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Old 07-15-08, 01:21 PM   #1
deaonerox
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Stolen Bike allegation at my LBS

So, I'm cruisin around Craigslist looking for bike parts and other deals like I normally do. I found a post warning other CListers of a guy who they say they bought two bikes from which, after a serial number check, they discovered were stolen.

At the time I bought a Schwinn from him abouth three months ago, the guy was working out of his basement and because I like the way he does business (helpful, informative, patient, knowledgeable, and charismatic) I refer many of my friends to him. Now he's opened a shop, which I've visited and hope to volunteer at because I believe in his work and want to support his business. At the same time, I was looking forward to furthering my own knowledge of bicycle repair and maintenance.

I am shocked at the what's been posted and don't really wanna believe it.

What are other peoples experiences with CL, stolen bikes, and their LBS? Could it be a fluke? What is the responsibility of the LBS guy to make sure his goods are legitimate? How does one run a serial number check?
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Old 07-15-08, 01:32 PM   #2
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To my knowledge the serial number check can only be run by the local police department, and by the manufacturer when the bike is registered. I may be wrong though.
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Old 07-15-08, 01:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by deaonerox View Post
...What are other peoples experiences with CL, stolen bikes, and their LBS? Could it be a fluke? What is the responsibility of the LBS guy to make sure his goods are legitimate? How does one run a serial number check?
It happens a lot in London. The established criminal practice is to use any or all of Brick Lane market in the East end, Gumtree website and various pawn shops to sell on stolen goods. There's at least one bicycle shop, with a similar history to your story, in London's East end that is also rumored to deal in stolen bikes. Most legitimate bike shops in London will neither buy nor advertise second hand bikes, fortunately any that do are very few and far between.

Try taking the bike in question for a test ride, then copy the serial number out of sight from the shop. When you buy a new bike you can register the serial number with the UK police and insurance agents. AFAIK, if the bike then turns up during a police search it will be returned to you.
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Old 07-15-08, 02:02 PM   #4
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Do u know this CL guy? Am not saying he's lying but u should not believe everything at first read, this could had been a disgruntled customer, happends everyday. Plus, I don't believe there is a universal way to check S/N, so a busy shopkeeper may not discover the source of his merchandise. An expensive classic, Italian worth thousands, OK, he should had checked with the frame maker.
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Old 07-15-08, 02:51 PM   #5
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You might check how he takes second hand bikes, if he takes them no questions asked, it might be a good idea not to be associated with him.
If he asks for photo ID, and a full postal address for the person he's getting the bike off, then it's less likely he'll get a criminal element coming to him.

But then if he's running around with bolt cutters and a set of lockpicks... Well you should know what to do in that situation.

It's been pointed out that it could be hard to do checks to make sure the bikes aren't stolen.
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Old 07-15-08, 03:04 PM   #6
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I don't know how all these things work, but they do periodically have auctions of unclaimed bikes at police impounds. Is there any guarantee that those numbers get removed from the listings of stolen bikes (if any)?
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Old 07-15-08, 03:27 PM   #7
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Thanks everybody. Here's the *Original CL Thread*:

"DO NOT BUY FROM *** IN ***!!!! HE SELLS STOLEN BIKES! WE BOUGHT 2 BIKES FROM HIM AND RAN A SEARCH FOR OF THE SERIAL NUMBERS AND BOTH CAME UP STOLEN. ONE WAS POSTED ON STOLENBIKES. WE CONTACTED THE PERSON WHOS IT WAS AND RETURNED IT , THE OTHER WAS GIVEN TO THE CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR RETURN. wE HAVE GIVEN THE POLICE HIS NUMBER AND THEY TOLD US THEY ARE GOING AFTER HIM, UNTIL THEN DONOT SUPPORT THIS CRIMINAL!!!!! HE TOLD US HE WAS GOING TO OPEN A SHOP CALLED *** IN ***IN jULY SOMETIME. SHAME ON CRUMINALS LIKE THIS!!!!
JUST AN FYI!!!!

CHERYL G."



I posted that because I wanted you to see how the plot thickens:

"Its true, I bought a bike last year from him and found out a week later he filed the serial number (allegedly) from the bottom of the bike.(he put a sticker over it) I wasnt sure what to do as I should have checked that, I donated it to working bikes and then purchased another from *** at *** on Milwaukee. he seems to be legit

*** ***!!!! THAT THEIF!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FLAG HIS *** WHENEVER YOU SEE HIM POST!!!!!!!!! And if he did open a shop DO NOT PATRONIZE IT!!!!"


And finally:

"Not sure if its true, but people are saying he sells stolen bikes (address). Call him at ****"


How much does that suck! I mean from so many angles. I just finished making a resume so I can work there! Should I approach him about it? Seems kinda bold to open a bike shop full of stolen bikes. What's the occurance of stolen bikes at other second hand shops? If I buy a bike and its stolen, does that make me someone who buys stolen bikes? Well, yes. But does that make me a criminal?

I'm just so disgusted.
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Old 07-15-08, 03:34 PM   #8
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"wE HAVE GIVEN THE POLICE HIS NUMBER AND THEY TOLD US THEY ARE GOING AFTER HIM,"

IF this is really true, why not verify it with the PD?
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Old 07-15-08, 03:49 PM   #9
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Could you ask him what he does when he does not personally know the person offering him a bike. My old LBS in Denver spotted a guy who just did not seem to fit with the bike he was trying to sell. With the clerk stalling the manager, Gene Keifel, called the local cops. Yep, stolen. The Wheat Ridge police got there about the same time the owner was being given the good news.
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Old 07-15-08, 03:53 PM   #10
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Yeah. I may or may not, because he's always on CL, so any questions I ask, he'll know what I'm getting at. Plus, I left my sunglasses at his shop. I'll need to go over there eventually, but it'll be hard to act like I don't know anything.

It's kinda like learning Santa Clause isn't real.
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Old 07-15-08, 07:23 PM   #11
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In my opinion, Craigs list is ebay for crooks. The cost to sell goods on ebay is minimal, the exposure is tremendous. Craigslist is worth what is paid for it. Why use it? Your can remain anonymous, rarely photos, almost never locality and details. Ebay allows for pics, details, etc.

I was shopping for commercial lawn equipment in Atlanta, some deals seemed too good to be true. When I asked for specific details and to meet the individual, all contacts ceased. I believe that all the equipment was stolen and they were afraid.

I have over 160 transactions on ebay and never have been stiffed. I study, check details and watch for scams.

Sorry, but I will never support craigslist for anything...........
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Old 07-15-08, 08:10 PM   #12
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In my opinion, Craigs list is ebay for crooks.
Ebay is Ebay for crooks. Craigslist is newspaper classifieds for the internet.


It's only as secure as you make it. The newspaper (or in this case, website) doesn't handle security for you.

I've bought a computer from CL, and it was as good as I was expecting; and I've sold a piano with zero problems.

Of course if you try to treat CL like a free eBay, you're an idiot anyway-- they're completely different sites, meant to fill completely different needs and be used in completely different ways.
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Old 07-15-08, 08:50 PM   #13
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Ebay is Ebay for crooks. Craigslist is newspaper classifieds for the internet.


It's only as secure as you make it. The newspaper (or in this case, website) doesn't handle security for you.

I've bought a computer from CL, and it was as good as I was expecting; and I've sold a piano with zero problems.

Of course if you try to treat CL like a free eBay, you're an idiot anyway-- they're completely different sites, meant to fill completely different needs and be used in completely different ways.
+1
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Old 07-15-08, 09:58 PM   #14
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Sorry to be blunt, but what is so f'ing hard about asking the guy about the stuff going down on craigslist? Either he convinces you he's innocent enough that you work for him, or he doesn't convince you and you don't work for him. Acknowledging something you read online that is obviously of high concern is not something that reflects badly on you.
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Old 07-16-08, 05:45 AM   #15
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Sorry to be blunt, but what is so f'ing hard about asking the guy about the stuff going down on craigslist? Either he convinces you he's innocent enough that you work for him, or he doesn't convince you and you don't work for him. Acknowledging something you read online that is obviously of high concern is not something that reflects badly on you.
I'm nonconfrontational, that's why.
I wanted to see how things played out. And apparently the posts weren't true and posted by a competitor. He responded but everything was flagged and removed before I could read it personally.

There are 6 shops within a two mile readius, so I guess people have to cheat in order to stay ahead of the competition.
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Old 07-16-08, 01:14 PM   #16
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I'll call BS on the CL ad. If I bought a bike and found it to be stolen I'd go to the guy who sold it to me first then I'd go to police second.

Whos pays good money for 2 bikes only to find out they're stolen then gives both away?

Odds are the CL poster is a LBS thats pizzed because the guys opening a shop. Dont get me wrong, I'm as a big a cynic as them come, I know shady things happen on CL but I doubt this story.
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Old 07-16-08, 01:57 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by deaonerox View Post
Thanks everybody. Here's the *Original CL Thread*:

"DO NOT BUY FROM *** IN ***!!!! HE SELLS STOLEN BIKES! WE BOUGHT 2 BIKES FROM HIM AND RAN A SEARCH FOR OF THE SERIAL NUMBERS AND BOTH CAME UP STOLEN. ONE WAS POSTED ON STOLENBIKES. WE CONTACTED THE PERSON WHOS IT WAS AND RETURNED IT , THE OTHER WAS GIVEN TO THE CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR RETURN. wE HAVE GIVEN THE POLICE HIS NUMBER AND THEY TOLD US THEY ARE GOING AFTER HIM, UNTIL THEN DONOT SUPPORT THIS CRIMINAL!!!!! HE TOLD US HE WAS GOING TO OPEN A SHOP CALLED *** IN ***IN jULY SOMETIME. SHAME ON CRUMINALS LIKE THIS!!!!
JUST AN FYI!!!!

CHERYL G."
All caps and multiple exclamation points. Clearly the product of a diseased mind.


Quote:
"Its true, I bought a bike last year from him and found out a week later he filed the serial number (allegedly) from the bottom of the bike.(he put a sticker over it) I wasnt sure what to do as I should have checked that, I donated it to working bikes and then purchased another from *** at *** on Milwaukee. he seems to be legit

*** ***!!!! THAT THEIF!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FLAG HIS *** WHENEVER YOU SEE HIM POST!!!!!!!!! And if he did open a shop DO NOT PATRONIZE IT!!!!"
Managed to write like a human being for a while, then lapsed into all caps and LOTS of multiple exclamation points. If you squint just right, this one might have a speck of credibility.


Quote:
"Not sure if its true, but people are saying he sells stolen bikes (address). Call him at ****"
"I don't know if he's guilty or not, but here's a phone number to harass him at."

Can't say I'm ready to take any of 'em at their word...
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Old 07-16-08, 06:45 PM   #18
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I'm going with the "I have the only bike shop in this neighborhood. Who does this *****IN***** think he is? I'll fix his wagon" angle.

If you call the police, and tell them you bought a stolen bike, they sure as heck aren't going to say "We're going after him!" The might tell you they will look into it. They have to do a little investigative work before they can "go after" someone.

I think the current bike shop just wants to make opening another shop hard on him.
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