Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 2nd, 2006 at 7:43 am
Today I’ve got yet another great stolen bike recovery story to share. This one exemplifies the reason I began these listings in the first place; we can’t rely on the Police to get our bikes back. Nothing against them, but they cannot match the power of a savvy and connected bike community working together to reclaim bikes and bring thieves to justice.
And of course it doesn’t hurt to have a gutsy ZooBomber on your side…
Here’s an edited account from local cyclist and ZooBomber Corey (here’s the full version):
“Last Saturday a friend of mine and I were drinking beer outside of a party. We see a tweaker-looking guy roll up on an $800 road bike. My friend says “Hey, that guy’s a bike thief, I’ve caught him stealing bikes in front of my old job, I hate that guy.”
Then in my loudest voice, I start calling out “Bike thief, hey everyone look at the bike thief!”
The guy stops, and says, “What the heck are you talking about?” I get up to confront him, and my other friend PJ, another ZooBomber, gets behind his bike, preventing him from going anywhere.”
Corey then questioned the suspected thief about the bike and wasn’t satisfied with the answers. After a heated exchange, the guy finally got off the bike and eventually started to run away, with PJ chasing and shouting after him.
After a call to the cops revealed the bike was not reported stolen, they discussed what to do with it. Then suddenly they realize the bike is gone! Some random lady had locked it to her bike. She said she works at a bike shop in Seattle and wanted to take it home. Corey was suspicious and told her:
“I think this bike should stay in Portland until we find its rightful owner.”
Eventually this lady gives in and moves on and Corey and PJ decide to store the bike at their house until they can find the owner.
The next day Corey posted it to the Lost and Found section on Craigslist and then checked the Stolen Bike Listings here in BikePortland.org. Lo and behold he found a listing that was similar and called the number in the listing. Sure enough, the bike and the owner were a match!
I heard from the bike’s owner, and she was obviously thrilled to get her bike back. She had been scanning the web, looking for it for over a week:
“Just as hope was fading, 10 days after the theft, I received an email from Corey saying that he had extracted a bike from a thief and that possibly it was mine. Once we spoke, he quizzed me on the components and while I think I only scored a 90%, it was enough to reassure him that I was the proper owner.
I am thrilled to be reunited with my bike and overwhelmed by the effectiveness of the grassroots justice system of Portland. Again, many thanks to those who identified a suspicious situation, stood up for the cause, and who everyday make the choice to look out for one another purely for the sake of doing what is right.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.