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Old 12-26-04, 10:11 PM   #1
sbeatonNJ
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Obviously Stolen Bicycles, what's a guy to do?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately so I decided to post about it. I go to school in Jersey city and on more than one occasion have seen bikes that to me are more than likely stolen. This will come off as racist or stereotypical but its not, really I just mean there are just some signs that a bike may not belong to the rider.

Example one: A hispanic man, dirty work clothes, heavy work boots on top of a Trek 2000 with shimano ultegra pedals, saddle bag, topeak frame pump, and cateye computer. Oh and the bars were turned up suicide style.

Example two: White guy, missing several teeth, grungy clothes, work boots, beard, looked strung out, riding a Giant XTC, time pedals, SID fork, raceface cranks.

In both cases the bike were ill fitting size wise, like blatantly two small or big. I have seen things like this on several occasions and it kind of bothers me. I mean I could totally be wrong and those bikes could be theirs, in that case I feel bad because their bikes were not properly fitted for them and they deserve a fitted bike since they both dropped some coin. However somethings just kind of stand out and lead me to believe that a bike may not be being ridden by the rightful owner. There are just certain little things that you usually only see on a real cyclists bike, bottle cages, computers, saddle bags, etc. I always wondered what would happen if I went up to them and asked where they got the bike. Would they drop it and run? Would they attack me? Would they reply with directions to the nearest LBS? I always feel bad because I know how pissed/sad I would be if I lost one of my bikes.

What do you guys think? Am I profiling people? Has anyone else seen something like this? What would you guys do?
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Old 12-26-04, 10:25 PM   #2
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Steal it back.
Just to be fair, before all you PC people jump all over this post, just HOW many people buy expensive ultegra equiped bikes and wear work boots with it? Oh right. 0.005%...

Look under the bike, nab the serial #, ask police about it, then have em confiscate it. I think anything over $1500 is grand theft.
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Old 12-26-04, 10:35 PM   #3
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i agree, its your duty to steal the bike back and sell it on ebay.
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Old 12-26-04, 10:46 PM   #4
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I think the best thing you could do is start into a convo with them mentioning how you like bikes...see if they're totally stupid or know what they're talking about...should be a good determination of if they own it or not.
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Old 12-26-04, 10:52 PM   #5
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See if you can buy it for off them for super cheap
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Old 12-26-04, 10:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Look under the bike, nab the serial #, ask police about it, then have em confiscate it. I think anything over $1500 is grand theft.
I'm not sure that's even necessary. Drop by your local police station and ask if anyone has reported a Trek2000 or Giant XTC stolen. Unless you live in an area where the police wont give a $hit, I suspect that this may be the most contructive approach.

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Old 12-26-04, 11:00 PM   #7
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Yeah I've considered doing the buy back thing. I doubt the Jersey City police are too concerned about stolen bikes as they have bigger issues to worry about. Also the bikes may have been stolen somewhere else and ended up there. I do like the idea of chatting them up to see if they know what they are talking about.
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Old 12-26-04, 11:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbeatonNJ
Yeah I've considered doing the buy back thing. I doubt the Jersey City police are too concerned about stolen bikes as they have bigger issues to worry about. Also the bikes may have been stolen somewhere else and ended up there. I do like the idea of chatting them up to see if they know what they are talking about.
Won't you feel embarassed when the mochaco says, "si amigo, i have this cleat here in my boot" and lifts his boot to show you the cut out and SPD recessed in there...
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Old 12-26-04, 11:58 PM   #9
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Don't come off like an *******, come off like you're interested in bikes too... You dont' want to be agressive to someone who just boosted something...they'll probably slice you up or something LoL
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Old 12-27-04, 08:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbeatonNJ
I have been thinking about this a lot lately so I decided to post about it. I go to school in Jersey city and on more than one occasion have seen bikes that to me are more than likely stolen. This will come off as racist or stereotypical but its not, really I just mean there are just some signs that a bike may not belong to the rider.

Example one: A hispanic man, dirty work clothes, heavy work boots on top of a Trek 2000 with shimano ultegra pedals, saddle bag, topeak frame pump, and cateye computer. Oh and the bars were turned up suicide style.

Example two: White guy, missing several teeth, grungy clothes, work boots, beard, looked strung out, riding a Giant XTC, time pedals, SID fork, raceface cranks.

In both cases the bike were ill fitting size wise, like blatantly two small or big. I have seen things like this on several occasions and it kind of bothers me. I mean I could totally be wrong and those bikes could be theirs, in that case I feel bad because their bikes were not properly fitted for them and they deserve a fitted bike since they both dropped some coin. However somethings just kind of stand out and lead me to believe that a bike may not be being ridden by the rightful owner. There are just certain little things that you usually only see on a real cyclists bike, bottle cages, computers, saddle bags, etc. I always wondered what would happen if I went up to them and asked where they got the bike. Would they drop it and run? Would they attack me? Would they reply with directions to the nearest LBS? I always feel bad because I know how pissed/sad I would be if I lost one of my bikes.

What do you guys think? Am I profiling people? Has anyone else seen something like this? What would you guys do?
Notify the Local Police of your observations and allow them investigate.
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Old 12-27-04, 09:35 AM   #11
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The sad truth is that probably no one will care other than people like us and the rightful owner.
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Old 12-27-04, 09:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Steal it back.
Just to be fair, before all you PC people jump all over this post, just HOW many people buy expensive ultegra equiped bikes and wear work boots with it? Oh right. 0.005%...
Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Won't you feel embarassed when the mochaco says, "si amigo, i have this cleat here in my boot" and lifts his boot to show you the cut out and SPD recessed in there...
So which way do yo go?

You obviously live in a metro area. How many dirty-looky crazy-eye stoner messengers do you see on grand+ bikes every day? if you don't know messengers, you could mistake them as one of the people described by sbeaton.

and for that matter, i've had plenty of clean-cut people come into work with decent bikes and be like, "oh i just bought this off the street for 40 bucks, did i do ok?" of course these tend to be the same people who grouse about the cost of replacement parts when they get a saddle or wheel jack. circle of life continues.

talk the dude up or at least write a description of them and bike and go to the police. or check in with LBSs, can't speak for others but we keep a file on stolen bikes.
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Old 12-27-04, 09:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbeatonNJ
I have been thinking about this a lot lately so I decided to post about it. I go to school in Jersey city and on more than one occasion have seen bikes that to me are more than likely stolen. This will come off as racist or stereotypical but its not, really I just mean there are just some signs that a bike may not belong to the rider.
I was born and raised in Jersey City so it doesn't surprise me. However, it's rare that I see anyone riding a decent bike in Jersey City. Seriously. Most of the hard core riders are Mexicans on Huffy department store bikes. When it comes to bike theft, visit the Path/Hoboken station and just look at all the vandalized junkers chained to those racks tell you the environment we have in Jersey City. This is why I do not use a bike rack and I suspect these victims did exactly that. I always hide my bicycle some place. with my Bic pen Kryptonite U-Lock in place.
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Old 12-27-04, 09:53 AM   #14
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Just yell, "HEY, that's my bike! Give it back or I am calling the police RIGHT NOW." Perhaps he will jump off it and run?
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Old 12-27-04, 10:43 AM   #15
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Or maybe he'll say "I bought it with my life's savings, @#$% off". Wouldn't that be embarassing?
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Old 12-27-04, 10:55 AM   #16
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There was a story in the paper a couple of years ago about a bike theft. The only reason it was in the paper was because it belonged to Alison Sydor (she lives and trains on the north shore) and it was a one of a kind custom job (as you would expect from the top pro in the world at the time) that was very expensive.

A couple of weeks later there was a follow up. The bike had been returned to her by someone who bought it in a bar for $200 (CDN of course). The purchaser had immediately recognized it and bought it just to return it to her.

These people riding these bikes most likely have no idea what the bikes they're riding are and would be just as happy with a broken Huffy. Give them that plus $20 and you can turn the bike into the police or ride it (if that's OK with your conscience)
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Old 12-27-04, 11:03 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Won't you feel embarassed when the mochaco says, "si amigo, i have this cleat here in my boot" and lifts his boot to show you the cut out and SPD recessed in there...
hahahah!
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Old 12-27-04, 01:28 PM   #18
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I'd say take a picture of the bike and post it up here or other busy bike forums. Someone with high end equipment may be a member of a forum or 2.

I have a Jeep and some people had stuff stolen off road stuff their Jeeps (winch, etc.) and the thief and merchandise was found within a matter of days after he put out the word on a few Jeep forums. Everyone told everyone else in their local 4x4 groups. It was pretty neat because if it wasn't posted on the forums, the guy wouldn't have gotten his stuff back - of course the local police didn't give a rats a$$ until the citizens did their job for them and found the guy.
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Old 12-27-04, 02:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Steal it back.
Just to be fair, before all you PC people jump all over this post, just HOW many people buy expensive ultegra equiped bikes and wear work boots with it? Oh right. 0.005%...

Look under the bike, nab the serial #, ask police about it, then have em confiscate it. I think anything over $1500 is grand theft.
My bike has Ultegra components and I wore boots with it all last week. It was cold.
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Old 12-27-04, 02:36 PM   #20
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i really find it upsetting how many people said to go to the cops. despite if you like or hate cops, sending them to check on someone you merely suspect of theft solely on appearance is really sickening. i think if you must, act interested in the bike, and if it seems stolen and you have the cash, offer to buy it back (i know it's been said).
i am a pretty scuzzy lookin fella with some nice (and crappy ones too!) bikes, and i sincerely hope nobody will call the cops on me since i'm in a band t-shirt or i smell like horse asse or whatever. i appreciate the post and all the thought, but stereotyping and calling the cops is a really really bad idea.
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Old 12-27-04, 02:55 PM   #21
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To those who say they fit that .005% and therefore it's not fair to discriminate, ask yourself, if you saw a guy who reeked of booze, had a large combat knife in his hand, is twitching wildly, and is walking towards your kid, would you grab the kid and run? Would it be wrong to say you're discriminating because I was once holding a combat knife, twitching, and just had someone spill booze on me and I'm actually a real nice guy?

I say make up a story about your brother having a bike just like that and wanting to buy it to surprise him for his birthday. Hell, even offer the guy $100 plus a shiny new *FULL SUSPENSION* pacific mountain bike.
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Old 12-27-04, 06:36 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
To those who say they fit that .005% and therefore it's not fair to discriminate, ask yourself, if you saw a guy who reeked of booze, had a large combat knife in his hand, is twitching wildly, and is walking towards your kid, would you grab the kid and run? Would it be wrong to say you're discriminating because I was once holding a combat knife, twitching, and just had someone spill booze on me and I'm actually a real nice guy?

I say make up a story about your brother having a bike just like that and wanting to buy it to surprise him for his birthday. Hell, even offer the guy $100 plus a shiny new *FULL SUSPENSION* pacific mountain bike.
Well, nobody said that, so I'm not really sure who you're talking to...

But your comparison here doesn't really fit.
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Old 12-27-04, 06:40 PM   #23
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I guess I should chime in with my $.02 since I've already started talkin'. I think you should talk to these people. That's the best way to get a feeling for what's going on. Act like you're interested in bikes (and you are, so it really wouldn't be acting) and engage them. You'll be able to tell in 60 seconds whether the person is legit or not. Then you can take further action. If you decide to call the cops, you'll have a lot more info, too. You'll have a better description of the person and bike.

Trying to buy it off them is probably an okay idea, but then what do you do? You bought property that you had good reason to think was stolen. That doesn't look so great in the eyes of the law.
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Old 12-27-04, 09:14 PM   #24
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After you buy it back, you sell it back...
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Old 12-27-04, 09:17 PM   #25
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Well thank you everyone for replying and staying on the issue. Like I had mentioned in the post besides the persons appearance their is the whole issue that both bikes physically did not fit the person, too big or too small; so I wasn't simply going on appearance. Plus you all know there are other things that distinguish one of us, a cyclist, from someone who is just on a bike. How many of you put your seats so low that your knees go up really high, how many of you mash the gears on yoru 1500 dollar road bike when going down a flat road. You know I am a big guy, well over 200, and I have hopped on my road bike in jeans and Doc martens to run an errand real quick. So yeah Ive got boots and clipless pedals going and I don't look like a cyclist just because I am fat but you would be able to tell I ride by the way I handle the bike, how it fits me, my spin, etc. Do you guys get what I am saying? I don't know how to explain it any better but you guys all know you can tell when someone "rides" and someone doesn't.

I would never go to the police because it would be a waste of time in that area, that is nothing against the police, they simply do have more important issues in that area. But I may take some of the other advice and chat the person up or offer to purchase the bike.

I am just a very sympathetic person when it comes to certain things and a big believer in karma. Like I had a dog get run over by a car and now whenever I see dog on a busy road or a dog that looks lost I have to stop and help it. It is the same thing with the bikes, I see a bike that just doesn't seem to be under the rightful owner and I want to help. I had someone come out and tell me he wanted to steal my BMX bike while I was unlocking it at school one day and that got me to thinking about tall this. I now only take my fixed gear to school because that way if it did get stolen I could look for the puddle of blood from when my 50/16 gear throw someone over the bars when they try to coast.
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