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"Found" bike - Carelessness exhibited by owner

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"Found" bike - Carelessness exhibited by owner

Old 11-01-06, 11:36 AM
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"Found" bike - Carelessness exhibited by owner

I "found" a bike sitting a public rack. The thin combo lock was wrapped around the handlebars (big cruiser bars) in such a way that it could be removed with one hand and the amount of physical work it would take to lift a paper weight about 8 inches.

The bike has been sitting in a public rack for over a month. It's been knocked over several and picked up, presumably because it is a high traffic rack. The shifter for the 3-speed hub is broken off.

I've read other threads on abandoned bikes. I know that "stealing is stealing." However, a basically unlocked, rusting bike is asking to be stolen by some jackass who will sell it or trash it, rather than some jackass (ie, me) who will love it and appreciate it.

I know that it would be wrong for me to take this bike, but is it worth convincing myself that I am allowed to decide who DESERVES this bike?

EDIT: Also posted below; what if I take the bike and post "found" signs? The bike was unlocked, I found it, I'm offering to give it back. Is that still evil?

Last edited by mathletics; 11-01-06 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 11-01-06, 11:40 AM
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we have one that would be a GREAT commuter right on my block. it's been chained up and hasn't moved in about a year. been snowed on, rained on, etc. starting to get rusty too.

i would love to have it - the only problem is that it is locked with a big 'ole kyrptonite lock and chain. removing it would require considerable effort.
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Old 11-01-06, 12:20 PM
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Wouldn't hurt to ask the local PD to go pick it up... then you can probably buy it cheaply if not free after a holding period of 1-2 weeks.

There was a discussion about this, but its better to go through official channels, than run the risk of getting put in the slammer and charged with the same stuff that real bike thieves get hit with.
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Old 11-01-06, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by lancerob
Too bad there isn't a department of "Bicycle Protective Services". It's too bad when people don't take car of their bikes. There are many people out there who would love to have them and would care for them properly.
I'd love to see something like this. Abandoned cars get quickly picked up and auctioned off... wish there were the same for bikes that have been sitting for months in locations which are slowly eroding.
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Old 11-01-06, 12:40 PM
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I found a bike on campus a couple weeks ago that is the exact same bike as the first mtb I had in jr. high (DB Sorrento, the bike that really started it all). Same size, color, and all original parts. It's been locked there for a while, without moving, but it still feels wrong to try to "rescue" it from "abandonment". If it stays there for a while I might sing a different tune.
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Old 11-01-06, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mathletics
I've read other threads on abandoned bikes. I know that "stealing is stealing." However, a basically unlocked, rusting bike is asking to be stolen by some jackass who will sell it or trash it, rather than some jackass (ie, me) who will love it and appreciate it.

I know that it would be wrong for me to take this bike, but is it worth convincing myself that I am allowed to decide who DESERVES this bike?
You know there are a number of things like this, where I would be a better steward of the item than the true owner. For example there's a guy in my neighborhood that has a number of really nice cars, to the point he doesnt have the time to drive , or care for, them all. Next time he's foolish enough to leave his Ferrari in the driveway where some jackass could take it, I think I'll grab it to ensure its cared for properly.

then, there's my neighbor with the really hot wife that gets no attention....
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Old 11-01-06, 12:55 PM
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Check with the businesses this public rack is in front of or near to see if they know anything about the bike. If youa re going to take it inquire with the local P.D. first. Tell them how long it has been there there may be a lenght of time you have to give something attached to a public rack before it can be claimed by someone else.
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Old 11-01-06, 01:39 PM
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Follow-up question: What if I take the bike and post "found" signs? The bike was totally unlocked, I found it, I'm offering to give it back. Is that still evil?
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Old 11-01-06, 02:07 PM
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If its been more than a year, a bike is for the taking. Any other property would be by the town or city (car, or any crap chained to a large object). Take it, use it, and be happy.
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Old 11-01-06, 02:37 PM
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Call the PD and ask. You may have to ask around to find someone who actually knows the laws concerning abandoned property, but what do you have to loose? Or you can try looking up the laws yourself.
As far as a bike on campus, is it near dorms where someone who lives in the dorm still goes to school and just hasn't used the bike? I'd be more careful about that one, but you could still check with the campus PD or administration.
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Old 11-01-06, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by kjmillig
Call the PD and ask. You may have to ask around to find someone who actually knows the laws concerning abandoned property, but what do you have to loose? Or you can try looking up the laws yourself.
As far as a bike on campus, is it near dorms where someone who lives in the dorm still goes to school and just hasn't used the bike? I'd be more careful about that one, but you could still check with the campus PD or administration.
That is exactly the case. There are 3 dorms with a central cafeteria, and it's parked in the public racks outside the cafeteria, not one of the dorm racks.
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Old 11-01-06, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
You know there are a number of things like this, where I would be a better steward of the item than the true owner. For example there's a guy in my neighborhood that has a number of really nice cars, to the point he doesnt have the time to drive , or care for, them all. Next time he's foolish enough to leave his Ferrari in the driveway where some jackass could take it, I think I'll grab it to ensure its cared for properly.

then, there's my neighbor with the really hot wife that gets no attention....
Ha! Then there are these jerks who abandon their beach houses all but two weeks of the year...
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Old 11-01-06, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
...then, there's my neighbor with the really hot wife that gets no attention....
I think you'll be too busy with that Ferrari. Better let me handle this one...
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Old 11-01-06, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mathletics
Follow-up question: What if I take the bike and post "found" signs? The bike was totally unlocked, I found it, I'm offering to give it back. Is that still evil?
I did something like that. Of course, I was virtually certain that the bike had been abandoned-- not just a hunch, but 99% certainty, the moment I saw it (because the manager of my building had cleaned out all unclaimed bikes, and this was one of them, and one I had my eye on; I recognized it the moment I saw it, even though it had been "disposed of" months before.). I left it where it was. That night, it was still there. I brought it inside my apartment, and in the morning asked my apartment manager about it. She had placed it where I found it, it was abandoned, and she asked me if I wanted it.

Now it's mine.

And yes, I've done several stolen bike searches on it just in case it was stolen.



In your situation, I would leave a note on the bike instead of taking it.
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Old 11-01-06, 07:22 PM
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Nice, so you came up with the idea that a bike if a bike is left more than a month alone, you can simply steal someones ride?

Good job.
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Old 11-01-06, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by operator
Nice, so you came up with the idea that a bike if a bike is left more than a month alone, you can simply steal someones ride?

Good job.
Locked to a pole outside of an apartment with a pair of Kryptonite chains and unlocked on a public rack are two very different situations. My rationale is that it doesn't seem like the owner cares if it gets stolen (an assumption, I know, but fairly likely considering the circumstances).
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Old 11-02-06, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by kjmillig
Call the PD and ask.
My work had a Giant Yukon in great condition chained for about a week to a telephone pole right by our parking lot entrance. A person in police uniform with a little truck came, cut the lock and loaded it up. I asked him what he was going to do with it and he said he was going to take it to the dump. I asked him for it and he said he couldn't give it to me but that if I followed him to the station, I could fill out a form that lets him store it for 90 days to wait to be claimed or reported stolen. I did and 90 days later, I was the legal owner of an almost new and totally free Giant Yukon.
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Old 11-02-06, 07:56 PM
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Sweeeeet! My wife's first road bike had been locked up outside the hangar I worked at in the USAF for months. I just asked and it was mine (or my wife's).
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Old 11-02-06, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by mathletics
That is exactly the case. There are 3 dorms with a central cafeteria, and it's parked in the public racks outside the cafeteria, not one of the dorm racks.

So, the moral of this story is....?

The food in this cafeteria must be deadly.
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Old 11-06-06, 09:44 AM
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I have rebuilt several abandoned bikes left on campus. My criteria are pretty strict, however. In riding bike patrol, I always keep an eye on the bike racks anyway, so I know which ones have been sitting unused.
Rusty chains, flat tires, etc. all point to an abandoned item.

I always wait till the kiddies leave for the Summer, and stuff left behind on the racks will be cut off and dumped anyway. We always post instructions for the kids that are staying to move their bikes to a specific location.
Finally, I always check registration (if any) and serial numbers through NCIC. I have actually both returned bikes to rightful owners by checking, or secured "legal" ownership. (I figure an e-mail saying "no, I don't want that bike anymore" is sufficient).
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Old 11-07-06, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikewer
I have rebuilt several abandoned bikes left on campus. My criteria are pretty strict, however. In riding bike patrol, I always keep an eye on the bike racks anyway, so I know which ones have been sitting unused.
Rusty chains, flat tires, etc. all point to an abandoned item.

I always wait till the kiddies leave for the Summer, and stuff left behind on the racks will be cut off and dumped anyway. We always post instructions for the kids that are staying to move their bikes to a specific location.
Finally, I always check registration (if any) and serial numbers through NCIC. I have actually both returned bikes to rightful owners by checking, or secured "legal" ownership. (I figure an e-mail saying "no, I don't want that bike anymore" is sufficient).
How can I check the registration and serial number? There is a bike registration sticker, but it is mostly scratched off (perhaps the bike was hot from the start?). I picked up the bike, and I'd like to return it if it actually belongs to someone who cares about it and just hasn't been instructed on how to properly lock a bicycle. My best solution so far is just to post "FOUND" fliers in the dorms to see if anyone lost a bike.
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