Not a single day went by in September when we weren't recovering bikes or working on simultaneous recoveries. September was one of our busiest months in a long time - it is as if the thieves are getting in one last big hurrah before the weather turns cold.
In this month's edition:
As always - before we begin - I have a quick favor to ask:
1) Please tell your local bike shop about the Bike Index! We always have great recoveries thanks to our bike shop partners - and we could always use more.
2) Haven't registered your bikes yet? Seriously ... what are you waiting for? Please register ASAP - and please tell your friends.
3) Are your local cops using Bike Index yet? If not, why not? We're free, effective, and have special resources available just for law enforcement. Have them get in touch, we'd love to talk.
Thanks everybody! Keep your bikes safe!
Gents from Abraham's Fixes Bikes in Portland saw it, threw a lock on it, and called the police. The "perp" upon discovery of the lock, took the front wheel and jetted. Bike Index and the great bike folks in Portland do it again!
Bike was recovered - turned into Stafford County Sheriff's Office, id'd and returned :)
Portland Bike Theft Task Force recovered my bike this morning on the Portland waterfront! See this tweet from @ppbbiketheft
"An observer downtown saw my bicycle was listed on Bike Index and called the Portland Bureau of Police, who made the arrest and released my bicycle to me :)"
"Someone found my stolen bike, ID'd it, and returned it to me! Very fortunate! Thanks ... "
Bike was purchased, checked it at the time and it came back clean. Days later, it pops up as stolen, and is then returned. "I'm a bike guy and believe in karma..." says the finder.
Another score from SF's very successful and very busy @SFbikebandits who have been running around SF, ID'ing and pulling bikes back for a few months. We're looking forward to seeing what they have coming up for SF in the future!
"I placed a link to my stolen bike's Bike Index listing on local cycling club pages. A detective here had already found my bike and was posting on one, trying to locate an owner. Others on the page recognized the connection between our two posts and linked us together. I had my bike back in less than 48 hours from when it was stolen!"
"I contacted SPD - I purchased your bike :( give me a call"
Yet another "Hello, I bought your bike, didn't realize it was stolen until a year later, sorry!" stories - but summed up nicely in this blog post by the owner (LinkedIn Blog, login required) - "Long story short, this kind, generous, fellow cyclist made my day. Bike Index made it possible. I cannot thank them enough, which is why I'm writing this post to illustrate that this process works. I'm loving the ride, and grateful for it."
Recovery by a fellow cyclist who stumbled upon a Seattle encampment with this stolen Cervélo soloist: "I came upon a dude wearing snowboard boots and 7 layers of clothing fiddling with two bikes. It was pretty obvious that this guy didn't have any idea what he had and that the bike was stolen ... He didn't really put up much of a fuss and I rode home with the bike. Within 2 minutes of posting it on Facebook we found the guy on your site and he just picked it up!"
"A friend of a friend of a friend saw a sketchy looking dude riding around and realized it wasn't right..."
" Someone bought it in a flea market down in San Jose, saw it posted here on BikeIndex.org, and then reached out. :) Got the frame back that but's the heart of a bike. "
" Purchased from the thief by a guy that tunes & flips bikes. Upon seeing the serial number listed on Bike Index, he contacted me and returned the bike!"
" I went to (an SF homeless encampment) after receiving your message, and I saw the frame with my custom windshield so I knew it was definitely mine. I called the cops, reported the situation and the fact that there is at least 20 bike frames and lots of bike parts... I really appreciated your help, you and the Bike Index community are really an awesome moral support..."
"Recovered via Web sleuthing (stolen bike posted on OfferUpNow) and partnership with the Portland Bike Theft Task Force."
"Found at the Berkeley Bart Bike Station, in cooperation with Berkeley Police. Contacted me as a result of registering serial number in Bike Index ..."
"The person who stole it tried to sell it on the street; the buyer, a good guy, guessed that the bike was stolen so he bought it; he looked on-line and learned that it was my bike..."
"Someone came into Kozy's Cyclery to get the spokes fixed after they were cut (when it was stolen). The mechanic thought it looked fishy and looked up on the Bike Index and saw my posting. They called the police, the police called me and shared with me the news they found my bike! I was just about to file a claim to buy a new one when they called! Great luck."
"Earlier this week I was riding my bike and saw a homeless guy with a titanium mountain bike. He was working with it and it looked out of place. I thought to myself, I would hope that if my bike was stolen and someone seeing it might figure out a way to get it back to me. So I asked the guy about it & I looked at it pretty closely ... (redacted) .... I took it home and punched the serial number into Bike Index and lo & behold the bike was stolen in Eugene back in July... "
"Someone brought it into Bay Area Bikes for a tune-up, they ID'd it from the BikeIndex.org posting, and then the police brought it back to me! If it weren't for this site, I would never have gotten it back - thank you so much!!!"
"Hi my name is (redacted )and today I purchased your bike for $200. I ran the serial number and found out it was stolen..."
"Police found my bike abandoned, looked it up in the Bike Index and reached out to me via email..."
"Hello, My name is (redacted) at (redacted) Seattle. We have your bike in the shop. It was brought in by a sketchy looking character. Please contact me at the store...."
"Homeless encampment @ 3rd & Potrero (in SF) ... " Bike Index notes how successful our SF spotters are doing in SF by taking photos of suspect bikes and encampments and tweeting them to our SF twitter feed, @stolenbikessfo
"Hello, this evening I purchased few bikes from some crackheads for cheap with intention of finding their rightful owners and I believe one of them belongs to you ... call me"
"A woman contacted me after discovering that bike someone was trying to sell her was my stolen Bianchi. She looked up the serial number on the Bike Index and found me! "
"My bike was stolen and came up for sale online ... I was able to bait them into taking to a bike shop to get checked out. They confirmed it was my bike, we called the cops, the bad guys ran away, and I have my bike back. Hopefully, that's the end to it ..."
"Someone from Bike Index notified me of a posting (of my stolen bike) on OfferupNow.com. I then coordinated with local police and setup a sting and got my bike back. The perp was taken away in handcuffs. Thank you Bike Index for your thankless work!"
"Yes!! It was fast! And, Bike Index helped immensely! The officer recovered it from a known offender ... He actually recovered it before my bike was officially reported (it took a couple hours for officers to make it to my house to get the information). This morning, he checked Bike Index and connected me with my bike! I'm so thankful for Officer Conway and Bike Index!!" The Bike Index notes here how much they really, really want a Faraday. Please, @Faradaybikes ... please give the Bike Index a Porteur :)
"Found my bike listed on OfferUpNow.com. Coordinated a meet up with thief and cops ..."
"A Portland Police bureau detective matched my stolen bike on BikeIndex.org ..."
"I had three different people contact me about this online sale based on my Bike Index listing... The Boston police asked me to set up a meeting with the (online) seller. They went with me, verified the serial number, and returned my bicycle."
A very long and convoluted story involving shipping fraud. We now have the thief's name and info, however: "Hood River police ... left voicemails to the thief, threatening a warrant on 2 felony counts. They gave him 24 hours to return the bike and we received a phone call the next day from a third party (to recover the bike)"
"... one of the members of the Bike Index recovered it and brought it home to me ..."
"A neighbor told the family who found my bike about Bike Index and they looked me up! My bike had made it all the way across town. It was such a good surprise and a good story."
"Hi I think I accidentally bought your stolen devinci minus yesterday. Please call me..." Then:" I just called and spoke to (redacted). The serial matches my stolen bike. My accessories like my Garmin, toolbag and mudguards are also there... I will divulge more details later but as I would not like to compromise the investigation. (Other high value bikes bikes were stolen from our complex the same night)"
"I officially got my bike back today and wanted to send my sincerest thanks to Bike Index for making it happen. It was stolen a year ago and I never thought I would see it again. Bike Index member DR saw my bike on a local police auction site, sent me an email through my Bike Index posting and the rest is history. Thanks for the great service you provide and for helping me recover my bike!"
"A really rad member of the Portland community saw my bike and contacted me through Bike Index. I had my bike back an hour later. I've had this bike for 14 years, so I'm really happy to have it back! Bryan and the Bike Index team was super helpful with keeping me up to date throughout the 4 days it was missing. Thanks to the team and all of the people of Portland who helped return my bike to me!"
"A bike mechanic at SF Caltrain thought it looked suspicious ... They looked it up and called me!"
"I found someone selling it on OfferUpNow.com. I tried to get ahold of them, but they never responded. So I contacted OfferUp and the cops - and posted the link on a Facebook group for our neighborhood. The first person that responded on FB was the seller’s mother. She said she'd find out if it was my bike and get back to me. I sent her here so she could verify the serial number. It was my bike, and she ended up giving it back."
"Someone here on Bike Index tipped me off that it was at a certain address. I found it there, called the cops, and they searched the yard. They gave my bike back to me, and seized other stolen bikes from the yard. Thank you Bike Index and good Samaritan tip person! " (Bike Index notes: if you're going to chop bikes and generally annoy your neighbors, you should probably stop leaving your collection of stolen goods where those neighbors can see them.)
Another stolen cargo bike in SF - many folks spotted this on and off for weeks but it was this tweet that lead to the recovery: "Bike successfully recovered! Totally trashed, but frame appears to be in one piece so that's something. Thanks for your help in letting me know about the sighting! And for the awesomeness that is Bike Index :) Twitter users noticed bike in possession of a homeless guy in the Bayview neighborhood of SF, identified it from Bike Index listing and posted it. SFPD Bayview station were notified and made the recovery."
So! I'll leave you with one crazy stat about all these stolen bikes:
We ran a quick estimate on the total est value of all these recovered bikes, using online sources and resale data - and because of some of the real stand-outs in here (the cargo bikes, the Faraday, that Blue AC1 SL Limited Edition etc) our best guess estimate says we helped recover over $60,000 in stolen bikes in September.
Think about that. $60k in bikes, and we're not even touching a fraction of a fraction of what we could be doing here.
And that's it! Not a bad month!