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How to know if a bike is stolen?

Old 04-16-16, 08:48 PM
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mani123lol
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How to know if a bike is stolen?

I'm buying a Montague paratrooper on CL for 450$, the owner says he bought it in 2010, it goes for 850 at the moment. What do you think? Any other warning signs? Says he had it for 6 years barely used.
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Old 04-16-16, 08:53 PM
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If it's not where you left it, it's stolen.
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Old 04-16-16, 08:54 PM
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Why did you select this particular bike to purchase?
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Old 04-16-16, 08:54 PM
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Maybe try to surreptitiously check the serial number on the bike, remember it, and check with the local Police to see if they have a record of it. If you feel weird about it, walk away.
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Old 04-16-16, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mani123lol View Post
I'm buying a Montague paratrooper on CL for 450$, the owner says he bought it in 2010, it goes for 850 at the moment. What do you think? Any other warning signs? Says he had it for 6 years barely used.

You can ask him for the original receipt with the reasoning being that you want to take it back to the same shop it came from for regular maintenance.
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Old 04-16-16, 09:03 PM
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Someone who tries to do the transaction anonymously, sells lots of bikes, wants to meet in a public place, is not at the market rate, pushing hard for a quick sale. In other words, look at the seller.
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Old 04-16-16, 09:03 PM
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It's impossible to tell from most sellers... if the bike has ever been stolen. If the deal seems shady just walk away. If they don't want you to meet at their home that may be a heads-up. Instead of meeting in the bar (or whatever) parking lot they suggest..... insist on meeting at the local police station. Take a friend.
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Old 04-16-16, 09:04 PM
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There is no central database for bikes, stolen or otherwise. While an original ales receipt would be decent proof of legal ownership, not having one doesn't mean much because plenty of people don't save these receipts permanently.

If you're picking the bike from his home, make a note of the address and get a bill of sale. If meeting him in a parking lot someplace, note his car's plate number. Also print and save the CL listing.

Other than that I wouldn't worry, you're buying the bike in good faith, and the price reflects that. It's not lime you're buying it for $50.00 on the street corner.
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Old 04-16-16, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
Why did you select this particular bike to purchase?
It's foldable and it's a full sized bike.
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Old 04-16-16, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
There is no central database for bikes, stolen or otherwise. While an original ales receipt would be decent proof of legal ownership, not having one doesn't mean much because plenty of people don't save these receipts permanently.
It's a five year old bike that's worth 850 today. Heck, I'd save the receipt. But that's just me. Im a pack rat.
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Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.
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Old 04-16-16, 09:32 PM
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Old 04-16-16, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mani123lol View Post
I'm buying a Montague paratrooper on CL for 450$, the owner says he bought it in 2010, it goes for 850 at the moment. What do you think? Any other warning signs? Says he had it for 6 years barely used.
When you say "goes for 850 at the moment" do you mean that is what they are listed for on eBay, what they are actually selling for on eBay, or brand new out of the shop?

There are thousands of bikes sitting in garages all around the world that were bought on a whim, were ridden maybe three times, over five miles, and were put away because cycling became too difficult or too uncomfortable. Many are the stories here of people picking up bikes for much, much cheaper than they might seem when it comes to original owners cleaning out garages.

I find the distrust inherent in this type of thing amusing in its own way. We have sellers who distrust potential buyers turning up at their homes, for fear of them casing the joint for a later robbery and therefore wanting to meet in neutral territory, and we have buyers thinking sellers are ripping them off with stolen goods.

Questions that could be asked are: Why is it being sold? Where was it bought? Has it been serviced? What size is it? What condition are the tyres in? All are things that a keen seller should be able to answer without too many difficulties if they are familiar with the bike's history.
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Old 04-16-16, 09:41 PM
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I sell things on CL below their retail value, quite regularly. When I want something gone I want it gone, and selling below the going rate assures that it goes quick.
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Old 04-16-16, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
When you say "goes for 850 at the moment" do you mean that is what they are listed for on eBay, what they are actually selling for on eBay, or brand new out of the shop?

There are thousands of bikes sitting in garages all around the world that were bought on a whim, were ridden maybe three times, over five miles, and were put away because cycling became too difficult or too uncomfortable. Many are the stories here of people picking up bikes for much, much cheaper than they might seem when it comes to original owners cleaning out garages.

I find the distrust inherent in this type of thing amusing in its own way. We have sellers who distrust potential buyers turning up at their homes, for fear of them casing the joint for a later robbery and therefore wanting to meet in neutral territory, and we have buyers thinking sellers are ripping them off with stolen goods.

Questions that could be asked are: Why is it being sold? Where was it bought? Has it been serviced? What size is it? What condition are the tyres in? All are things that a keen seller should be able to answer without too many difficulties if they are familiar with the bike's history.
it's 850 new out of the shop. I only ask because I've had 3 bikes stolen so far, and I want to invest on my first expensive bike. and actually take care of it.
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Old 04-16-16, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by drlogik View Post
Maybe try to surreptitiously check the serial number on the bike, remember it, and check with the local Police to see if they have a record of it. If you feel weird about it, walk away.
I don't see anything wrong to ask for the serial no. outright or even a sales receipt. I'd even be very upfront as to say I want to make sure I'm not purchasing a stolen bike.
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Old 04-16-16, 10:19 PM
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My state has mandatory registration, so if a CL bike has no reg it is an immediate red flag. LBS are required by law to complete the paperwork prior to sale, so non-reg are imports or they removed the sticker.

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Old 04-16-16, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mani123lol View Post
it's 850 new out of the shop. I only ask because I've had 3 bikes stolen so far, and I want to invest on my first expensive bike. and actually take care of it.
OK. $850 includes sales tax and the bike shop's overheads plus profit or margin. That's why new stuff depreciates so rapidly after leaving the shop.

$450, to me, sounds like a reasonable price for a bike that is six years old, irrespective of whether it has been hardly used or not. As jamisFan says, be up front and ask for the serial number so you can check the bike hasn't been stolen. State that it's just a matter of due diligence.
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Old 04-16-16, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
OK. $850 includes sales tax and the bike shop's overheads plus profit or margin. That's why new stuff depreciates so rapidly after leaving the shop.

$450, to me, sounds like a reasonable price for a bike that is six years old, irrespective of whether it has been hardly used or not. As jamisFan says, be up front and ask for the serial number so you can check the bike hasn't been stolen. State that it's just a matter of due diligence.
Where can I check the serial number? People tell me law enforcement, website, or what?
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Old 04-16-16, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mani123lol View Post
it's 850 new out of the shop.
If bikes like it MSRP at $850 new, $450 used at six years old isn't a low price even if it's in extremely good condition. A bike loses an enormous fraction of its value the moment you step out of the shop with it.
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Old 04-16-16, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
There is no central database for bikes, stolen or otherwise. While an original ales receipt would be decent proof of legal ownership, not having one doesn't mean much because plenty of people don't save these receipts permanently.
There is a web page that several police departments are using, as well as individuals, I think.

https://bikeindex.org/

Unfortunately not all the bikes have the serial numbers registered. You can go by description, but sometimes it is difficult.

There seem to be about 7 paratroopers listed, so perhaps there is hope. How many colors? Black or Green?

https://bikeindex.org/bikes?utf8=%E2...proximity=true

Anyway, you can only do so much.
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Old 04-16-16, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
There is a web page that several police departments are using, as well as individuals, I think......
It's sometimes possible to confirm that a bicycle is stolen. But it's impossible to confirm that it isn't, which was my point. All that's expected is reasonable due diligence, ie. confirming the ID of the seller, getting a bill of sale, etc. Like other chattel property, bicycles are sold and traded in the secondary market every day, and none of those sales are ever recorded anywhere.

So sure, the OP can ask the local PD if the bike appears on any list, though if he's in a town larger than Mayberry, the PD may tell him they're too busy to vet bikes for prospective buyers.
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Old 04-17-16, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by mani123lol View Post
Where can I check the serial number? People tell me law enforcement, website, or what?
If the bike is stolen, it may have been reported to the police. If it was reported it may have been entered into the NCIC database. If it was your local PD may be willing to query NCIC for you to see if it was stolen.
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Old 04-17-16, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
It's impossible to tell from most sellers... if the bike has ever been stolen. If the deal seems shady just walk away. If they don't want you to meet at their home that may be a heads-up. Instead of meeting in the bar (or whatever) parking lot they suggest..... insist on meeting at the local police station. Take a friend.
No, that is common sense. I buy and sell quite a bit on Craigslist, and unless it is something that is a huge item like a couch or washing machine, we meet in public. No one comes to my place, I don't come to yours. These are complete strangers you are dealing with. A heads up would be if they wanted you to come there or to your place. Meet at the police station, some are even putting up specific areas that are under constant surveillance for just this purpose.
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Old 04-17-16, 10:01 AM
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$450 doesn't sound unreasonably low for a Paratrooper. That's an odd duck bike, neither a rigid frame full size nor a compact folder. The styling would appeal only to some folks. Maybe there just isn't much demand for it in your area and the seller priced it accordingly. I see compact folders go unsold for months on my local Craigslist. I've seen only three people rider folders in my area, and there are no local dealers. The used folders start out near full retail price and drop every few weeks, so I'm watching and waiting for the right compact folder to show up at a reasonable price.
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Old 04-17-16, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
There is a web page that several police departments are using, as well as individuals, I think.

https://bikeindex.org/
Yes, I was going to mention bikeindex. I have registered all my bikes there (and also with the local police who keep their own database). And if I'm ever shopping for a used bike I'll check bikeindex first.
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