sale in Milwaukee 2 weeks ago. I Googled the serial number and came across this listing..."
"Someone got the information from the Bike Index and contacted me. It's in bad shape, but I'm glad to have it back."
"A mechanic from Circle City Bicycles found it and returned it to me! So happy to have it back after more than four months!"
"We reported the bikes stolen to the police, on this site and all over facebook within 1 hour after we noticed they were missing. Unfortunately our Police Dept. did not load our serial numbers into the NCIC database, however when our Solitude (worth over $3k) showed up in a pawn shop, the owner felt like something was off and Googled the specs on the bike. This listing, from bikeindex.org showed up. He then contacted us and well as the police and this bike has now been recovered. 1,000,000 thanks to Kenny from Tooele and this site for helping us!"
"A good Samaritan purchased the frame and fork online. He contacted the manufacturer to get the frame specs. They informed him that it had been stolen, and he contacted me and returned the frame and fork."
"I have your bike, please call me..." (Ed: sometimes this is all the info we get, but, hey, we'll take it.)
"Just found your bike! yay. give me a call! -Officer Sanders" (of Portland's @ppbbiketheft)
"The frame was found outside WTF bikes. No fork just the frame. I noticed this was from 2011. Pretty beat up .."
"Found it at Laney College Flea Market in Oakland." (Ed: Laney Flea Market is a notorious site where stolen bikes are fenced. We sure would love it if the local Oakland gov't stepped up its enforcement here)
"Found the seller on OfferUp a day after the theft (what a find!), and set up a sting sale (quite a rush). The boyfriend of the seller showed up with some story about how he'd had it for years, bought it for $1,000, was moving away and so needed to sell it - for $300. Even less because the tire had popped recently. Its an $800, 2-year old bike. I told him it was stolen, and I was going to take it back. He questioned it for about 10 seconds until I flashed the receipt and offered to call the police and talk about it with them - he preferred to just give me the bike back. Had a buddy there for backup, which was a good idea because he didn't try anything with 2 on 1."
"I called the number associated with this stolen bike and reunited (redacted) with her stolen bike in person. I got the back story: She said she was out with a group of friends at the Alibi Tiki Lounge on Interstate and when they came back outside, 4 of their bikes had been stolen from the rack outside. Her friends thought that would definitely be the last they’d see their bikes. But Danielle reported hers on Bike Index, and was witness to the recovery when I cut the lock for her where it was left at Jamison Square. An unfortunate piece to the story is I strongly believe the questionable group of shady individuals milling around on a park bench near the bike may have had something to do with the bike being in one piece. When I first went to investigate, one immediately came up to me and mentioned how long the bike had been there, sort of offering his opinion of things. Then when I came back he said “did you find her?” to which I interjected “what do you mean “did I find her”? And then he said “I mean, her, him, whoever this belongs to”. I shrugged and said “what are you talking about, tell me more”. He said “I don’t know, did you find who this belongs to?” Later, when (Redacted) arrived, the group was watching and sort of heckling from the bench while I was cutting the lock. When the bike was free, another person got up into (redacted'd) face and started mocking her and harassing her. I interjected for them to back off. (redacted'd)told me the guy had said to her “hey, that’s my bike, what are you doing with it?”. Grrrr. My theory is that they were keeping watch on the bike for when a buyer would buy it off of the street, hence it not being picked apart yet. Hooray for bike registration! Booo for thieves!!!"
"I'm not sure what happened...All I know is the management building sent out an email that there was video footage of both the person letting the thief into my building and of the thief taking the bike. I go to the bike storage this morning to take pictures and there's my bike. Thrown on the ground without it's front tire (which is hanging from the wall)."
"It was found abandoned in a school playground (then identified in the Bike Index)"
"The KCSO Bees found my bike! Stolen at 4:45 pm, offficers found and went out of their way to return it by 8:30! If it wasn't for Bike Index I don't think I would seen my bike again!"
"Found by a Good Samaritan (and identified in the Bike Index)"
"The police are still trying to locate the person who had the bike. I actually found the listing on Craigslist for someone who owned a stereo and outdoor gear store who told me that he was offered the bike and he believed it was stolen and he helped me retrieve it when they returned the next day. Others on (Bike Index) notified me of the Jet 9 in the area."
"I am not sure how this works, but I own a bike shop and this bike just came in..."
We posted about this bike, and then the @ppbbiketheft guys realized they had it ... "Thanks for the info! I think we just located this bike! Have the owner contact us."
Hey, I think I found your bike. I contacted UoP, thanks to the bike registration number on it. We stashed it in a neighbors yard, in case the thief came back for it. It's in SE Portland.
Spotted for sale online on LetGo ... I know its missing a couple of things ...
"Someone found on the street, and located us via Bike Index"
"The Marin County Sheriff's department recovered the bike. It was found on the back of an abandoned car in the middle of Novato. Suspect has yet to be identified, truly though, it is a huge relief to get the bike back. The bike was identified within an hour of the case being sent out to multiple agencies across Northern California. It has been quite the 24 hours! :D"
"Posted for sale on OfferUp. Set up a meet and took a "test ride". Met owner down the block, along with Minneapolis Police."
"Hi! I found the bike you registered at BikeIndex.org at a pawn shop in Vancouver, WA. I was excited because it is a Novara Strada and happened to be my size. I went back a second time after looking up stolen Novara's in my area on Bike Index, and saw that the serial numbers matched. I informed one of the pawn shop staff that the bike had been registered as stolen and gave him a copy of the police report number. I am not sure how this is handled at this point..."
"Thanks to Bike Index, police were able to recover my bike within one week of it being stolen! The officer who found it said there's no way he would've been able to do it without Bike Index. Thank you folks SO much for making and sustaining this resource, I can't sufficiently express how grateful I am to have my beloved bike back!"
"Our Friends at the PSU Bike Hub because they saw your posts!!! Thank you so much!!"
"The San Francisco Police found it in conjunction with some other crime (not sure the details). They tracked it down on Bike Index and contacted me."
"I'm 100% sure I've found your bike and would like to get it back to you. It was donated to the program I work for, YBike, from MUNI's unclaimed lost and found some time ago. The bikes typically go to our high-school Earn-a-Bike clubs, but we didn't have any youth interested in it. It seemed like a pretty special rig and worth putting an extra effort into finding it's owner, despite it lacking any registry tags" - Later, from the owner: "We are thrilled to see that my girlfriend’s bike has been found, and in pretty good shape! After this bike was stolen during her solo USA cycling trip last year, we bought and identical second hand bike in Holland, with which she could continue her four month journey from SF via Seattle to Yellowstone NP."
"Someone found it and stored it in their classroom then after a while found me here on bikeindex.org!"
"It's been really difficult dealing with the police and pawn shop. Currently the pawn shop still have it and I am trying to get it released to me. (Later) Bought it back from the pawn shop it was sold to, as (police) were useless in assisting with releasing my stolen bike (from the pawn shop)."
And that's a wrap for September!
Be sure to check out our October recoveries, too ...