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Old 09-05-10, 11:23 AM   #1
Citoyen du Monde
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Return of stolen material

I had a late 80's bike stolen from a locked garage just over 10 years ago. I reported the theft to the police and included a description that categorically identified it as being my bike (it was custom built with custom paint scheme and had nemerous components that are very rare on their own but totally unique when all fitted together on one single bike). The bike is now on an online auction site. Through a friend, I am presently the high bidder and will be at the end of the auction. Does anybody know how one needs to act in these cases?

The bike is already at over $1000, so it is easy to recognize that this is not your average bike.
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Old 09-05-10, 11:26 AM   #2
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I guess I'd try to get the police involved. Is the bike still fairly local to you? Was there an insurance adjustment when the bike was stolen?
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Old 09-05-10, 11:42 AM   #3
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I would say to get the police involved, best of luck
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Old 09-05-10, 11:45 AM   #4
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Pick up in person, with police in tow, if possible.
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Old 09-05-10, 11:48 AM   #5
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Im sure its a long shot but is there a chance that the seller is the original "thief"
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Old 09-05-10, 11:50 AM   #6
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I guess I'd try to get the police involved. Is the bike still fairly local to you? Was there an insurance adjustment when the bike was stolen?
Very good point there. If the insurance paid you for the bike, the bike belongs to the insurance company. But I ain't gonna tell any insurance company the way we all get (ahem) on rates. You most likely will not be able to insure the bike when you recover it.

As for getting police involved. What good? Perhaps the seller bought the bike in good faith. Could the police take possession of it as stolen goods? And if so, what good does that do Steve? The bike belongs to the insurance company if he was paid for it. If only the bike could talk.

When you recover it, please share it with us.
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Old 09-05-10, 11:52 AM   #7
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I would think the seller would have to surrender the bike at no cost as he/she is in possession of stolen property. Only thing that might be variable if the seller can prove they were not involved in the theft and had obtained the property in good faith from maybe the actual stealer of the bike. It will determine if the seller might be charged with a crime or not.

Good luck!, hope the bike's still in good shape. 10 year's a long time.

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Old 09-05-10, 11:55 AM   #8
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Now that's a dilemma - there are so many angles here it's hard to pick just one course of action...

I too will be watching this thread to see how it shakes out. With four bikes stolen (and only one recovered) over the years, I am really hoping it works out for you!
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Old 09-05-10, 11:59 AM   #9
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what are you waiting for??? call the cops!

you can insure bikes????? how?
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Old 09-05-10, 12:18 PM   #10
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There is no insurance involved as it was not possible at that time to insure my bikes. I am no where near the bike. I will be getting the police officially involved as soon as they can get me a copy of the police report. I discarded the report after 7 years, but the police said that they should be able to get me a copy of the document.

It will be odd to see how this plays out.

PS: What would a fair reward be if the seller proves that he bought the bike in good faith and will return my bike? His cost and perhaps $50...
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Old 09-05-10, 12:44 PM   #11
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If the police are involved and you have the report and can prove it is yours then they'll confiscate it book it and return to you. Done. The owner now probably bought it a long time ago, and it's changed hands so much the police won;t charge him so it'll be a surrender. Sucks if he paid $1000 for it years ago.

All of us that buy and sell bikes better pay attention. As much as we hate thievery all of us would be pissed if our pride and joy De Rosa or Paramount we paid $1000 for were confiscated and returned after being stolen over 10 years or more ago.

Most thieves don't snatch high end bikes, ride or store them for a decade and only then try to make a few bucks off them.
So don't be so quick to judge the seller. Hopefully, the return of the bike will make you so happy that you'll be willing to pay, heck, 1/2 or more of the fair market value. How many of us have said "what i wouldn't give to get my old _____ bike back"

$.02

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 09-05-10, 12:53 PM   #12
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It makes no difference if the seller bought it "in good faith". If it's stolen property, it's his loss if you can prove it's yours.
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Old 09-05-10, 01:05 PM   #13
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Crappy deal all-around really. If you had all the proof you needed, why bother with the shill bids? If I were the seller (and not the thief) I'd leave negative feedback for you. Hopefully the cops pay to have it shipped.
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Old 09-05-10, 01:22 PM   #14
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If it is ebay... papal will refund the BUYER... as the seller was selling stolen goods...

hurry up with the cops... before a buyer has to deal with all the bull****....

The buyer of the bike may get pulled over sooner or later.... etiher way... the bike will be returned to you... either now or 20 or 30 years later... it is stolen.

just like the Corvette that was stolen 60 years ago...they found it when the new owner was trying to sell it.. it was returned to its owner..
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Old 09-05-10, 01:46 PM   #15
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It makes no difference if the seller bought it "in good faith". If it's stolen property, it's his loss if you can prove it's yours.
This is correct. Not sure how statute of limitations may or may not play into this.

When I was working in a bike shop, a person came in offering a Motobecane Grand Record at a very good price. I was interested, but after checking the serial number in our shop records determined that we had sold the bike a few years back. I called the buyer who said he had the bike stolen during a home burglary. The person who brought the bike in had purchased it from the thief.

In the end the bike was returned to the owner and the person who offered me the bike for sale was out the bike and whatever he paid for it.
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Old 09-05-10, 01:56 PM   #16
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Crappy deal all-around really. If you had all the proof you needed, why bother with the shill bids? If I were the seller (and not the thief) I'd leave negative feedback for you. Hopefully the cops pay to have it shipped.
sellers can't really do that any more. Plus if they said bad things about you, you could just explain that the bike was stolen from you
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Old 09-05-10, 02:08 PM   #17
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the only reason that I asked about insurance involvement is that the police seem to be much less interested if there has been a previous settlement. There is probably a statute of limitation on the theft itself, but if you can prove that the bike was yours and was stolen then there isn't a statute of limitations on ownership (Egypt and their antiquities acts is a really good example).
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Old 09-05-10, 02:31 PM   #18
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this thread is making me a bit nervous. I seriously need to sit down record my serial numbers and look into insurance. not that any one bike is uber rare but a total loss would be devastating.
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Old 09-05-10, 03:14 PM   #19
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It makes no difference if the seller bought it "in good faith". If it's stolen property, it's his loss if you can prove it's yours.
You are undoubtedly correct. I was making the point that it should not be assumed the seller was also the thief. Made it rather poorly if I do say so myself.
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Old 09-05-10, 03:32 PM   #20
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Whether the seller was the thief or not I'm sure the statute of limitations is up on the theft. The seller could be charged with possession of stolen property, but you (or local prosecutor) would have to show the seller knew or should have known the bike was stolen.

To the OP I wouldn't keep bidding on your bike. I would notify the seller that the bike is stolen and that you have contacted your local police for the report and you are will forward that report on to the seller's local police. Keep of copy of this transaction. I would also print out the ebay page and seller information. Once you advise him the bike is stolen youi don't know what he is going to do, but if he should sell it then you have information to prove that he knew it was stolen and had possession of it.
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Old 09-05-10, 03:40 PM   #21
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There is no insurance involved as it was not possible at that time to insure my bikes....
Bike are generally covered under homeowner's or renter's insurance. I collected on my homeowner's insurance in 1983 on a bike that was stolen. I still ride the bike I purchased with the settlement.
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Old 09-05-10, 03:53 PM   #22
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Since the statute of limitations has run, it is questionable the police will even agree to get involved, but give it a try. I think you might want to complete the auction. When the seller identifies themselves, advise that the bike is stolen. Send them the police report. When they tell you to pound sand, sue them in small claims court for what is technically called conversion. In most states the limitations period on conversion doesn't start until you find out who has your property. But check the law in the place the bike currently resides.
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Old 09-05-10, 04:00 PM   #23
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Bike are generally covered under homeowner's or renter's insurance. I collected on my homeowner's insurance in 1983 on a bike that was stolen. I still ride the bike I purchased with the settlement.
they my be covered under you homeowners but for how much and what can be debatable. if your bike is locked outside of dunkers and someone backs over it and leaves you may be out of luck or you only get $200 for you recently repainted Herse or Hetchins

I was chatting with an agnet a few weeks ago and you need a blanket policy for the collection and then riders for the best bikes for cost of replacement. however after chatting with a classic car buff you may end up where yes the bike is insured but you can't ride it.
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Old 09-05-10, 04:09 PM   #24
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I'm not sure I'd complete the auction as its a binding contract in which the high bidder is obligated to pay. If the statute of limitations is up CdM may be obligated to purchse his own bike.
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Old 09-05-10, 05:17 PM   #25
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Doesn't the fact that a police report was filed back when the theft occurred make the statute of limitations moot?
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