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Is there a way to tell if a bike on Craigslist is stolen?

Old 01-24-12, 01:53 PM
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Is there a way to tell if a bike on Craigslist is stolen?

I've seen the recent threads on bike thefts, as well as threads on looking for bikes and parts on Craigslist, so that leads to my question. And have any of you ever found your or a friend's bike on Craigslist. Thanks.

Last edited by mjsocal; 01-24-12 at 01:54 PM. Reason: Typos as usual
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Old 01-24-12, 01:57 PM
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Is it anything like on pawn stars when the person acts shady and know nothing about the bike?
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Old 01-24-12, 02:02 PM
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I bought a used bike for my daughter recently. The guy had a second bike available as well. I thought nothing of it. Figured he had a couple of bikes he had never ridden and was getting rid of them. A few days later I noticed a couple of CL ads from him with several different bikes on the same porch. This led me to think I may have bought a stolen bike. All of them were decent but not expensive bike store brands. Easy to sell.

Based on this experience, I would suggest looking for multiple ads of different bikes in the same location. I figure many of such ads are legitimate sales from pawn shops, but you can determine that when they tell you where you can come to see the bike.
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Old 01-24-12, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Yo Spiff
I bought a used bike for my daughter recently. The guy had a second bike available
Based on this experience, I would suggest looking for multiple ads of different bikes in the same location. I figure many of such ads are legitimate sales from pawn shops, but you can determine that when they tell you where you can come to see the bike.
That makes sense. If he makes some sort of living stealing bikes, then he'd have all those ads.

On a side note, good for you for buying used. I just blew too much money on my daughter's cruiser. I'm not even going to mention the brand but it stays locked in the yard!
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Old 01-24-12, 03:24 PM
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If they seem to be trying to keep you from knowing who they are (they want to meet at a neutral location, you don't see their vehicle around, and want to deal only through email instead of phone calls or texts) and don't really know anything about the bike, I'd assume the worst. If you have a solid way of IDing them (address, phone number, license plate number), I'd be less concerned (but would keep that information handy just in case).
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Old 01-24-12, 03:36 PM
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Yeah, I dealt once with a guy whose phone was always "out of minutes" so he called from other phones and mainly e-mailed me and wanted to meet in a public place and the details of the bike got switched around. I got a squirrelly feeling dealing with him (and the bike was 2" smaller than advertised) so I said no thanks.
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Old 01-24-12, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mjsocal
That makes sense. If he makes some sort of living stealing bikes, then he'd have all those ads.
Not necessarily, some guys make few bucks trading on CL, buying low and selling high, like Ralph from Westminster. He posts on the OC region quite frequently.

I know him because sold him a road bike w/ shimano 105. He gave me a sob story about his wife in rehab needing a bike to exercise. Being the nice guy I am, practically it was a gift, next day yup, u guessed right it was on CL... for more than double what he paid
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Old 01-24-12, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by spinerguy
Not necessarily, some guys make few bucks trading on CL, buying low and selling high, like Ralph from Westminster. He posts on the OC region quite frequently.

I know him because sold him a road bike w/ shimano 105. He gave me a sob story about his wife in rehab needing a bike to exercise. Being the nice guy I am, practically it was a gift, next day yup, u guessed right it was on CL... for more than double what he paid
What a con artist...I'd call him the real loser in the deal. There's not a lot of people out there who are nice, so I'll consider myself lucky you're with us.

As for reselling...I've sold on CL before and have priced to sell fast. I think I've gotten a few resellers. They're aggressive and ready to pick up within the day.
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Old 01-24-12, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau
Yeah, I dealt once with a guy whose phone was always "out of minutes" so he called from other phones and mainly e-mailed me and wanted to meet in a public place and the details of the bike got switched around. I got a squirrelly feeling dealing with him (and the bike was 2" smaller than advertised) so I said no thanks.
I've run into a few sketchy people on Craigslist, so I generally screen them via email.

Nice sig...I try to watch my grammar but it doesn't always work.
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Old 01-24-12, 08:58 PM
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License plate number...now that's a good idea.
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Old 01-26-12, 03:58 PM
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There are also guys that troll garage sales and flea markets and goodwill, etc. and flip bikes. I got a bike from that guy Trent in Anaheim. I noticed he had like 6 ads up that day on CL but when I got to the place he had literally 100s of bikes laying around his property - most of them in some form of repair or another. He said he got most of them from police auction. He also had a shady mechanic (as in guy under a shade tree) working for him and overhauled another bike of mine on the spot for $40.
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