Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Question about stolen bike?

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Question about stolen bike?

Old 02-09-19, 10:49 AM
  #1  
Commuter19
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Question about stolen bike?

So basically when i first started cycling for commuting last year due to a incident my hybrid bike got stolen. Due to having a mountain bike Iíve been using this since then for commuting. However Thursday afternoon whilst wanting for someone
. I noticed the nearest bike rack their was a bicycle that looked exactly like my stolen one from last year. Same stratches on fork and that missing valve cap on rear wheel just like my stolen one. I just have a odd feeling itís my old one. The only think is itís locked up and has different accessories. I canít check to make sure 100% as since itís locked up I canít access the serial number and I donít want to report it to police (unless Iím exactly sure because I donít want to waste their time)

I do register all my bikes for free on bike register website)


so what what should I go any suggestions?
Commuter19 is offline  
Old 02-09-19, 10:55 AM
  #2  
mcours2006
Senior Member
 
mcours2006's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 5,644

Bikes: Giant Rapid, Bianchi Advantage, Specialized Roubaix, 1985 Gardin Quatro, Norco Threshold, Raleigh Serengheti MTB

Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1707 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 14 Posts
The only way to be sure is to check the serial. Missing valve cap is a poor indication, and the scratches, unless you have a photo of you bike showing the scratches before it was stolen, wouldn't be so reliable either.

Steal the bike. Check the serial, if it's yours, keep it. If it's not, put it back with a note of apology.
mcours2006 is offline  
Old 02-09-19, 11:10 AM
  #3  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,554
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1252 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
If it’s yours and you can prove it, lock it to the rack and call the cops. They will sort it out.
alan s is offline  
Old 02-09-19, 11:18 AM
  #4  
jon c. 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 3,668
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 956 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Scratches could be reliable if you remember them well. But if you just have "an odd feeling" that it is your old one, maybe you only sort of remember what they look like. You would probably have to involve the cops to get it back so you want to be reasonably certain it's yours. You don't sound all that certain.
jon c. is offline  
Old 02-09-19, 11:20 AM
  #5  
Commuter19
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
The only way to be sure is to check the serial. Missing valve cap is a poor indication, and the scratches, unless you have a photo of you bike showing the scratches before it was stolen, wouldn't be so reliable either.

Steal the bike. Check the serial, if it's yours, keep it. If it's not, put it back with a note of apology.
Those are the only things how i recognize it. That's what i mean i won't know for sure unless i can get the serial number which i can't due to it being locked up by i dunno who also If you were to steal it you get risk getting caught and you don't want to get yourself arrested. Espeically in my area where police are driving past frequently. Also a lot of people hang out around that area.
Commuter19 is offline  
Old 02-09-19, 11:24 AM
  #6  
Commuter19
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
Scratches could be reliable if you remember them well. But if you just have "an odd feeling" that it is your old one, maybe you only sort of remember what they look like. You would probably have to involve the cops to get it back so you want to be reasonably certain it's yours. You don't sound all that certain.
That's because it's a very common brand and you can't be 100% without checking the serial number which you can't acess when it's locked up. i had nothing else missing on my bike apart from the valve cap and a few stratches. Those are the only things that make me think is mine from last year. :///. I dunno how else you can be certain

Also another things is you don't want to risk just staying in town to see if anyone comes to unlock it and then confront that person and ask because that'll just put yourself at risk.
Commuter19 is offline  
Old 02-09-19, 11:32 AM
  #7  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,554
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1252 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
I don’t mean to be critical, but try being a little more resourceful. You can use a cellphone to take a picture of the serial number. You still need to prove that it’s your bike. You don’t need to confront anyone. Call the cops. That’s what they do for a living.
alan s is offline  
Old 02-09-19, 02:31 PM
  #8  
Kedosto
Ambulophobic
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: San Leandro, CA
Posts: 998
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 360 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
C'mon man. If you're claiming you can't verify the numbers on a locked bike then you're not trying hard enough. If I seriously suspected a bike locked to a rack was mine, I'd get the number off the bottom bracket, even if I had to lay in the mud to do it. Hell, holding your phone under the bike for a quick pic should do it.

Get the number -- no excuses. If it's yours, slap a big, fat lock on it and call the police. Be ready to prove it's yours when they arrive. Oh, and bring something to cut off the other guys lock. I recommend an 18v cutting wheel.


-Kedosto
Kedosto is offline  
Old 02-10-19, 04:17 PM
  #9  
acidfast7
EU > USA
 
acidfast7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 8,450

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid / 2013 Mango FGSS

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 999 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 9 Posts
That's why I don't buy generic bicycles.
acidfast7 is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 10:08 AM
  #10  
Korina
Banana slug
 
Korina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 967

Bikes: 2016 Giant Live Rove Lite 2004 Giant OCR1, 1993 Women's Giant Rincon, 1988 Specialized Rockhopper Comp (frame)

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 338 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
That's why I decorate mine.
Korina is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 06:41 PM
  #11  
RubeRad
Keepin it Wheel
 
RubeRad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,458

Bikes: Surly CrossCheck, Moto Fantom29 ProSL hardtail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 12 Posts
Why does being locked up mean you can't get the serial #? You can't put a cell phone underneath and take a picture?
RubeRad is offline  
Old 02-12-19, 07:00 PM
  #12  
madpogue 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Madison, WI USA
Posts: 2,655
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 539 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 15 Posts
^^^^^ Do phone cameras focus that close? I was thinking of putting a mirror under it and shooting that.
madpogue is offline  
Old 02-12-19, 09:28 PM
  #13  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 9,304

Bikes: '76 Paramount, Salsa Timberjack, Burley Samba, Terra Trike

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1395 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 21 Posts
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
^^^^^ Do phone cameras focus that close? I was thinking of putting a mirror under it and shooting that.
donít do that, itíll be seven years bad luck
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 02-12-19, 09:37 PM
  #14  
daoswald
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Salt Lake City, UT (Formerly Los Angeles, CA)
Posts: 979

Bikes: 2008 Cannondale Synapse -- 2014 Cannondale Quick CX

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 160 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 14 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
^^^^^ Do phone cameras focus that close? I was thinking of putting a mirror under it and shooting that.
Good ones do.
daoswald is offline  
Old 02-14-19, 03:41 PM
  #15  
Skipjacks
Senior Member
 
Skipjacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Mid Atlantic / USA
Posts: 1,728

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Crosstrail / 2013 Trek Crossrip Elite

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 839 Post(s)
Liked 70 Times in 49 Posts
It's not just enough to know its yours and verify it by having the serial number

You have to prove you are the rightful owner of that serial number

What's stopping the other person from saying you sold him the bike last year for cash? No receipt. No paper trail.

How can you prove you ever owned that serial number in the first place?

See what I'm saying?

Without some proof of your loss the cops are going to side with the person who is in possession of the bike today.

Did you file a police report when it was stolen? That's the kind of thing that would give you credible documentation that the bike was stolen and not sold. Even then the current owner can claim you sold it then filed a police report. Though at that point there is a burden of proof that starts to spread to the current owner.

It's just a tough thing to prove.
Skipjacks is offline  
Old 02-14-19, 03:52 PM
  #16  
mtb_addict
Senior Member
 
mtb_addict's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,822
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2833 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Possession is nine-tenths of the law

which means you'll have a hard time proving you're the lawful owner since whoever locked it up has "possession" of the bike...
so they start out with 9 points and you have only 1 point. You have to score 9 points to win.

but thieves are often very dumb...so they often quickly confess under pressure

This reminds me of the movie: the guy follows the bike thieve (a teenage) home. He knocked on the door and asked to talk to the parent...and asked the parent about the bike...the parent realized his son could never have afforded such a nice bike...proceeded returned the bike to the rightful owner without incident...and the theif afterward got a deserved beating from Dad.

Last edited by mtb_addict; 02-14-19 at 04:02 PM.
mtb_addict is offline  
Old 02-14-19, 05:05 PM
  #17  
RubeRad
Keepin it Wheel
 
RubeRad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,458

Bikes: Surly CrossCheck, Moto Fantom29 ProSL hardtail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 12 Posts
Also, it's quite possible (more likely even) that whoever is in possession of the stolen bike is not the thief, but bought it from the thief, and probably has no idea it was stolen.
RubeRad is offline  
Old 02-14-19, 07:52 PM
  #18  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,554
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1252 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Possession is nine-tenths of the law

which means you'll have a hard time proving you're the lawful owner since whoever locked it up has "possession" of the bike...
so they start out with 9 points and you have only 1 point. You have to score 9 points to win.

but thieves are often very dumb...so they often quickly confess under pressure

This reminds me of the movie: the guy follows the bike thieve (a teenage) home. He knocked on the door and asked to talk to the parent...and asked the parent about the bike...the parent realized his son could never have afforded such a nice bike...proceeded returned the bike to the rightful owner without incident...and the theif afterward got a deserved beating from Dad.
Thatís why you put your lock on your bike. Then both or neither possess the bike. How will anyone know who locked it first?
alan s is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 12:18 PM
  #19  
robertorolfo
Senior Member
 
robertorolfo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Queens, NY for now...
Posts: 899

Bikes: 82/82 Lotus Unique, 86 Lotus Legend, 89 Basso PR

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
How can you prove you ever owned that serial number in the first place?
See what I'm saying?
Without some proof of your loss the cops are going to side with the person who is in possession of the bike today.
Did you file a police report when it was stolen? That's the kind of thing that would give you credible documentation that the bike was stolen and not sold. Even then the current owner can claim you sold it then filed a police report. Though at that point there is a burden of proof that starts to spread to the current owner.
These are all good points, and I've actually wondered what I could do to "register" my current bikes to prevent this in the future. Is there a reliable and legitimate way of doing so? What do most of you on here do?

Originally Posted by RubeRad
Also, it's quite possible (more likely even) that whoever is in possession of the stolen bike is not the thief, but bought it from the thief, and probably has no idea it was stolen.
And then there's this. What happens in these circumstances? The new "owner" hasn't done anything wrong, so would they suddenly be out of a bike they paid for? I can only imagine some person claiming one of my bikes was previously stolen from them. I'd feel really bad, and probably just give it back if they really could prove it and seemed to care about the bike, but that's a pickle of a situation.
robertorolfo is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 01:07 PM
  #20  
RubeRad
Keepin it Wheel
 
RubeRad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,458

Bikes: Surly CrossCheck, Moto Fantom29 ProSL hardtail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
These are all good points, and I've actually wondered what I could do to "register" my current bikes to prevent this in the future. Is there a reliable and legitimate way of doing so? What do most of you on here do?
https://www.nationalbikeregistry.com/

I've been meaning to do this for a few months now since I heard a great podcast with the founder of the 529 garage.

https://outspokencyclist.com/2018/04...april-14-2018/
RubeRad is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 01:19 PM
  #21  
Skipjacks
Senior Member
 
Skipjacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Mid Atlantic / USA
Posts: 1,728

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Crosstrail / 2013 Trek Crossrip Elite

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 839 Post(s)
Liked 70 Times in 49 Posts
Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
These are all good points, and I've actually wondered what I could do to "register" my current bikes to prevent this in the future. Is there a reliable and legitimate way of doing so? What do most of you on here do?



And then there's this. What happens in these circumstances? The new "owner" hasn't done anything wrong, so would they suddenly be out of a bike they paid for? I can only imagine some person claiming one of my bikes was previously stolen from them. I'd feel really bad, and probably just give it back if they really could prove it and seemed to care about the bike, but that's a pickle of a situation.
Again, even if you registered your bike somewhere, how do you prove it was actually stolen and not legally sold to the current owner?

This is why possession is 9/10th of the law. (That's not really a law, by the way. It just means the burden of proof is on the person claiming the property is stolen)

When the cops show up to sort things out you can show them all the bike registrations you want showing you used to own the bike. But that is not in dispute. It's relatively easy to prove you USED to own the bike but no one cares if you USED to own it. What matters is who legally owns it NOW

As for the new owner, if you are in possession of stolen goods you're out of luck. If the rightful owner can prove he is the rightful owner the current owner is screwed, even if they had no idea the bike was stolen. Now, if you are unknowingly in possession of stolen goods and there is no proof that you were aware the bike was stolen, then you don't get in any trouble. But you don't get your money back.

That's why it's important when you bike something expensive off Craigslist to protect yourself.

First off, make the transaction at the seller's house. Don't meet in the abandoned quarry 20 miles outside of town. Someone selling stolen goods won't be selling them out of his house since that is the first place you will send the cops if you find out you bought stolen goods. If you aren't comfortable going to the seller's house, you probably shouldn't be meeting up with that person anywhere.

Second, get a receipt. Make the seller sign it. (If you're buying a $100 old beater....skip this part. If you are buying a $2000 carbon bike, write up a receipt). If the bike does turn out to be stolen later you can prove that you didn't steal it, and can give the cops evidence about who did, and can sue to recoup your money. (Good luck with that one...but without the receipt you have no chance)

Ultimately though if you buy a used bike that turns out to be stolen and the rightful owner comes to claim it....you are out the money.

It's one of the advantages of buying from a legitimate store. It tends to cost a little more but if the bike does turn out to be stolen you have a printed receipt from a business who will really have no choice but to give you a full refund. It would be cheaper for them to eat the loss than to get a reputation of selling stolen bikes. (Plus they will give you a tune up and stuff too)

Sometimes you just have to use your instincts. If it's a Craiglist deal for a brand new carbon fiber bike for $300....alarm bells should be going off. I mean maybe it's just someone who had no idea what it's worth. But it's probably stolen. If the Craiglist ad is too elaborate with a back story of "I am selling this cheap because it's my ex boyfriend's and he left me pregnant and I just need money fast" it's a stolen bike. If everything seems legit until you get to the seller's house and the back yard has 400 bikes in various sizes and styles(meaning they aren't all his) just keep driving.

But if the bike is offered at a reasonable price and you talk to the seller on the phone and meet him at his house and nothing is making your spidey sense tingle, take the risk. But get a receipt.

The human brain is REMARKABLE at detecting someone lying to you. It has amazing accuracy in giving you warning that something about an interaction doesn't smell right. We all develop that skill over years of interacting with other humans. Where the system is flawed is that we often ignore the voice in our heads saying "RUN! THIS DOESN'T SEEM RIGHT!" because we want to convince ourselves that it's a legit good deal. The brain told you it's wrong but we ignore it. Don't ignore it. Trust your instincts. They are probably right.

Last edited by Skipjacks; 02-15-19 at 01:24 PM.
Skipjacks is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 01:28 PM
  #22  
RubeRad
Keepin it Wheel
 
RubeRad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,458

Bikes: Surly CrossCheck, Moto Fantom29 ProSL hardtail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
Again, even if you registered your bike somewhere, how do you prove it was actually stolen and not legally sold to the current owner?
If you use the registry to promptly report your bike as stolen, that report will have a date, which I assume would count as evidence in your favor, putting the ball in court of the alleged thief (or receiver of stolen property) to provide some proof of a sale -- email/txt history from responding to craigslist ad for instance.
RubeRad is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 03:22 PM
  #23  
Skipjacks
Senior Member
 
Skipjacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Mid Atlantic / USA
Posts: 1,728

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Crosstrail / 2013 Trek Crossrip Elite

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 839 Post(s)
Liked 70 Times in 49 Posts
Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
If you use the registry to promptly report your bike as stolen, that report will have a date, which I assume would count as evidence in your favor, putting the ball in court of the alleged thief (or receiver of stolen property) to provide some proof of a sale -- email/txt history from responding to craigslist ad for instance.
It's not going to hurt to do that.

But how does the cop who shows up to the scene know that you're not the one running the scam where you sell your bike so someone for cash, then report it stolen so you can 'recover' the bike and keep the cash that there is no transaction record of? (This is why you as a bike buyer should demand a signed receipt from the seller, so you can't be the victim of this scam)

For that matter, if the bike was actually stolen the thief might just claim you are running the above mentioned scam. How does the policy or the court know who's lying? If that's all the proof you have the cops are going to let the thief keep the bike.

It certainly won't hurt you to have timestamped documentation of the theft. If you can combine that with other evidence (not sure what...) it starts to build a stronger case for you.

But if that's all you have, you don't have anything...including your stolen bike.
Skipjacks is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 03:30 PM
  #24  
RubeRad
Keepin it Wheel
 
RubeRad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,458

Bikes: Surly CrossCheck, Moto Fantom29 ProSL hardtail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 12 Posts
How often do bike sales occur with no text or email record of arranging to meet up?

I guess those arrangements could be made over a phone call only, in which case call logs could be subpoena'd, but that's not going to happen on the spot, and probably will never happen for a low-ish value item like most bikes.

And a thief could always use a burner phone.

But that's not a long-term scam, a thief could probably only get that past the police once. 2nd time hopefully they'd look at the registry and see a (contested) previous theft/recovery and inquire deeper.

But yes, it can't hurt for a buyer to request a written receipt. Or how about a selfie with the bike, and the buyer&seller shaking hands (that also gets a timestamp, and maybe a geotag as well)
RubeRad is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 03:33 PM
  #25  
robertorolfo
Senior Member
 
robertorolfo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Queens, NY for now...
Posts: 899

Bikes: 82/82 Lotus Unique, 86 Lotus Legend, 89 Basso PR

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
... But how does the cop who shows up to the scene know that you're not the one running the scam where you sell your bike so someone for cash, then report it stolen so you can 'recover' the bike and keep the cash that there is no transaction record of? (This is why you as a bike buyer should demand a signed receipt from the seller, so you can't be the victim of this scam)... But if that's all you have, you don't have anything...including your stolen bike.
Wow, you are pretty good at this devil's advocate stuff (and I can appreciate that). What you wrote is possible, but that scam couldn't really work more than once or twice (I know, it only takes once with an expensive bike, and incompetent cops/moving around could make it work multiple times). So there are some loopholes, but they don't seem too bad.

What I want to know is what the OP ended up doing???
robertorolfo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.