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  1. #1
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    Oct 2008
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    Cops stole my bike

    Well, not really, but now that you're in here...

    Interesting event happened to me today. I bought a road bike off craigslist this past march for commuting/getting around town. Bought the bike off a normal dude with a wife and kid who said he got it at the local bike swap a few months before hand. Test rode it and everything checked out, so I bought it.

    Fast forward to today. I'm downtown and lock my bike up to grab a bite to eat with some friends. Come outside an hour later and a lady is sitting on the bench next to my bike with her lock now also attached to it. I walk up to my bike thinking "wtf" and when I get close the lady says" Hey, where did you get that bike, that's my bike bike". I explained I bought it off a guy a few months before off of craigslist who said he picked it up at the bike swap. Explained I had no clue it was stolen and that everything seemed legit with the guy I bought it off. The bike has a lot of noticeable marks and scratched that a previous owner would know about, and she explained they happened during a bike crash and that she recognized a small dent on the top tube and other marks she recognized. She had filed a police report last October when it was stolen and had this info in the file, but she didn't have the serial number. So, by the time I walked up to my bike the cops were already on the way. When they got there I explained my story and even showed them my old text's to the guy I bought the bike from from my iphone. They were cool and knew I didn't do anything wrong.

    Anyway. the lady claims it's her bike and filed the police report last October. I guess she contacted the shop to get the serial number and she is going to look for it at her house, because they can't technically give her the bike back unless they can 100% identify it as hers. But until then the cops took the bike and if she can match the serial number in in the next day or two she gets it back, and if not I get it back. I told the chick I would sell it back to her for $200 ($50 cheaper than I paid) if she still wanted it.

  2. #2
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    Dec 2007
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    Tough call here. My thought is the lady knows her bike and even without the # is the rightful owner. I would have to give her the bike to keep a clear
    conscious. My next step would be working with the PoPo to trace these texts and or use the address you picked the bike up from and get the bike thief and try to get the $ back through the court system.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    tough. the guy you bought it from probably had no idea it was stolen either, and picked it up at the bike swap with good intentions

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Incline Village, NV
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    States often have statutory protections for bona fide purchasers of certain forms of property. In other words, if you (a) pay a reasonable amount of money for something and (b) have no notice or reason to believe that the seller does not have legal title to the property, then you obtain legal title that even the original owner cannot challenge.

    That said, it doesn't seem fair that either of you would lose a bike that you both paid for. I would hope that a compromise could be worked out--e.g., she pays $150 or $200 for the bike.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    248
    Sounds like there's no good outcome - either she gets her bike back and you're out a few hundred bucks, or she has to buy back her own bike, or she doesn't get it. It's kind of no-win for everyone, and that's just one reason why bike thieves suck.

    Your story reminds me of a pretty wacky thing happen to me a few years ago. At the time, I had a Turner 6pack, which had a sleeve welded over the seat tube/taco junction (because I cracked the seattube), and was painted gold. Basically '05 frame (horst link) with an '08 paintjob. No one else in my area has or had one of these.

    Well, one day I'm dicking around town, climbing up a street on my way to work, and a car cuts me off and stops in my path. Out jumps a guy, asking me where I got this bike. "Go-ride.com", I tell him, and start trying to pedal past him, not quite sure what he's up to. He puts his hand out and grabs my handlebar. "Right. My son has a bike that looks just like this, and it got stolen out of our shed last night."

    So I say, "Cool dude. What kind of bike was it?"

    "I don't know, but it looks just like that one. You can return it to us or I can call the cops."

    Always fun dealing with ignorant people who are trying to recover their goods. When I used to work in bike shops, I can't even tell you how many people have walked in asking us to be on the lookout for their stolen bike, and they don't have a goddamn clue what kind of bike they own.

    So I figured I should just confuse this guy with questions. "Did your son's bike have the Horst link or was it a TNT version? What model year is it? What's the sleeve next to the taco for?"

    "I'm not sure, but his bike that looked just like yours."

    I told him he should meet me at work in half an hour, and he was welcome to bring the cops. I'd be there with the original receipts that showed the serial numbers. Or he could fuck off and stop bothering me. And that if you're going to go around insisting that someone stole something from you, you best have a good idea of exactly what they stole.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2011
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    Is there any sort of single registry to check serial numbers against when you're looking at used bikes?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
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    one bike looks like the next unless you got the bill of sale with an S/N OR if the bike shopcan prove whom it was sold to

    A buddy of mine had her bike a lower end graden variety rocky HT stolen, eventualy she left town but I still had her E-mail

    sometime later a legit guy walks into the bike store with her old bike,asks if its in good shape and is it worth X amount? The mech CHECKS THE S/N and notices it was my buddies bike except the guy has left before the mech can do anything, BUT the legit guy comes back with the bike a day later for a tuneup, he has bought the bike from that sketchy pawnshop where everybody fences stolen bikes, the mech seizes the bike and tells legit guy it is stolen and belongs to one of their customers, legit guy goes back to pawn shop to ask for his money back, pawn shop guy come into the bike shop grabs the bike and leaves, bike shop phones 911, bike is seized from pawnshop owner on the street 1 block from shop ...police impound the bike because it is stolen property

    The mech calls me tells me the story and asks if I know how to get in touch with Heather yeah sure so I give him her e-mail, I also e-mail her, she talks to the cops/bike store asks the cops to release the bike to me, I take a copy of the e-mail and arrange to meet with the RCMP member handling the file to get the bike which I take to the shop

    Heather is now in Northern California which is light years away from northern BC, since the bike is < 2 yrs old the shop will still do a free tune up, so they tune it/stick it in a bike box and ship collect greyhound to Cali ... happy ending

    xxxxxx city resellers in prince george BC is still in business and there would appear there are no repercussions to buying & selling hot merch

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    1,990
    Not a tough call at all. Put yourself in her shoes. A stolen bike is a stolen bike. That is inherent risk of buying a bike in the secondary market i.e. craigs list, ebay, classifieds etc. There is ALWAYS a chance it may be stolen. Craigs list works really really well but unfortunately it works well for selling stolen shit too, although it seems like your seller was oblivious as well. Total bummer for you though, sorry.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Moose, Iowa
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    3,740
    Give the lady back her bike. You rented it for a few months for a grand total of $250 and now you get a happy feeling in your pants because you end up reuniting this lady with her bike. Could be the best $250 you ever spent if you play it right.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Hidden Valley
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    Yep, I agree there is no winner in this situation and that it just goes to show bike thief's and thief's in general suck.

    I'm gonna give her the bike back even if she can't come up with the S/N, I believe it's her's and everything. I'll probably jokingly ask her is she wants to buy it back for $200, but I have no problem taking the loss and getting karma points in return. I guess it was ment to be for her to find her bike. It's not like me or the guy I bought it from did anything wrong, he was a legit guy who got it at the bike swap so I guess I'll wait to see if the cops can trace anything back, but its doubtful.

    Oh well, shit happens, good for her she got the bike back... if it was me I would be stoked to find it.

    It's also funny, because every bike I buy I always write down the S/N first thing, so I found it odd that even though she claimed it was her and identified the scrapes and everything, I still had the S/N and she didn't haha. It would be nice to get some sort of compensation back from the bike, being a broke college student it kinda sucks being out $250, especially since that was my transportation everywhere around town and I'll need to buy something else now. I guess the good news is I didn't buy a $1500 bike that ended up being stolen, that would have been a huge blow.
    Last edited by Shogun; 05-14-2012 at 03:42 PM.

  11. #11
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    Apr 2008
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    Raleigh
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    Is she hot?

  12. #12
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    Unfortunately not.

  13. #13
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    Nov 2011
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    The guy you bought it from should share in the loss. And if the owner does the right thing, she'll throw some cash your way. But I've stopped expecting the right thing.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by philth View Post
    Not a tough call at all. Put yourself in her shoes. A stolen bike is a stolen bike. That is inherent risk of buying a bike in the secondary market i.e. craigs list, ebay, classifieds etc. There is ALWAYS a chance it may be stolen. Craigs list works really really well but unfortunately it works well for selling stolen shit too, although it seems like your seller was oblivious as well. Total bummer for you though, sorry.
    Perfectly put. It's her bike, period.
    Sorry.
    Sometimes there's a cost to doing what's right, if it was free, everyone would do it.
    Last edited by Roxtar; 05-15-2012 at 01:01 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jer View Post
    After the first three seconds, Corbet's is really pretty average.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Malcolm View Post
    I mean, it's not your fault. They say talent skips a generation.
    But hey, I'm sure your kids will be sharp as tacks.

  15. #15
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    I get it. I had no intention of keeping the bike even if she can't provide the s/n. I believed it was her bike and have no problem taking the loss. It's not that big of a deal, but like above said... it would be cool if she understood I'm innocent (and also the sole reason she was able to recover her bike) and kicked me down some cash, beer, hand job, ect.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    You should also call whomever organized the bike swap the previous owner bought it from. They may have the contact info for the thief stored away somewhere. Especially if they cut that asshole a check at some point.

  17. #17
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    The cops who arrived on the scene gave the whole report to a "detective" who is going to use the number of the guy I bought it from CL I gave the cops to ask him some more questions about the purchase at the Bike Swap and also look into the swap to see if there was any sort of registry or something.

    I'm really not sure how serious or thorough this "detective" will be in trying to get to the bottom of this, and I'm sure they are swamped with a lot of other bike thefts, especially with bikes in the $1,000+ range. But I guess it's all a waiting game now.... I have the cops numbers and the report number so I will do periodic check ups to see the progress. I'll post in here what ever outcome there may be.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shogun View Post
    ...kicked me down some cash, beer, hand job, ect.
    Maybe karma can lend a hand (pun completely intended)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jer View Post
    After the first three seconds, Corbet's is really pretty average.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Malcolm View Post
    I mean, it's not your fault. They say talent skips a generation.
    But hey, I'm sure your kids will be sharp as tacks.

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