Author Topic: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?  (Read 3595 times)

aschmidt2930

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Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« on: November 03, 2014, 09:11:49 PM »
I live and work in downtown Dallas, and locked my bike up on a rack right outside a major office building out in the open.  Due to a late meeting and daylight savings time it was dark when I left the office today, which is rare for me.  Sure enough, bike is stolen.  It was a fairly inexpensive bike off Craigslist, but I would still like to get it back if possible.  Have any of you had this happen to you and been able to find it? If so let me know if you have any tips for ways to accomplish this beyond the following:

1) Filing a police report so the serial number is listed in their stolen property database.
2) Checking Craigslist several times a day.
3) Checking local pawn shops.

Also, does anyone have recommendations on locks?  I had a fairly pricey combination lock, but I'm thinking a steel U-lock may be the way to go? Maybe a U-lock and a combination lock?




Sid Hoffman

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 09:30:49 PM »
I registered my bike's serial number with my local police department, which goes into their database that is supposed to be checked at pawn shops and such.  However given that I typically see massive truckloads of bicycles on the highway headed south towards Mexico, I doubt that stolen bikes are getting pawned very often.

According to this link, the recovery rate is just 2.4% in Montreal and between you and I, that's Canada, which is well known for being a law-abiding nation.  Their bikes aren't being stolen and shipped south of the border most likely either.  If it's 2.4% there, I'd guess it's well under 1% in the USA, and probably under half a percent in the border states.

As for locks, I have both a heavy flexible lock as well as a U-lock.  If I were bicycle commuting as opposed to my current usage which is basically only grocery shopping then I would probably use both my locks at the same time.  A double-locked bike might only take an extra minute to steal, but that alone might mean the thief will simply pick a different bike to steal which is only single-locked.  Using a cheap bike as your commuter was very smart.  I probably have $500 in my bike, but I've gotten 7 years out of it so far, so it's amortizing out nicely.  I'd still hate to have it stolen though.

aschmidt2930

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 09:50:14 PM »
I registered my bike's serial number with my local police department, which goes into their database that is supposed to be checked at pawn shops and such.  However given that I typically see massive truckloads of bicycles on the highway headed south towards Mexico, I doubt that stolen bikes are getting pawned very often.

According to this link, the recovery rate is just 2.4% in Montreal and between you and I, that's Canada, which is well known for being a law-abiding nation.  Their bikes aren't being stolen and shipped south of the border most likely either.  If it's 2.4% there, I'd guess it's well under 1% in the USA, and probably under half a percent in the border states.

As for locks, I have both a heavy flexible lock as well as a U-lock.  If I were bicycle commuting as opposed to my current usage which is basically only grocery shopping then I would probably use both my locks at the same time.  A double-locked bike might only take an extra minute to steal, but that alone might mean the thief will simply pick a different bike to steal which is only single-locked.  Using a cheap bike as your commuter was very smart.  I probably have $500 in my bike, but I've gotten 7 years out of it so far, so it's amortizing out nicely.  I'd still hate to have it stolen though.

I figured the odds were low, but that's even lower than I would have guessed.  You make a great point about it being a border state (I'm new in Texas), and I hadn't considered that.  I'll definitely be purchasing two locks for my next bike, I just didn't think anyone would take the effort and risk to bust a lock in such a public, open area.  It's definitely a wake up call as I'm from Des Moines, where this type of thing just isn't a concern.

7 years is awesome, very jealous of that value. 

neophyte

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 09:57:22 PM »
My roommate has had 3 bikes stolen.  He only recovered one and that was because he stole it back.  He was eating out and saw it outside the restaurant so he took it when he left.  He'd replaced some parts on it so he was sure it was his. The waiter came out yelling and chasing him so my roommate offered to call the police and let them sort it out. The waiter just let him take the bike.

That happened years ago in a small town and was just luck. He had one stolen in the city two years ago and another stolen recently. In one instance the U lock was broken, in the other the porch railing it was locked to was broken. No luck finding either of those. You might want to follow up with the police after a week or two just to make sure the report was properly filed. When my roommate called back about the bike that was stolen two years ago, he found out they'd lost the report.

Good luck.

zinnie

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 10:00:11 PM »
You can also register with bike index: https://bikeindex.org

Sounds like you have everything else covered, though police reports about stolen bikes go to the pawn shops and they are required to check serial numbers.

Get a U-lock! All other locks are so easy to cut. My husband's bike was stolen from a busy, well-lit area with a security guard. Thieves are just so quick that people who are very close don't even notice sometimes.

Sorry you lost your bike. Mine was taken a couple of months ago and I'm just now getting over it.

zinnie

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2014, 10:03:54 PM »
One more idea: you can get on the local bike forums and there is usually a place to post stolen bikes. It seems relatively rare but the local bike forum has had some luck looking out for each others' bikes around town and on Craigslist.

pdxvandal

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2014, 10:40:40 PM »
My co-worker had her bike stolen from the employee bike lot (wasn't locked but behind a 10-foot tall gate). She found it on Craigslist a day later and got her bike back. Yes, get a U Lock. No exceptions.

AllieVaulter

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2014, 12:11:35 AM »
I moved to the big city (Portland) and within a week my bike was stolen.  It was locked on a rack next to the main entrance of a building.  When I called to report it stolen to campus security, the lady was more interested in lecturing me on how I should I have used a U-lock instead of a cable lock than filing a report.  I never got the original bike back.  But I've been using a U-lock for the last several years and my bike hasn't been stolen again.  Of course, this "new" one is uglier... 

MayDay

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2014, 04:43:43 AM »
This happened to us. We had given up when a month later the police called us. Someone (the original thief? Who knows?) tried to sell a bunch of stuff to a pawn shop and triggered a search for stolen goods. It was returned in great shape.

MoneyCat

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2014, 08:34:38 AM »
I live in a very low-crime area, so luckily I haven't had to deal with a stolen bike yet.  However, if it does get stolen it's not really that big of a deal, because I bought it for $90 off Walmart.com.  The risk of theft is one reason why I won't invest a lot of money in a bike.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 11:18:15 AM by MoneyCat »

Gimesalot

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2014, 09:01:01 AM »
My friend found his very expensive stolen bike at a pawn shop.  When he called the police, they told him it was easier to pay the pawn shop despite the fact they knew it was stolen.  He ended up having to sue them to get it back.

I know a lot of people recommend u-locks, but I have seen theives use car jacks to get them open.  My hardcore bike friends always recommended that I leave my helmet in the u-lock to prevent car jack use. 

sheepstache

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2014, 11:15:07 AM »
Aw, sorry, OP, that's a sucky feeling.

MrBuckBeard

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2014, 11:26:07 AM »
All bikes weigh the same.  The lighter the bike, the heavier the lock.

If you want to go the full 9 yards on locking up the next bike (or the recovered one, if you're lucky), you want two locks.  You want a U lock for the front wheel/frame.  Put it around both of these and lock it to something solid (and something you can't just lift the bike up over).  Then get a chain-style lock, ideally in a plastic sleeve.  Run that from your front tire to your back tire. 

Any lock is defeatable.  What you are aiming to do is make your bike a "hard target" so they go to an easier one.  These two locks, used as described, would make this bike far too big a pain in the rear to steal.

southern granny

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2014, 11:30:50 AM »
I know several people who have had bikes stolen, and when they posted it on facebook , several facebook friends posted something along the lines of "so sorry your bike was stolen.  I have one I never ride, you can have it if you want".  You say yours wasn't a real expensive one, so maybe this would work for you also.  I know it sucks to have something taken that was yours.  It's a sad world sometimes.

usmarine1975

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Re: Anyone had luck finding a stolen bike?
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2014, 11:34:43 AM »
I have found a few bikes on vacant Lot's that I own in the city I live in.  I have stopped notifying the police about the ones I find.  They simply tell me I can have it and do not bother to run the serial numbers.  The bike shop I volunteer at does register every bike they give out or work on but it doesn't help if the police won't run the numbers.  I keep my bike inside at all times.  Fortunately at my office this is feasible.  If you have your own office or cubicle with the space I would take it inside.  If that's not possible try all the other locking options.  Sorry you lost your bike that Sucks big time.

The bikes I have found I have donated to the local Recycle Bicycle shop maybe find out if you have one in the area as others stated they do work together to find the bikes and return them.  Not sure if they check every serial number as they get a lot of bikes donated.  Could be a potential source for your next bike.