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Old 10-09-08, 09:41 AM   #1
jamesdenver
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Stolen Bike - pawn shop question

Well its a sad day for me. Late last night my bike was stolen. The good news is that its not my nice road commuting bike. Its a hybrid that I let friends/family or housemates use - but still I've had it for a long time and makes me sad... (I don't know how it was locked right now - wasn't me)

He filed a police report, I have some recent pictures, and will start scanning Craigslist hoping for an outcome like this.

But my question is about pawn shops. I live downtown Denver and there are several shops scattered about. I wouldn't be surprised if it made its way there. While I know laws vary state to state, has anyone ever "flagged" a pawn shop to be on the lookout? Or "repossessed" their bike from a shop?

I realize its not in their best financial interest to ask a lot of questions - but if I did find it you can bet I'd take action right there at retrieving my property.

I plan to keep a copy of the report and my photos in my bag for a while, so if I do come across it I'll be prepared.

Hoping for the best...
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Old 10-09-08, 10:08 AM   #2
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I think there is some sort of serial number database that pawnshops, in some states, are required to use. They type in the serial number of every item they pawn or purchase and it's supposed to cross-reference the database for stolen merchandise. If it comes up as stolen, they have to call the police.

I could be wrong, but I remember hearing something about this a few years back.
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Old 10-09-08, 11:10 AM   #3
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If you find your bike at a pawn shop, contact the police so it can be seized. You may have to go to a property hearing to claim it as yours, but you should be able to get it back. You may be given the option to pay the pawn shop what they gave for the bike to get it back immediately, which may be less cost and bother of taking off work to go to a property hearing.
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Old 10-09-08, 11:29 AM   #4
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I assume most states have a setup like ours; Missouri has a pawn-shop database which can be accessed by law enforcement. We have used this on many occasions, recovering stolen property and making arrests.
Many of these thieves are pretty dim bulbs who use their actual ID for these transactions.
By all means file a police report, and ask the officer if they have a pawn-shop monitoring database.

Most bikes don't end up in pawnshops, however; they don't bring enough money. More likely straight to the "dealer" in exchange for drugs.
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Old 10-09-08, 12:07 PM   #5
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Years back, I pawned a JBL subwoofer, Dreamcast game system (w/games & controllers) and a Samsung tv. Not all in one day, but in different months. The only thing the local pawn shop (one of many) looked up was to see the value of the items.

These items were mine, so I didn't have a problem with them checking the serial numbers. But they never did. The owner seemed like a shady character. I wouldn't doubt it if he accepted/still accepts stolen property as pawns and/or purchases.
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Old 10-09-08, 01:15 PM   #6
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Duh - serial numbers. Don't know why I didn't think of that. I'll check - I see a lot of bikes at our local shops, enough that it would make me check them out.

I agree it might be worth it just to pay for it at a pawn shop - but then my more cowboy side would be to just lay a copy of the police report on the counter and walk out with it.

Here's an update though: Apparently the location that it was taken from has had a rash of bike thefts - enough that the police have started a recent case in the area. An officer actually talked to my roomate (who's responsible for el desaparicido,) and is getting the tapes from the location that it was taken, and also asked for photos. (Thankfully I have plenty.)

Much more than I expected - so might be a bright light after all. Maybe.

Thanks for the responses!
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Old 10-09-08, 01:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by supcom View Post
If you find your bike at a pawn shop, contact the police so it can be seized. . . .
Question: Should one "telegraph" ones intentions to the pawn shop folks while searching and prior to contacting the police?

After all, it does not stretch credulity to suggest that there is a cross-pollination relationship between addicts, thieves, drug dealers, and pawn shop owners.
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Old 10-09-08, 05:21 PM   #8
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Couple things on pawnshops. If someone pawned it, it will not show up outside for at least 90 days (that is NC YMMV) Most pawnshop owners will not tell you if it is in the back or not. In NC they are required to write the serial number on the pawn ticket, they are also required to have a picture ID before they pawn anything. Supposedly someone from the local police force checks the serial numbers of items pawned against a data base of stolen property. Some how I doubt it happens all that frequently, also I suspect that most of the bikes I see at pawn shops are stolen, but the owner has no clue what the serial number is. Around here the bikes I see at the pawnshops are your typical WM bikes, and usually at 99% of retail.

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Old 10-09-08, 07:25 PM   #9
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On of our guys is a former pawn shop manager(This is also NC), the cops spend a lot of time on top of what comes into the pawn shop. Pretty simple in these days of the interwebs and search programs. I place I once worked for had a bunch of equipment stolen and we got a call from the police about three days later when the stuff showed up in a Durham pawn shop.
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Old 10-09-08, 08:02 PM   #10
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I'd bet dollars to donuts that the typical pawn shop dealer would have no idea bicycles had serial numbers or even where to look for one. If they did then the dishonest ones are not going to admit it.

It sucks having someone take something that is yours, no matter what the value. But it sounds to me this was not much of a bike anyway. Sometimes it is just not worth the grief. Do a little detective work but don't go too crazy. Sometimes it is better to just move on.
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Old 10-09-08, 08:50 PM   #11
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Pawn shops vary. A couple of them I've been in around here, have signs up saying they video tape all transactions, and that all transactions are reported to the police, etc. I suppose they still get some stolen stuff in the mix (illiterates, maybe?), but at least they're making an effort to avoid stolen stuff.
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Old 10-09-08, 10:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jamesdenver View Post
Here's an update though: Apparently the location that it was taken from has had a rash of bike thefts - enough that the police have started a recent case in the area.
It sounds like you were using a bike rack. Bike racks are horrendous for locking bikes and you should never use one again. Here are some questions.

1. Did you use a bike rack?
2. Did you have the bike parked in full view of everyone?
3. What lock did you use? Chain, U-Lock, cable?
4. What brand of lock did you use?
5. Did you hide the bike behind bushes, Dumpsters? etc.
6 Where did you place your bike if it was not hidden or attached
to a bike rack?

I know it sounds like of silly but more people can learn alot from your experience. By the way, I hope you find your bike.
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Old 10-10-08, 12:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
It sounds like you were using a bike rack. Bike racks are horrendous for locking bikes and you should never use one again. Here are some questions.

1. Did you use a bike rack?
2. Did you have the bike parked in full view of everyone?
3. What lock did you use? Chain, U-Lock, cable?
4. What brand of lock did you use?
5. Did you hide the bike behind bushes, Dumpsters? etc.
6 Where did you place your bike if it was not hidden or attached
to a bike rack?

I know it sounds like of silly but more people can learn alot from your experience. By the way, I hope you find your bike.
You say it sounds like he locked up his bike to a bike rack. So why ask questions #1, #2, #5 and #6? You forgot to ask how he (roomate) locked it up.
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Old 10-10-08, 12:36 AM   #14
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Don't hit the pawn shops before the thief! If you do, you are working against yourself. If your area has strict standards for pawn shops, such as recording every serial number, providing these serial numbers to police, and every person pawning an item having to show ID, you WANT your bike to be pawned!

Think about it. A pawn shop is a business; they don't want to lose money. If they loan on a stolen bike, and the police seize the bike, the shop loses what they loaned on the bike. If you go to all the local pawn shops, before the thief does, and tell them about your bike, they will simply turn the thief away when he does come in.
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Old 10-10-08, 07:59 AM   #15
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Reminds me of the sting on COPS where they put out a $2,500.00 + bike as bait. As soon as the stolen value went over that amount it became felony theft. almost every perp knew the limit and when told the value realized that they had stepped in it big time.

Sorry for your loss. Be vigilant.
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Old 10-10-08, 10:13 AM   #16
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In most places, pawnshops aren't a good place to sell *identifiable* stolen goods: they're pretty tightly regulated, they are regularly checked by police, and the seller is required to present a photo ID and fill out other paperwork. And of course the pawnshop eats the loss if the police find stolen goods. Not to say that an unscrupulous owner can't circumvent these requirements, but the cost is kind of high.

Which is why Craigslist has become the preferred venue for moving stolen items like bicycles. Check Craigslist...
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Old 10-12-08, 09:36 PM   #17
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It sounds like you were using a bike rack. Bike racks are horrendous for locking bikes and you should never use one again. Here are some questions.

1. Did you use a bike rack?
2. Did you have the bike parked in full view of everyone?
3. What lock did you use? Chain, U-Lock, cable?
4. What brand of lock did you use?
5. Did you hide the bike behind bushes, Dumpsters? etc.
6 Where did you place your bike if it was not hidden or attached
to a bike rack?
I'll answer those - I agree it can help others. And it definitely could have been locked better. Unfortunately I wasn't the operator of the bike. If I was I definitely, hmm- no PROBABLY would not be posting this It was my housemate, who already took responsibility and is dealing with police.

He locked the bike to itself, front wheel to frame. He was going into a 7-Eleven to get whatever. The store had a full glass front. I've done the same thing in the past, (locking style,) even without the lock -but this was 12:30 am. More precautions could have been taken - BUT locking to itself prevents someone from riding off with it. And again I've done the same at convenience stores - although my head is ALWAYS out the window while waiting in line, or searching for drink inside.

1./2.3. No bike rack, Free standing with U-lock. Barrel style. This is my second bike. Not a beater bike, but one that I relegated my old lock too. The thief could have used a bic pen.

2./5./6. RIGHT in front of the store. In full view. However the neighborhood is busy at that time - and there are shifty characters around. I have no problem with bike racks, so long as they're in front of the stores. I never lock my bike around the side, near dumpsters, etc. Its always as close to the door as possible, whether on posts, signs, or rack.

My thoughts are that someone either bic penned the lock, or had an accomplice with truck nearby and just picked it up and took it.

If interested I posted a longer description/story with photos on my blog. Never hurts, plus should I run into it I can pull up my site on my phone and viola! My bike back. (Sigh... hopeful thinking...)

http://www.futuregringo.com/index.ph...k-7200-denver/
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