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Question regarding stolen bikes

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Question regarding stolen bikes

Old 09-17-10, 10:24 AM
My name is Alex
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Question regarding stolen bikes

I am constantly looking through ads upon ads of craigslist posts, just seeing what is out there. I came across a few very suspicious bikes, as well as the occasional "my bike got stolen".

The two things I wonder are:
If your bike has been stolen, and people should be "on the lookout", how are we to know which bike is stolen and which isn't? Or what to do when we find someone with a stolen bike? I heard someone suggest putting a ulock on the bike until you've informed the person seeking the stolen bike, but are we as citizens suppose to keep tabs on peoples contact info for those stolen bikes? Do we just inform them that we saw it in this neighborhood? What is the proper thing to do?

Secondly, what if you find something being sold on craigslist that you suspect to be stolen goods? If you don't know anybody that is looking for stolen goods do you post it out there to see if someone might be looking? Do you confront the seller about its origins and perhaps it might be stolen? Do you inform the police that there is something very suspicious about the item being sold at that price and the seller themselves? Its a very confusing situation, but I haven't really found myself in a lot of shady craigslist transactions until I really started looking for bike parts.

I feel like grabbing my dremel and engraving my name on the frame in case someone does try to steal it (even though the frame itself isn't worth that much) but even if I were to do that, nobody would be the wiser that I have done that, and people looking to buy it wouldn't be looking for it particularly. It seems like there should be a code of conduct when it comes to buying, selling, and owning something worth stealing...
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Old 09-17-10, 08:41 PM
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I am going to engrave mine on my frame....

engraving is a good idea..
stuffing the frame with weatherproof ID cards here and there is a good idea...
lots of photos are a good idea...
I also carry several kinds of locks.
checking craigslist, ebay and pawn shops is a good idea if its stolen...
chances are if it is stolen for the purpose of selling... its going to get put-up real quick...
junkies especially will put it up ASAP and as close as possible.

and there is a moral delima with finding a ditched bike....
i saw one last week that was lying in the grass by a parking garage for 4 hours at least....
the next day... its on craigslist.
should I have taken it and checked for IDs?
part of me thought that maybe its owner was just close-by
or too dumb to carry a lock and it had fallen over.

I wondered what would have happened if i had called the cops to see if it was registered?
they probably would have taken it even if not and ....auctioned it? held it in a warehouse?
trashed it after a month?

the police are not interested in bike theft here unless you live in a rich neighborhood or have a name recognizable as a socialite elbow-rubber.

i hope its owner was vigilant enough to check craigslist.

I bought my bike used.. and although I trusted the guy who sold it, i got him to write me and sign a bill-of-sale
with his address in case it was once registered and later stolen before it was his...
so i have some leverage if its hot.

yours are all good questions... but mostly without solid, all-encompassing answers i think.

bikes will need to be viewed more seriously as valued possesions and transportation
before more defindes lines are drawn with law enforcement and etiquette/protocol in these matters.
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Old 09-18-10, 03:15 AM
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I have seen people on this forum suggest something that I did, and sounded like a good idea (already mentioned above), just sticking some ID cards around. I photocopied my ID with a note written on the back, saying something to the effect of "if you're reading this, bike was probably stolen. Call (number). If you stole my bike, eat *** and die!". I'm not sure how effective the ones I put into the frame would be, but the couple inside the tires, and the one beneath the chain guard are probably the best ones, seeing as I doubt that anyone who would steal a bike and not IMMEDIATELY sell it would be able to do something simple like changing a tube or doing a tune up without taking it to a shop.

A little bit of prevention and forethought is probably going to be more helpful than hours of work after the fact, using 2 locks and a good locking location is what I count on, rather than the notes.

As for the people that are selling iffy bikes online, even though there is stuff you COULD do, I'm not sure you SHOULD do it. You could request the serial number from the seller, and check it with NBR (You have to contact them directly here, though), or just contact the police and they might check it for you. If the seller refuses to give you the serial, and you tell them it's because you don't want to buy stolen property, I'd surely contact the police, although I'm not sure ANY of that is going to be too effective in getting the bike back to the owner.

It'd be great be able to get all the bikes back to their owners, but it's not really realistic, especially when so many people don't lock their bikes correctly, or don't even know how. Educate some people, register your bike, and take some comfort in knowing you took reasonable steps to prevent a theft, rather than avenging one.
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Old 09-18-10, 09:45 AM
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For the really expensive bikes. How about a GPS tracking device embedding deep down the seat tube? Will the metal of the frame mess up with the signal? I always thought this could be a solution. An expensive one though.
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Old 09-18-10, 03:51 PM
My name is Alex
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The question I am asking really isn't how to keep your bike from being stolen, but the steps to take if you have found a stolen bike, or suspect someone is selling stolen goods. I like the idea of putting ID cards into various places of the bike, but other than getting a signature and a bill of sale (great idea regardless if the item is $5 or $5,000) is there anything solid for buying a stolen bike off craigslist? Don't act quick enough and things get sold.

I was looking at a Litespeed frame, with a full carbon Richey fork, and the guy only wanted $290. I hesitated and its been sold. I just figured I would ask about general guidelines when purchasing used equipment.
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