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Let’s help Richard get his bike back

Posted by on March 18th, 2014 at 10:47 am

Stolen!

Portlander Richard Lorenz got his high-end Moots titanium mountain bike stolen yesterday afternoon. Then last night he got tips and photos from from two people who saw his bike on the Eastbank Esplanade. Now he’s determined to get his bike back safe and sound and he’s hoping more eyes on the street can help him out.

The bike was taken from inside his car as it was parked in the parking garage on SW 6th and Salmon in downtown Portland. Richard had just sold the bike on eBay and was going to ship it out on Monday. He never got time to box it up and when he went out to his car after work he found his window smashed and the bike gone. He figured it was gone for good, but he still filed a stolen bike listing, made a police report, posted to Craigslist and generally spread the word however he could.

His work paid off when he received a few photos of his bike on the Eastbank Esplanade last night. Check out one of them below:

“So now I am optimistic that the bike is still around town somewhere and that someone knows or recognizes the people in these pictures,” Richard shared with us via email.

The bike should be easy to spot. It’s got a full XTR drivetrain, ENVE carbon wheels and bars and it has blue parts throughout.

If you see this bike, please call the Portland Police Bureau’s non-emergency line (503) 823-3333. The case number is 14-21876.

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Comments
  • Spiffy March 18, 2014 at 11:13 am

    link to the rest of the photos?

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  • Eric March 18, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Maybe these guys are just some of our fine, upstanding houseless folks that need a ride to get around?

    Recommended Thumb up 9

    • spare_wheel March 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Or they could be fine, upstanding citizens who tend to blame houseless folk for crimes without any actual evidence…

      Recommended Thumb up 17

    • CaptainKarma March 18, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      The Richard who stole my Kona lived in a house. Down with housed people, those dawgs!

      Recommended Thumb up 14

  • Schrauf March 18, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Wow, those guys are not very aware, to hang out with a stolen bike in the $4,000 range and not notice three separate close-up photos.

    They probably think it is a $500 bike and sold it for $100.

    Good luck! Obviously you probably know to check if your comprehensive auto insurance or rental/home insurance covers this with a reasonable deductible.

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    • Alex March 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      I am guessing it is more than $4k. Those wheels alone retail for about $2300…

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      • Richard March 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

        Yep. Losing the wheels really hurts. I might be able to replace this bike with used parts for about $4k but it will be very hard to locate them. Just finding a used moots frame in my size is hard. To replace it all new would cost about double that.

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        • Buzz Aldrin March 19, 2014 at 11:56 am

          but I thought you were selling the bike?

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  • B March 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Hoping his bike is retrieved successfully. I will try to keep an eye out on my commutes through there.

    So I have a somewhat related question and was hoping maybe some commenters here could give me advice. My bike was stolen back in Jan. Did all the usual stuff, police report, bike listing, etc. Lucky for me, in mid Feb it was sold to a pawn shop in Hillsboro, and the HB police put it on hold at the pawn shop and called me about it. The police officer forwarded the info to the PPD and told me that after the PPD investigated they would tell the pawn shop to release the bike to me – OR I could buy the bike from the shop and that would basically end the investigation.

    Talking with the shop owners, they said it usually takes ~6 mo for the PPD to finish up with that, though they’ve been a little faster lately. Buyback is not expensive compared to the value of the bike but I am not exactly rolling in money and have been waiting so far.

    The only thing is, I wish I had some way to call the PPD and check on the status of that process. I tried calling the non-emergency number and the person who answered didn’t seem to know what they were talking about and gave me contradictory information from the HB police officer. Obviously I have my police report number but not sure how to use that information.

    Has anyone else gone through this process who could offer their experience? Who to call?

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  • lyle w. March 18, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Wow… will definitely keep an eye out, for sure. Have you walked along the pirate dock on the esplanade? Or maybe hanging out at a distance with some binoculars might be the better move. Might be on one of those boats. That other floating pirate boat that’s off shore, near where the fire station used to be, also seems to have tons of bikes on it pretty much every time I cross the Hawthorne bridge. Just shake my head every time I see it.

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  • Gerow March 18, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I saw someone riding this Moots today downtown, and thought to myself that there was no way that some random young person would be on such an overpriced whip. He was riding with no helmet, in street clothes.
    If anyone would like to contact me about it I can be reached at the email below.
    pianohat@gmail.com

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  • q`Tzal March 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    You know: in other cities thieves steal the cars or stereos.

    Seems like this Northwest anomaly needs someone to invoke the old chestnut “In Soviet Portland…..” but I can’t make it funny today. I’m reasonably certain a humorous spin could be put on this dichotomy but I need help.

    where are my marbles….

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  • Joey French March 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    I took the photos of the two yesterday on the Esplanade. They were acting really sketchy about it and I recognized the bike as stolen right away. They did not like me taking pics or my constant questions about the bike, nor did they like it when 3 or 4 friends just happened to show up while I was antagonizing them. They then bolted over the Steel Bridge…

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    • Richard March 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      Thanks for being vigilant. If my bike is recovered it will probably be directly because of your quick thinking and willingness to snap those pictures.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Joey French March 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm

        I’ve had bikes stolen. It sucks. I got mine back, hopefully, you will too.

        - Joey

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  • Kirsty March 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I also saw this bike last night with Joey. A few things that may help – we spotted the (assumed) thieve/s sitting on the dogleg stairs that take you up to the Eastbank Esplanade ramp over the train line to the Rose Quarter.

    I would estimate it was around 7:15pm or so last night (Mon) when Joey snapped the photos. The bike was being ridden by the bloke with the green hoodie and backpack. After Joey snapped a few photos, he took off heading westbound across the Steel Bridge. The bridge’s security cameras would have picked him up riding across towards downtown about this time, if that’s helpful. He was wearing regular shoes, and bike was clipless, which looked odd as he pedaled.

    I get the impression these two hang around this area a lot. If you bike, walk, run this area, keep a lookout. I hope the bike patrol police are notified too.

    Good luck getting this bike back!

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  • scott March 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Just grab the bikes when you see them. If the person owns it, they will be more than happy to stick around until the police arrive.

    I can’t believe it when people post pics of bikes they think are stolen. Grab the bike and find out for sure.

    They have no investment in the bike and would just throw it in the river if they felt like it was a liability.

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    • q`Tzal March 18, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      And the police are ok with random bicycle snatching that will occasionally victimize an innocent people with poor hygiene?

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      • scott March 18, 2014 at 4:13 pm

        If it their bike, they will stay there and wait for it to get worked out. Worst case scenario is you owe somebody a beer and make a friend in the cycling community.

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        • q`Tzal March 18, 2014 at 4:54 pm

          Worst case scenario is someone presses charges because this possibly homeless person is fed up with being profile by privileged rich white people one too many times and exercises his right to use the law to make an example of the hypothetical person you’ve encouraged to go snatch a bike.

          Or they could be armed with a weapon of some sort.

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          • JAT in Seattle March 19, 2014 at 9:04 am

            Worst case scenario is someone pressing charges? First scenario that comes to my mind is some do-gooder gets punched in the face, gets their nose broken, loses teeth AND the alleged thief pedals away on the bike.

            I’m sure there are even worse case scenarios.

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            • GlowBoy March 19, 2014 at 12:14 pm

              No shit. Worst case scenario is a lot more than that.

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              • scott March 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

                Fraidy cats.

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        • Robert Burchett March 22, 2014 at 11:00 am

          This is pretty irresponsible. I only have one bike that might not, on occasion, match my clothes. And I don’t usually go out on that bike wearing gardening pants. But if I do, and I meet somebody who thinks it is their business, there will be no waiting, no beer drinking, and we will not be friends.

          I’ve seen bike-rider combinations that were pretty implausible, and the situation with the Moots is extreme. But if it’s not your bike, or your friend’s bike that is well known to you, maybe you’d better back off. If you want to be a hero, find out if the bike is for sale and for how much. That’s what will tell you how things are, and putting your money on the line is the only safe-ish way to get involved.

          If a warm bike comes into a shop, the workers there are in a unique place of both knowing what the situation is (perhaps the bike will be offered to them for sale way below market, or they actually sold the bike to the real owner) and doing something about it, such as stalling until the police arrive.

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          • scott March 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

            “Grab it” was where i misspoke. I was not encouraging grabbing bikes, but trying to get a deeper understanding of the people around the bike to determine what’s up. If it is your friends stolen bike, yes, just take it back. If not, just do a little talking. Get it figured out.

            What’s wrong with people on here? In a butter soft city like Portland you can’t break out of your private insulated bubbles and interact with someone to either dismiss or confirm something you are thinking?

            Pitiful.

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    • Kirsty March 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      In hindsight, I am in two minds about this approach. At the time, we didn’t know for sure if it was stolen. The bike was upside down, and it was clear there was no serial number. Had there been a serial number visible, we could have snapped a pic and searched the stolen bike listings.

      However, as the bike was custom and therefore without a serial number, I couldn’t run a search. The listings would not let me search by bike brand, which is idiotic beyond belief for a piece of software, but we’ll leave that rant for another day.

      I guess I am hesitant to assume just because a person is scruffy-looking and riding a nice bike, it automatically means it must be stolen. Using that logic, I myself should be getting accosted and having my bike wrenched from my hands by strangers most days, given how unkempt I look most days on my bike! However in this case, it clearly was not their property – the power of 20/20 hindsight!

      Addendum: We also didn’t know if they would beat us up or stab us.

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      • davemess March 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm

        True, stealing bikes back from meth heads or sketchy folks can have it’s risk.

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      • Richard March 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm

        I think you guys may have seen my bike before I even knew it was stolen–or about the same time. So it was reported in a place where you could have found it until later. There is a serial number stamped on the underside of the BB shell, by the way, it is just very hard to find unless you know its there.

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        • Joey French March 18, 2014 at 9:43 pm

          Yeah, we did a quick look and didn’t see anything on CL. To be fair I wasn’t speedy enough to look for it on a stolen bike directory of any kind while I was standing there trying to engage them and take photos…

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      • wsbob March 18, 2014 at 7:11 pm

        Nice job getting the photos and talking to the guys with the bike.

        Appearance alone, of a person with a bike, isn’t a reliable indication of whether the bike is stolen. From a recent bikeportland story about a guy that was homeless, bought a stolen bike, and went to some effort to successfully return it to its owner, the guy said this about bike thieves appearance:

        “…”There’s a whole bunch of bike thieves in this town,” he said. “These are not homeless people. They’re not what you’d call criminal types. They’re well-dressed people who have other things to do with their time. … They live in apartments and you would never guess who they were.” …”
        http://bikeportland.org/2014/02/28/the-friday-profile-jeffrey-cramer-portlands-stolen-bike-good-samaritan-102315

        Street shoes on clipless pedals isn’t a reliable indication either. Some years back when I started up biking again, for quite a while, with running shoes, I rode Shimano 520′s on the street. Worked quite well, until the muscles got conditioned again.

        Interesting that you thought the bike didn’t have a serial number. I’ve read in comments over at the classic and vintage section of bikeforums, that most bikes, custom or not, have a serial number somewhere on the bike. Old, cheap, department store bikes, less so.

        Too bad, while watching these guys showing off the bike, you weren’t able to bring up the bike’s listing on the stolen bike registry. That could have helped bring this story to a close.

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    • JV March 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Except that what you are proposing very likely constitutes theft. Or are you saying that one should routinely take bikes from people who don’t look like they deserve/afford them, and gauge their reaction to see if they are worthy of keeping them?

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      • scott March 18, 2014 at 4:21 pm

        If you ask someone about a bike in question. You will be able to tell right then. Then you can ask them to stick around. See where it goes. It is easy and there is no downside. Most cyclist would appreciate the effort and commend you for looking out for bikes. Just ask the person. Make eye contact. You’ll know.

        At Ben Gurion International airport in Israel, they have no metal detectors, do not search bags, and have never had a single incident inside or outside the airport. All security does is talk to every person and make eye contact. That’s all it takes. Seriously people. Try it.

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        • JV March 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm

          There is nothing wrong with asking someone about a bike, but the approach matters. The better way would be “cool bike – how long have you had it…”, leading to a conversation. What you suggested earlier was taking the bike from the person and then asking questions.

          Also, your reference to Ben Gurion airport seems to be incomplete – they have a highly secure, multiple checkpoint system with lots of both visibly armed and plainclothes officers. There are indeed X-rays and searches, per recent upgrades. You are advocating for a police state approach to provide security for bicycles. I think that is a disproportionate response.

          Kudos to the photographer for taking the photos and for engaging the thief to the level that they felt comfortable and safe. Personal safety is more important than property, no matter how sweet the bike. Hopefully they are caught and Richard gets his bike back…I will keep a lookout.

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          • Joey French March 18, 2014 at 9:38 pm

            This is exactly what I did, I just said “cool bike!”, and when they didn’t really respond, I plied them with further questions. It became (even more) apparent that it wasn’t theirs, they didn’t seem to know a thing about it.

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        • JAT in Seattle March 19, 2014 at 9:11 am

          really?
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Gurion_Airport#Security_procedures

          don’t just make stuff up. YOU may have the people skills to calm every situation and ferret out the truth from everybody, and that’s awesome, but the rest of us live in a world with uncontrolable dirtbags. I don’t think you can hold us all up to the mythical standard.

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          • scott March 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

            The searches and scans ONLY take place after you fail the talking/grilling part. Nobody sneaks anything through Ben Gurion and they don’t have every person queue up to walk through a machine. They identify the problem people through conversation. That is my point. I apologize that I muddled it initially.

            In this case they could have used the talking part to lead into get someone with authority involved.

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        • davemess March 19, 2014 at 9:52 am

          I’ve been through Ben Gurion. They don’t just talk to you, the intensely grill you for 5-15 minutes on every possible facet of your travel, business, and life in general. And I think I remember my lugagge going through a detector. With all the miltary/police/etc. walking around with assault rifles in Israel I don’t know that they are model that I totally want to emulate.

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    • joebobpdx March 18, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      I hope this is Internet Tough Talk. I have some knowledge of this crowd thru work. A minority of them are NOT people you want to mess with. Ever. So unless you are confident that you can handle yourself in a rough physical confrontation, I’d advise against it.

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      • esther c March 19, 2014 at 8:37 am

        Someone who would bust a car window to steal a bike is a pretty rough customer

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      • scott March 19, 2014 at 12:35 pm

        Wait…are you saying you know the people in the picture?

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        • spare_wheel March 25, 2014 at 9:03 pm

          nah. they are just extrapolating based on their prejudices of having worked with “those people”.

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    • Doug Rosser March 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Did I ever tell you about the time I almost nabbed a guy on an obviously stolen bike, only to have that guy turn out to be an employee of the custom fabricator?

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  • Dan March 18, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    That guy isn’t homeless. I would check out the Burnside skate park.

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  • Todd Boulanger March 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Where there any CCTV cameras in the garage or garage exits? (I did not see any discussion or mention of it.) If yes, then add it to the list of resources. Especially now that there are other photos to match the participants with.

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  • TOM March 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    NOT regarding this bike , but a somewhat related story.

    Last Saturday I was biking along and stopped to peal off a layer as it was getting warm. A scruffy looking guy walked past and said “there’s a really light Italian racing bike for sale right over there” (and pointed about 30 feet away) … MY very FIRST thought was “meth guy – stolen bike” and I vowed not to purchase it, no matter how desirable or cheap.

    I went over to check it out . The scruffy guy wasn’t the seller , he was just hanging with the manager of an old motel who was cleaning out the storage. It did turn out to be a nice bike, and the manager seemed very “above board” and had no problem writing a receipt and including his phone number, attaching a business card, plus I even knew what unit he lived in.

    The bike turned out to be a 1986 alum bike full of mismatched Campy components. I spent at least half an hour talking with the manager (in his late 50′s) and left with a clean conscience. IF I had even 1 percent suspected that it was stolen , the details would have been recorded , pics of people taken and the right people notified.

    We , as a loose community , gotta watch out for each other a bit.

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  • Todd Hudson March 18, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Eastbank Esplanade? Check the homeless camps and wherever the street kids/tweakers hang out. You will eventually find it.

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  • Spencer March 18, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I commandeered a MTB that was obviously not belonging to the guy pushing it, it was returned to its owner. It i see that moots whip it’s as good as returned

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  • Audrey March 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I took my lunch break to scour the west waterfront, from Steel to Hawthorne. Didn’t see anything, but will keep my eye out.

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    • Richard March 19, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks Audrey–and to everyone else who has been keeping an eye out. It will turn up eventually.

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  • TOM March 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Richard
    Thanks Audrey–and to everyone else who has been keeping an eye out. It will turn up eventually.

    I really hope you are right, BUT , far as I know ,,Emily Finch’s cargo bike never did ? (and it too would be easily identifiable)

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  • Guthrie March 20, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Hey, I work at Cycle Portland in downtown Old Town/China Town, this bike came into our shop on Monday morning, the “person” matching the description asked to borrow a wrench so that he could remove the clips from the Crank Bros peddles. (so if you see it now, the crank brothers are converted to flats) Shame on me for lending tools at a bike shop, (as we try to help folks out as much as we can…) I wish we could continue to do so, but if we’re a vehicle for people modifying stolen bikes, it looks like we’re going to have to go back to our “no tools, ever” policy.

    Based on appearance, manner, and coherency, this thief did not seem like they stole the bike (I know, because this was my first thought anytime anyone walks into our shop with a moots in OldTown) Also, most of them don’t know the first thing about working on bikes, and this guy knew exactly what he was trying to fix, which isn’t common for bike thieves in old town… While I lent him a wrench, I looked for any stolen listings on the national, and portland registry, and nothing popped up so I didn’t question them as they left the shop. (it appears that Richard may not have known his bike was stolen at this point in time, otherwise I would have found his listening and immediately called the police while stalling the thief so that we could get the bike back.)

    Our shop is reviewing our security footage of that day, and will hopefully have more photo evidence for police to follow up on. If the bike comes back in… you’ll definitely know about it.

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  • Jason March 21, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Flat pedals on a moots? This is the first time ever this upgrade was performed at a bike shop. Seriously people, will someone actually sack up and confront this guy? How many more opportunities are there going to be? Maybe next time he will stop by a shop for handlebar streamers and maybe a sweet banana seat. Come on… It’s a Moots. Maybe ask him why he went with king hubs and not 240s? There are 100 questions you can ask an owner of that bike.

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    • Richard March 21, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      Haha! Jason–I appreciate the humor.
      But seriously I think you raise a valid point in terms of how to ferret out a suspected thief. It is very likely they are not legit if they cant comprehend (let alone answer) even a Cat 5 question about the bike or gear like these:
      “what seatpost diameter is that?”
      “what kind of sealant are you using?”
      “what is the crank-arm length?”
      “What kind of bottom bracket is that?”
      This wont work for all bikes. but if you see someone rolling around on a super-expensive handmade bike and they answer “I dont know” to any of those questions, then I think you have sufficient basis to conclude that it is probably stolen.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

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