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  1. #1
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    Ethics of (probably) stolen bikes

    A elderly neighbor of mine has a small collection of bikes / frames in a pile in her backyard that were put there by her grandson. He has been in and out of jail, and the bikes are pretty much random (MB frame, mixte frame, cheap NEXT suspension-type, etc.). I would be very surprised if these bikes were not stolen, although I have no proof of that.

    The police aren't interested (or at least haven't shown any interest when I called).

    She wants these bikes out of her yard, and is considering just having hem taken to the dump. I'm torn between not wanting anything to do with stolen bikes and wanting to rescue at least one of them. Assuming I can't get the police to look into this, does anyone have any ideas besides just letting them get dumped?

  2. #2
    Senior Member spooner's Avatar
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    Give a quick glance in the local Craigslist to see if anyone posted in the bike section about that particular type of bike being stolen. If that fails, FreeCycle them.

  3. #3
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Have her give you ALL of the bikes. Drop them off at the police station noting that they were likely stolen and asking them to please return them to the owners.

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    The police will not be overjoyed to get a collection of old bike parts. If these are old/inexpensive bikes as described, the chances are slim that even if they were stolen a report was made, or that the owner bothered to make a record of the serial number. That's the only real way to identify the bike; to see if the serial number comes up as a "hit" on NCIC.
    If it doesn't, the police just have a bunch of junk to keep in their evidence locker for a year before giving it away.

  5. #5
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I think I'd leave well enough alone, myself.

    Around here, if you set old bikes out front the day before trash pickup, there's scrap scroungers that will pick them up, they don't go to the dump.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  6. #6
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    Maybe if there are some salvageable kid sized bikes you can donate them to a local children's group home. I used to work at a group home and bikes were a rare commodity. Even an adult bike would be a good donation because the kids have to be supervised on their rides (by the group home staff).

  7. #7
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Maybe her grandson is collecting the bikes so he can use the tubing to make a giant meth lab. That would be your lucky day.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Don't be surprised if the police ask you where and how you got possession of the bikes.

  9. #9
    Bent builder purplepeople's Avatar
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    Donate them. Your location shows DC, so a quick check shows this bike co-op.

    http://www.thebikehouse.org/

    :)ensen.
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  10. #10
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Put the information age to work for you! If you absolutely can't get the police to take charge, I think the best thing to do would be to put up an ad (with no photos of course) on your local Craigslist and at all local bike shops (with only your freemail Eddress), stating that you'd like to return these bikes & parts to their rightful owners.
    And be sure to state in the ad:

    ~Please notify all friends, acquaintances who may have had a bicycle stolen in the last X months.
    ~Please be prepared to describe (or provide pictures of) the bicycle or part(s) via email. (Providing only a freemail Eddress, without any identifying info on you.)

    Then sift through the emails for the actual owners, and weed out the opportunists & bottom-feeders. I think after 2 or 3 months of doing this noble deed, you will have earned the right to keep whatever's left.
    I shudder to think that one of my beloved bikes would end up rusting in the callous, uncaring back yard of some scumbag's grandmother; and I'd be very grateful to anyone who helped us get reunited.

  11. #11
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    I'd be concerned about being in possession of stolen goods. Best to leave this alone.
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  12. #12
    I hate carnies indybiker01's Avatar
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    i would be careful about calling the police and telling them they even "might" be stolen. To imply that is risking a civil suit. Or even worse the guy finds out and knocks you up the side of the head. Ethics can sometimes lead to a lighter wallet or a black eye.....or both

  13. #13
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplepeople View Post
    Donate them. Your location shows DC, so a quick check shows this bike co-op.

    http://www.thebikehouse.org/

    ensen.
    +20 If the police aren't interested, this is probably the best way to calm the karma on those bicycles.
    Last edited by Artkansas; 06-24-10 at 11:42 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Widely varied advice here:

    "Have her give you ALL of the bikes. Drop them off at the police station..."
    "Donate them..."
    "I'd be concerned about being in possession of stolen goods. Best to leave this alone. "
    "i would be careful about calling the police ..."

    I think I'm going to consider my part done; and leave this otherwise alone. I really don't need any hassle for receiving stolen goods OR a problem with my neighbor.

  15. #15
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhodge View Post
    A elderly neighbor of mine has a small collection of bikes / frames in a pile in her backyard that were put there by her grandson. He has been in and out of jail, and the bikes are pretty much random (MB frame, mixte frame, cheap NEXT suspension-type, etc.). I would be very surprised if these bikes were not stolen, although I have no proof of that.

    The police aren't interested (or at least haven't shown any interest when I called).

    She wants these bikes out of her yard, and is considering just having hem taken to the dump. I'm torn between not wanting anything to do with stolen bikes and wanting to rescue at least one of them. Assuming I can't get the police to look into this, does anyone have any ideas besides just letting them get dumped?
    IMO, that sounds like STEROTYPING. If you have no proof of them being stolen, how can you contiune to beat on the "I wouldn't be suprised if they are stolen"/"I don't want anything to do with stolen bikes"..

    IMO, it would be better just to act like a NOSY neighbor go over to the house, tell the lady your intention. And that would be to copy the serial numbers down, and take the to the police to see if any of them are stolen! If they are not stolen, then I think you owe your neighbors a BIG APOLOGY.

    The best they can tell you when you ask to do the above, is NO!!

    Please stop sterotyping people.

  16. #16
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indybiker01 View Post
    i would be careful about calling the police and telling them they even "might" be stolen. To imply that is risking a civil suit. Or even worse the guy finds out and knocks you up the side of the head. Ethics can sometimes lead to a lighter wallet or a black eye.....or both
    Glad I am not the only one around here that has a FAIR MIND!

  17. #17
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    It is not uncommon to find junk bikes in the garbage. If you work rubbish removal you will get piles of them. From what you describe, I am not thinking the person stole them. You can check the frame and BB for numbers of whatever the owner might have etched into it.
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  18. #18
    Road, XC and Cross
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    if you get the grandson to sign a piece of paper that says "I ... declare these bikes are not stolen and obtained by legal measures signed ..." then police can't do anything to you except go after the grandson. At least thats what I was always told

  19. #19
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    I wouldn't touch this deal with a ten foot pole. Best you could do is hook granny up with a charity. Other than that it seems like a bee's nest.
    Trying to be a better person every day.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhodge View Post

    The police aren't interested (or at least haven't shown any interest when I called).

    That's real nice to know

    My Schwinn Le Tour (1977'ish) was stolen yesterday. I did report it to police. I gave them a picture of the bike and the serial number. I've had that bike 33 years.
    pic below
    http://www.schwinnbike.com/usa/eng/f...4&d=1255543872

  21. #21
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Short story here, maybe a little off topic too, but it is in reference to the comment of the bike stolen yesterday.

    Back about 23 years ago, I had my 79 Raleigh Competition stolen from a senior citizen's home I was visiting. I had it chained to a fence, a wooden fence. The theives uprooted the fence and took the bike. I called the police, made a report, and me and my dumb self didn't even have the serial number of the bike. I lived about a mile from the place where it was stolen. So, the next day, I walked over to the place where it was stolen. I decided to walk a different route, and since it was raining, I waited until mid afternoon to walk the route.

    Low and behold while walkng the route to the place of the theft, and see some youngsters coming out of a house with MY BIKE. Okay, I am super nervous, and the adrendlin is pumping like mad. What do I do? it is about 3 of them. Okay, they are talking they are not moving. I am on the corner peeping. So, I knock on a door, nervously tell the occupant what is going on, and they called the police for me. The person who made the call advise me to wait for the police. Okay, that is what I WAS going to do, as long as they were standing there talking. Now, the chit starts!! They started moving and walkiing toward the opposite corner. I am 6ft 3in tall, I weigh 135 lbs soaking wet, can't fight my way out of a paper bag. But, when they started moving, I ran toward them with all I had, don't know what I was going to do, but I was running full steam at them. One of them turn and saw me coming fast, the look in my eye, and they dropped my bike and haulazzed down the street!!

    The police came later, I told them the story, they kinda laughed a little a me all out of breath and hyper talking, but they said they would look for the culpurts, but they are glad I got my bike back. I walked my bike back home. It was broken in a couple parts. Took it to the LBS the next day, they fixed it, and it is still with me today. In fact, that is what I am riding today to work..

    Sorry for the long story and ramblings.

    The person that got his bike stolen yesterday, should at least go back to the place of the crime. There might be a chance he could see it, and recover it. IMO, the police do the best they can. IMO, we have to do the most of the groundwork.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Whitaker View Post
    That's real nice to know

    My Schwinn Le Tour (1977'ish) was stolen yesterday. I did report it to police. I gave them a picture of the bike and the serial number. I've had that bike 33 years.
    pic below
    http://www.schwinnbike.com/usa/eng/f...4&d=1255543872
    There's a good chance you'll have better luck, since the bike was stolen from you, there is no question that it was really stolen. FWIW, I've had my car stolen in DC three times and the police recoverd it each time. I think that they're not interested/can't do anything here because, as has been pointed out, I don't have real evidence that these are stolen.

  23. #23
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    '77 Schwinn Le Tour. I had one of those... Also, I had one involved in an arrest I made. Fellow comes riding into a service station to air up his tires. The manager says..."Nice bike."
    "Uh, yeah."
    "Schwinn Le Tour, eh...Just came out. Not many of them in the state."
    "Yeah...I guess."
    "Ya know, I had a bike exactly like this one stolen just two days ago. Same color..." The manager grabs the bike, flips it upside down, and there's his social security number engraved on the bottom bracket shell.
    Amazingly, the brain-dead lad who had it stayed around till I got there. (He actually did turn out to be somewhat ********, and had bought it from the actual thief)

  24. #24
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
    '77 Schwinn Le Tour. I had one of those... Also, I had one involved in an arrest I made. Fellow comes riding into a service station to air up his tires. The manager says..."Nice bike."
    "Uh, yeah."
    "Schwinn Le Tour, eh...Just came out. Not many of them in the state."
    "Yeah...I guess."
    "Ya know, I had a bike exactly like this one stolen just two days ago. Same color..." The manager grabs the bike, flips it upside down, and there's his social security number engraved on the bottom bracket shell.
    Amazingly, the brain-dead lad who had it stayed around till I got there. (He actually did turn out to be somewhat ********, and had bought it from the actual thief)
    dam, that beat my stolen bike story by a country mile!!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cehowardGS View Post
    The person that got his bike stolen yesterday, should at least go back to the place of the crime. There might be a chance he could see it, and recover it. IMO, the police do the best they can. IMO, we have to do the most of the groundwork.
    Good idea. I have no choice but to do that since it was stolen from where I work. I'm going there every day for the next several years. Also, I live only 1 mile from there, so I'll be in the neighborhood all the time.
    For the most part, I'm a fan of the police.

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