Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Bicycle theft and police data base for serial number look up.

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Bicycle theft and police data base for serial number look up.

Old 08-23-20, 03:15 PM
  #1  
markg7320
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bicycle theft and police data base for serial number look up.

For about five years or so I have purchased various bikes from an auction house which collects bikes seized or stolen from various police stations in central and northern California (North of Santa Barbara to Redding). These bikes are auctioned individually (if valuable) or in lots of 4,5, or 6 bicycles. I had purchased hundreds of bikes in the past for little cash, but like most things times have changed and (imo) prices are too high. The auctioned bikes are sold as is, not cleaned and when buying in lots some were in “tweaker” condition. All required some work and definitely cleaning. Like most of us when cleaning a bike we look for the serial number typically stamped on the bottom bracket or wherever to find information about the bike. This usually requires good eyes, a scrub brush, good light and a clean area to make out the numbers and letters. Of the hundreds of bicycles purchased I am certain these serial number were never looked at by the police departments. This is because there is no way these numbers could be read if not cleaned and they were not. Sure, the bikes may have sat in police storage for some time and collected dust, but it would be clear the area where the serial number would be cleaned. Some of the purchased bikes were covered in mud or gunk making it impossible to see the serial numbers. None of the bikes I have purchased have had any signs indicating the serial numbers were viewed. To my question, like most people I believed the police departments used some sort of database and worked with the various online sites / data bases found online for stolen bike, but based on my auction purchases I am certain the police are not collecting the serial numbers and no way was it done on any of the bikes I have purchased, all which came from the police. What do these online stolen bike online sites actually do or are they simply collecting information. Thanks. To provide information and prove the above statements are true, the serial numbers are not visible, not to solicit the auction house, (not sure if allowed) Bikes were purchased from California Police Auctions located in Stockton California where they continue to sell +-100 bikes online every other Saturday.
markg7320 is offline  
Old 08-23-20, 03:17 PM
  #2  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 7,470

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1535 Post(s)
Liked 1,047 Times in 719 Posts
This is news?
Some time ago the city here had some high end bikes on their auction site Pinarello, Colnago etc. apparently the owners saw them and the auction got pulled.
dedhed is offline  
Old 08-23-20, 05:20 PM
  #3  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 22,337

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 131 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2495 Post(s)
Liked 1,029 Times in 667 Posts
Tracking down owners of unclaimed/stolen bikes is pretty close to the bottom of the priority list for police departments. Unless the owner physically comes to the police impound area to look for their bike, they seldom get reunited with their owners. If you buy a bike from a police auction, be sure to keep the receipt so if the original owner sees you riding the bike, they don't unknowingly think you are the thief who took the bike.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Likes For JohnDThompson:
Old 08-23-20, 05:51 PM
  #4  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,543
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 937 Post(s)
Liked 458 Times in 307 Posts
I live near a large university, and a lot of students just abandon their bikes when they graduate or otherwise move on with their lives. They get cleared from the racks to make space for next year. I don't know where they go. But I'll bet that a lot of auction bikes are just legitimately abandoned.
Gresp15C is offline  
Old 08-23-20, 05:53 PM
  #5  
skidder
Bipsycorider
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,241

Bikes: Why yes, I do have a few! Thank you for asking!

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 570 Post(s)
Liked 296 Times in 217 Posts
Most of the bicycles I've seen at police impound are cruiser bikes and other assorted hybrids that aren't worth more than their scrap metal value (no wonder they sell them in /lots' containing multiple bicycles). If the police had a high-value bicycle it would probably be a newer model from a burglary arrest/seizure and they could find the serial number in the California database (the State collects the serial numbers of newly sold bicycles from dealers).
skidder is offline  
Old 08-23-20, 06:26 PM
  #6  
jack pot 
Fxxxxr
 
jack pot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: falfurrias texas
Posts: 755

Bikes: wabi classic (stolen & recovered)

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1538 Post(s)
Liked 619 Times in 461 Posts
WORST SERIAL # & COP STORY EVER: rode to the hospital. no bike rack so i put the bike inside next to a security guard. came out & my WABI was gone. new security guard never saw it.hosp security camera doesn't cover the entrance ??? 1st security guard didn't remember. posted pics at LBS & pawn shops. 9 mos later LBS calls & tells me guy is there on my bike. I go to shop and put a chain on the bike. I call the cops. the cops come and ask did i file a police report & how can i prove it was my bike. i said the LBS id'd it & there is a calendar inside with picture of me & this bike (calendar is promo for NPR radio) . the cops said that the guy claims he bought it at a pawn shop and since i did not file a police report with the serial # it was my word against his. i tried to explain that the LBS & i can name the bars & tape & pedal etc AND the odds of there being another WABI identical to mine in this town were more than 100000000000000000000 to 1. i even called matt @ WABI & he told the cops it was my build. i asked the cops to take the bike to the station and they refused. when i argued that they couldn't give MY bike to this guy they threatened me with arrest for interfering with official cop business. they let the guy ride away and they would not even give me his name & address. i filed a complaint with the cops. they said they would give me MY bike back if i paid the guy $400.00. I PAID >>> this is as bad as it gets >>>>> i should have got a baseball bat and me and the shop guys should have taken the bike and let that guy call the cops> I would have given my address. > i know i should have locked the bike but the closest place was a 1/2 block away.
__________________
Nothing is true---everything is permitted
jack pot is offline  
Old 08-23-20, 06:26 PM
  #7  
RGMN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Western 'burbs of TC,MN
Posts: 397
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 181 Post(s)
Liked 116 Times in 82 Posts
Most LEO have no incentive to check the serial number of a bike. If it gets sold at auction that money goes to the police department. If they check the serial number and find that an owner reported it stolen they need to return it (or at least notify the owner that it has been found) and they lose the money from the auction. Source: 2 LEOs I know and have worked with on community projects.

Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
If you buy a bike from a police auction, be sure to keep the receipt so if the original owner sees you riding the bike, they don't unknowingly think you are the thief who took the bike.
All this gives is the police another document to use to charge you. It will be a fraudulent document type of charge they come up with. The prosecuting attorney will need to sort it out after they arrest you. Source: I was stopped so many times in my youth as "someone like me shouldn't have a nice bike like that, so you must have stolen it." They'd check the serial number and find it wasn't reported stolen. One officer finally decided that even though the bike wasn't reported stolen having the receipt was suspicious, so he arrested me with having forged sales documents as well as possession of stolen property. The city attorney threw out the charges, but only after I got to spend time at juve. And it took a couple of months to get the bike back from the police.

Last edited by RGMN; 08-23-20 at 06:39 PM.
RGMN is offline  
Likes For RGMN:
Old 08-23-20, 09:25 PM
  #8  
markg7320
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I enjoy working on things, and can't watch t.v. it is so damn dumb. If I can pick something up reasonable and give it to someone, great. Anything that rolls today sells for $100.00 which is not much anymore, if it says Trek, it sells for $150 - $200 and it is free garage time for me, hell I'm not married so at times I'll work on things inside..because I can.
markg7320 is offline  
Old 08-23-20, 10:05 PM
  #9  
flangehead
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 502

Bikes: 2017 Co-op ADV 1.1; ~1991 Novara Arriba; 1990 Fuji Palisade; mid-90's Moots Tandem

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 218 Post(s)
Liked 293 Times in 175 Posts
Originally Posted by markg7320 View Post
...To my question, like most people I believed the police departments used some sort of database and worked with the various online sites / data bases found online for stolen bike, but based on my auction purchases I am certain the police are not collecting the serial numbers and no way was it done on any of the bikes I have purchased, all which came from the police....
Per Wikipedia, "Policing in the United States is conducted by 'around 18,000 federal, state, local and city departments, all with their own rules'".

All the online registers like www.bikeindex.org and www.project529.com do is provide a place to record data.

Some PDs say they use one registry or another. For example, Golden CO says on their website "A bike registered with NBR, the only true national database, can be identified by police and returned to you instead of being sold at an auction." Really out of date; NBR is now project529. Does Golden CO do it? Consistently? Sometimes? Never? Dunno.

As for the other 17,999 PDs? Clearly your experience is that some PD do not.

I haven't had a bike stolen yet, but when it happens, I have it registered so I have the data when making the report to the police.

I fully understand that the odds are long that I'll get my bike back. First line of defense is worthless bikes; second line of defense is to lock securely in low-risk locations.

If you have evidence your local PD is lazy, there is probably a co-op/bike club/public service solution to that problem. If it is corrupt as suggested in some cases, a local newspaper might be useful... oh.. gone the way of the passenger pigeon... fuggetit, nothing to be done...
flangehead is offline  
Old 08-24-20, 02:28 PM
  #10  
Erzulis Boat
3rd Grade Dropout
 
Erzulis Boat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Santa Barbara Calif.
Posts: 1,301
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 162 Post(s)
Liked 91 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I live near a large university, and a lot of students just abandon their bikes when they graduate or otherwise move on with their lives. They get cleared from the racks to make space for next year. I don't know where they go. But I'll bet that a lot of auction bikes are just legitimately abandoned.
At the Santa Barbara County Road Yard, there is a true mountain of bikes, quite literally a pile. These are collected after the school year.

I need to get a picture some time. It's incredibly huge!
Erzulis Boat is offline  
Likes For Erzulis Boat:
Old 08-24-20, 10:14 PM
  #11  
markg7320
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My uncle and I went to Burningman about 15 years ago, (went without understanding that it those are not my people) anyway, same concept with a huge mountain of bikes. Funny to see the "save the world people in throw it away times". Burningman, sure there are some that think it is great, someone described to me as "attending burning man is like trying to look intelligent while sitting on the toilet".
markg7320 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.