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Thread: Bicycle Theft

  1. #1
    Senior Member JayButros's Avatar
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    Bicycle Theft

    How many people here have:

    A) Have had their bicycle stolen?

    B) ...said bike's serial number was registered with local law enforcement?

    C) ...actually had the bike returned by the police, organized citizens or a random stranger?

    D) ...or A and C?

    (Sorry if it's the wrong forum / I searched for a similar thread but didn't find one, link?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by JayButros View Post
    How many people here have:

    A) Have had their bicycle stolen?

    B) ...said bike's serial number was registered with local law enforcement?

    C) ...actually had the bike returned by the police, organized citizens or a random stranger?

    D) ...or A and C?

    (Sorry if it's the wrong forum / I searched for a similar thread but didn't find one, link?)
    A) Had one stolen a little less than a month ago
    B) Had the serial # registered with my old PD, but not the new one (just recently moved).
    C) Nope
    D) Nope
    When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.

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    Working in "campus" law enforcement, I've taken many (many....) bike theft reports over the years. A rather large majority of these victims cannot even properly describe their bike, much less tell you the serial number. "Uh, it was red. I think." We have a bike registration program here, which means you get your information entered into our database and get a nice Krypto lock with registration stickers for the frame. That way, at least we can look 'em up.
    I must say, we don't recover al lot. Many of them go directly to local drug dealers in direct exchange for crack or other drugs. Some get pawned. Since the serial numbers are not available, there is little chance of legally identifying your bike from others of the same make and model.
    Tips.... Keep records. Usually a decent shop will give you paperwork with make, model, serial number, etc. Keep it!
    Second, use "owner added" ID. Engrave a serial number on the bottom bracket in addition to the manufacturer's number. (Don't use your SSN!)
    Hide a piece of paper with your name and other pertinent info.... Put it inside the handlebar or something.
    Use a qualilty lock.
    You would not believe how many 1000.00 dollar bikes we see locked up with dinky four-dollar chains or cables.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JayButros's Avatar
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    The paper in the handlebar trick is interesting, I'm going add one to my bike now.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I had a $100 mountain bike stolen, and can identify with the "it was red...I think" syndrome. It was a cheap piece of crap and I never bothered to take a picture of it. It was multi-colored, not one solid color, so I couldn't even say for sure what colors were where on it.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    A) had my bike stolen
    b) Serial number is registered with the college and local law enforcement
    But naw no luck on finding it yet.

  7. #7
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    It's pathetic they put the serial number in such a useless place. I wouldn't be surprised if no-one wanted to turn a bike upside down and risk getting greasy while they look for the serial number. It should be on the top tube where any fool can easily see it.

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    Two bikes stolen

    No serials number's ( I now note them down religiously)

    nothing else heard.

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    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    It seems my possessions got soul!!

    About 30 years ago, this bike was stolen, as it was chained to a wooden fence..

    http://www.cehoward.net/newral132.jpg

    The next day walking near the scene of the theft, I see some hoodlums walking with my bike. To make a long story short, with the help of a little RAGE,(cause I can't fight my way out a paper bag)I got my bike back right then. So, it was stolen for one day..And recovered the next..

    Again, 30 some years ago, my 1978 280Z was stolen at about 1 am in the morning. After filing a police report, and on my way home in a taxi, I see my car two blocks away passing and intersections. I ordered the taxi driver to follow. To make another long story short, we cornered the car at a light, the thief jumped and ran, I got my car back. .It seems my possessions have soul and want to come back to me..

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    vol
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    You must have treated your possessions very well, like a pet

  11. #11
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
    Working in "campus" law enforcement, I've taken many (many....) bike theft reports over the years. A rather large majority of these victims cannot even properly describe their bike, much less tell you the serial number. "Uh, it was red. I think." We have a bike registration program here, which means you get your information entered into our database and get a nice Krypto lock with registration stickers for the frame. That way, at least we can look 'em up.
    I must say, we don't recover al lot. Many of them go directly to local drug dealers in direct exchange for crack or other drugs. Some get pawned. Since the serial numbers are not available, there is little chance of legally identifying your bike from others of the same make and model.
    Tips.... Keep records. Usually a decent shop will give you paperwork with make, model, serial number, etc. Keep it!
    Second, use "owner added" ID. Engrave a serial number on the bottom bracket in addition to the manufacturer's number. (Don't use your SSN!)
    Hide a piece of paper with your name and other pertinent info.... Put it inside the handlebar or something.
    Use a qualilty lock.
    You would not believe how many 1000.00 dollar bikes we see locked up with dinky four-dollar chains or cables.
    Great ideas here, thanks Bikewer! The paper trick seems like a pretty good idea.
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    I keep hoping I spot my bike out on the street too!

  13. #13
    Senior Member xizangstan's Avatar
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    My Diamondback was stolen out of the back of my locked van in front of my house overnight. I contacted the cops and my homeowner's insurance agent. Cops were impatient with me, and basically brushed me aside. Insurance agent was very helpful.

    I began driving the streets and alleys in a wide area and couldn't find the bike. One day a couple weeks after, I drove by the local high school, noticed a bike rack out of sight from the street, and investigated. There was my bike - it had been painted flat black. I called the cops and they had the school security people stake out the bike rack a couple hours. They gave up waiting and cut the lock the thief had used. I had my bike back that evening. It helps when you can quickly give them your serial number.

    I'm glad I didn't meet the thief face to face. Someone would probably have gotten hurt - and I'm sure it wouldn't have been me. What's a thief's excuse? That they didn't know it was against the law to break into someone's vehicle? Or maybe that they thought it was okay to take something that didn't belong to them?

    I still think the Arab Muslim countries have it right when dealing with thieves: Chop off a hand in public with no anesthesia. Do it again, and lose the other hand.

    Try picking your nose, eating a sandwich, or shifting gears on a bike with no hands, as_wipe!
    Last edited by xizangstan; 10-27-10 at 08:32 PM.
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    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
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    Out of 2 dozen bikes owned or so, had 2 stolen, both in Boston. Funny story: I had a fancy kryptonite lock on my precious Univega back in College. One day I was biking in-and-out of my apartment in Somerville. Just a quick stop for lunch so I locked it to the wooden porch on my 3 decker. Came back out an hour later and some B***ard had cut the wooden posts with a saw and taken the bike without bothering to cut the kryptonite so I could not collect on the lock's "theft warranty". I hope the ne'er do well fell and broke both legs on his way back home.

    Police laughed when I reported the theft, adding humiliation to the episode. Never did see that bike (or the other) again.

  15. #15
    Senior Member JayButros's Avatar
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    ...all interesting replies, I like the handlebar trick a lot. If the property is retrieved this is a trump card, for sure.

    However, that's just it, IF you get the bike back. I'm not surprised that law enforcement does little to investigate. The reality of the situation is there is simply very little they can do, even with the serial number their options are limited or nil.

    I do appreciate all of the effort taken to state your experiences.

    I took it on the chin in another thread for defending another member for not following up on a theft when he or she supposedly had good "evidence" of the crime.

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    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    You must have treated your possessions very well, like a pet
    I do , I do!!!

  17. #17
    alleged person Pobble.808's Avatar
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    D) in my case - this was about 30 years ago, police (Campus Security as I recall) caught two kids in the act of trying to steal my bike in Cambridge, MA. They were tried and convicted. I went on riding my Raleigh Grand Prix happily, and with a better lock, for many years. Sometimes you get extraordinarily lucky...

  18. #18
    Senior Member xizangstan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pobble.808 View Post
    D) in my case - this was about 30 years ago, police (Campus Security as I recall) caught two kids in the act of trying to steal my bike in Cambridge, MA. They were tried and convicted. I went on riding my Raleigh Grand Prix happily, and with a better lock, for many years. Sometimes you get extraordinarily lucky...
    Let me guess: They each had to write on the chalkboard ten times, "I will not steal any more bikes this week".

    I believe a huge problem is, the courts and prosecutors don't take bike theft seriously. If the same person was caught stealing an old lady's purse, or cash out of a store's cash register in the same amount that our bikes are worth, it might be a 'big deal' with some judges. But not bikes. Why?
    Who is John Galt?

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    I have 'A' (had bikes stolen) but never 'B' (had SNs registered or even written down).

    But I used to work in a second hand bike shop in Toronto and we recorded info and SNs for every bike we purchased and police came and checked out records occasionally and quite a few people got their bikes back through us.

  20. #20
    U-Lock Warrior
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    Anyone ever see the movie Blade? Remember when someone else grabs his sword and doesn't hit the switch how the little blades pop out and destroy the vampires hand? I wish there was a way I could do that to my saddle. Thief gets thirty feet then WHAM!

    I've had one bike stolen, when I was living in Toronto. However it wasn't parked on the street, it was in my dorm room. Roommate and I had a party. I passed out after much grog and good times. Woke up and Shiva (it was an older diamond back, but given the number of tubes she destroyed I thought it a fitting name,) was missing. Front desk person didn't even notice that my bike (I was the only one in the dorm with a bike) was walking out with a different person. Now, I lock my bike whenever there are guests over. Never saw her again.
    "Sic vis pacem, para bellum" - Latin Translation: "You desire peace like this, prepare for war."

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    First and only Peugeot I ever owned, stolen in 1984 from the east side of the Pan Am Building on Park Avenue in New York City. It was red with white decals. I think the model number was 208 (not the high-end model). It was my commuter bike to work and home for two years. I loved that bike. When I left work that day and came around the corner and saw it was gone I just cried. Will never forget that awful empty feeling. The law firm I worked for was on the 53rd floor and they would not allow employees to take their bikes up the elevators. It had been locked to a street sign embedded in concrete. Had a Kryptonite lock and it's possible in my haste that morning I didn't lock it. Or else the thief had a bolt cutter with him. What with one thing and another I didn't get another bike until 1987 or 88.

  22. #22
    Senior Member xizangstan's Avatar
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    Okay, cable locks like the one I use aren't that good, because bike thieves snip them with ease. And even the heavier U-locks can be cut with a portable Dremel tool.

    Is there anything, other than keeping the bike locked up in Fort Knox, that will keep her safe?
    Who is John Galt?

  23. #23
    Kip
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    I had a bicycle stolen last December. It was parked in the hallway outside of my office, unlocked. Some lowlife grabbed it and ran out the back door with it. I had not registered it with the police but within an hour I had located the receipt from the LBS where I purchased the bike in 2002 and reported the loss complete with sn.

    Three months after the theft I saw someone riding my bike. I flagged him down and we had a a conversation. He was not the one who stole the bike - we had a description of the thief - but claimed he got it from a "friend." I convinced him that the bike was mine; telling him that I had in my report to the police that I had included the sn was enough for him to surrender it to me.

    I'm still looking for the Nishiki I had stolen in 1979.

  24. #24
    Senior Member surgeonstone's Avatar
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    1) Summer 1973 on a tour through New England stopped in Kennebunk Port ME, Went into a drugstore and came out 2 minutes later...bike with loaded panniers gone.
    2) Not registered.
    3) Never saw it again
    4) It began a long a beautiful summer , Learned how to oil paint, all around an amazing summer.
    Never let my bike out of sight again.

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    I think attacking a typical Kryptonite lock with a Dremel would be an exercise in futility. We cut 'em off here at the university when they are illegally parked or locked to handicap ramps and such.
    It takes a portable angle grinder with a BIG battery pack, and usually the battery is pretty much toast by the time you're through. Also, the grinding wheel looses a fair bit of material.
    Makes a lot of noise and throws a lot of sparks.... Not the favorite method used by bike thieves.

    As I recall from a bike-lock shootout some years ago in Bicycling, the Kryptonite "New York Chain" was the best. Virtually bulletproof. Also about 25 pounds, or as much as a good bike.
    If you have somewhere you can leave the lock permanently, you're golden.

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