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Old 08-25-08, 01:34 PM   #1
ocz800
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How do stolen bikes get unloaded?

I've wondered this for a while - 1 whole day. What do thieves do with stolen bikes. I would assume any smart thief wouldn't immediately try to flip on ebay or craigslist for risk of getting caught. My initial thought is that thieves probably ship bikes to other states to sell at used LBS. But that is pretty big time theft. What about small bike thieves? Yes, i understand they can be that dumb, but how often are they getting caught?
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Old 08-25-08, 01:39 PM   #2
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The craigslilst prices around here are so low, I'm convinced many are hot bikes. A few friends have told me sellers often want to meet you at a parking lot so you won't get their address. bk
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Old 08-25-08, 02:50 PM   #3
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I suspect a lot of ads that I see on Craigslist as well. There are always ads for a bike that costs $20 or $30 and the seller wants to meet the buyer at a subway station. These have probably just been lifted and need to be unloaded for quick cash, even if it's far less than what the bike is actually worth. It's still free money for the thief.

The big-time thieves can be a bit more organized, although sometimes they just bite off more than they can chew. In June a Toronto bike shop owner was caught paying someone to steal a bike for him, and in connection with that arrest the police recovered almost three thousand bikes from sheds and warehouses belonging to this guy. Some of them were recovered by their original owners and had been missing for several years, so the mastermind was just stashing them away and not doing anything with them at all.
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Old 08-25-08, 03:18 PM   #4
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I remember this car shop in my old hometown used to do that too. They'd pay kids to steal back the stereo equipment they just installed in then re sell it back in their shop. I think they sell the bikes in shady flea markets too.
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Old 08-25-08, 03:31 PM   #5
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I suspect a lot of ads that I see on Craigslist as well. There are always ads for a bike that costs $20 or $30 and the seller wants to meet the buyer at a subway station. These have probably just been lifted and need to be unloaded for quick cash, even if it's far less than what the bike is actually worth. It's still free money for the thief.

The big-time thieves can be a bit more organized, although sometimes they just bite off more than they can chew. In June a Toronto bike shop owner was caught paying someone to steal a bike for him, and in connection with that arrest the police recovered almost three thousand bikes from sheds and warehouses belonging to this guy. Some of them were recovered by their original owners and had been missing for several years, so the mastermind was just stashing them away and not doing anything with them at all.
Yea I read that on NYTimes.com. That was crazy. Here's a link.
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Old 08-25-08, 03:35 PM   #6
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Flea Markets, Craigs List, Flea Bay, Pawn shops, Thrift shops, dumpsters, creeks, road side ditches...and I am sure the list goes on. I have had several bikes stolen over the years...only managed to recover one, and I had to fight the police over it.

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Old 08-25-08, 03:55 PM   #7
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If you look at the numbers, probably the majority of bikes stolen are cheapo bikes that wind up being ridden until they're unrideable or wind up being discarded in a day or two, and thence to the police auctions.
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Old 08-25-08, 03:57 PM   #8
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Scrap metal.
Many are sold for just a few dollars as scrap.
The metal recycling industry is asinine, facilitating junkies who have been gutting homes and stealing bikes for years.
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Old 08-25-08, 04:15 PM   #9
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Just the other day, some punk came up to me in the parking lot asking if I wanted to buy gold chains.
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Old 08-25-08, 06:55 PM   #10
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People are greedy. A lot of folks would buy a bike for ten cents on the dollar even if they knew it was stolen.

Think of your dream bike. Imagine it cost $1,200. Now, imagine some guy offers you one for $100, giving you some bull**** story about needing money for groceries. That's temptation. He could be telling the truth, you never know...

I bought some stolen tools, about 20 years ago. A beautiful socket set from Sears that had just been shoplifted. The crackhead said $20.00, I offered $15.00. Done deal. The price from Sears was $120+. I was poor at the time. Not an excuse. Not a justification. Just a convergence of facts.

I do wonder what hapened to my Dad's early 60s Continental that was stolen from me in high school. I had to ride a 3 speed Raliegh women's bike for the rest of the year. Birth control on two wheels, it was.
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Old 08-26-08, 04:53 AM   #11
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I do wonder what hapened to my Dad's early 60s Continental that was stolen from me in high school. I had to ride a 3 speed Raliegh women's bike for the rest of the year. Birth control on two wheels, it was.
I'm still hopeful on recovering my treasured late 60's Schwinn Varsity. Blue with white bar tape and a Brooks saddle. Was lifted from the front porch 30+ years ago.
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Old 08-26-08, 05:58 AM   #12
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Here the police encourage you to engrave your driver's licence number under the bottom bracket. The flaw here is you have to be a licensed driver. They occasionally have open days -- you take your bike along to the local cop shop and have it engraved.

This only helps if your bike is recovered by the police which, from the above comments, seems to be unlikely.
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Old 08-26-08, 07:13 AM   #13
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Here the police encourage you to engrave your driver's licence number under the bottom bracket. The flaw here is you have to be a licensed driver. They occasionally have open days -- you take your bike along to the local cop shop and have it engraved.

This only helps if your bike is recovered by the police which, from the above comments, seems to be unlikely.
And they take the time to run the numbers and if the data base still exists. I am not real keen on having my DL number where it can be easily located. We used to have a nifty registration system around here back in the 70's and 80's. When you registered they stamped your sticker number into the bottom bracket and you got a nice reflective sticker to put on you seat post along with a brochure of bike laws and rules. Being young an naive at the time...I drank the koolaid. I believe that all but one of my registered bikes was stolen at some point. (still have that frameset BTW) I inquired a few months ago about the fate of the database and no one has a clue if it even still exists. If it does it most likely is in some archaic computer language that is irretrievable. As antedoctal evidence...a friend of mine has his HUGE Schwinn Conti stolen. He saw it at the police sale a couple of years later, the registration sticker was still on it. He had also provided the PD with the serial number at the time it was stolen. He was never contacted about the recovery and was still living at the same address.

What I currently do; is when the bike is torn down for maintenance I put my phone number on slips of paper or scrap plastic and stuff them in the head tube and seat tube. I also engrave them on the seat post and fork steer tube. Never recovered anything that way, but you never know.

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ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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