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18 stolen bikes seized during Old Town drug bust

Posted by on July 12th, 2012 at 9:10 am

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-5

Officers look for a serial number before loading a stolen
bike into a truck in Old Town this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Police Bureau served a search warrant early this morning in Old Town and among the confiscated property was 18 stolen bicycles. The bust happened at 211 NW 3rd Avenue. I was able to snap several photos of the bikes before they left the scene (see if you spot your bike below).

According to a PPB statement, the search warrant is part of an ongoing Federal drug trafficking investigation being conducted by the Metro Gang Task Force. Several arrests were made this morning.

According to Officer Terry Colbert, whom I spoke to at the scene. This is just one of several recent busts where the police have confiscated multiple stolen bikes. A recent sweep of a homeless camp near the Hawthorne Bridge and Eastbank Esplanade (near the Vera Katz statue) resulted in 20 stolen bikes in what the PPB believes was a mini chop-shop operation.

At the crime scene in Old Town this morning, the police methodically processed each stolen bike. They recorded serial numbers, filled out evidence tags, loaded the bikes onto a pickup truck, and then whisked them away to the property room. I noticed lots of nice bikes and there was also a dozen or so wheels separate from the complete bikes. There was a Centurion road bike, high-end full-suspension mountain bikes from Marin, Klein and Specialized, a few Treks, a GT hybrid/city bike, a Kona mountain bike, a few frames that had already been parted out, and more.

This morning incident underscores the importance of documenting your bike’s serial number and/or other distinguishing features and filing a police report if it gets stolen. I hope at least a few of these bikes are re-united with their owners. See more photos of the bikes below…

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-2

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-13

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-12

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-10

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-9

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-8

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-7

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-6

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-4

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-3

Stolen bikes at drug bust in Old Town-1

If/when the PPB releases more details on the make/models of the bikes, I will update this post.

If you see your bike in the photos below, call the PPB’s non-emergency line, (503) 823-3333, and be prepared to have documentation that proves you are the owner.

UPDATE: Police have arrested seven people. They have also released a statement saying they are processing the bikes and other items and will “attempt to determine the rightful owners.” Also, read their statement below for advice on how to get your stolen bike back:

Returning stolen property to the rightful owner is important to the Portland Police Bureau and can be accomplished easier if serial numbers of stolen property are reported to police. If you are the victim of a burglary, theft or car prowl, please include serial numbers and good descriptions of the stolen items in your report. Reports can be filed online by visiting www.portlandpolice.com and clicking the “Submit a Police Report” tab.

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  • Chris I July 12, 2012 at 9:26 am

    So it would see they are parting out the more expensive bikes because selling the components is safer? No serial number to trace them, I guess…

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    • Mindful Cyclist July 12, 2012 at 11:21 am

      I think that makes perfect sense. No serial numbers means it is not traceable. I think used bikes are pretty overpriced here and same goes with the parts.

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  • Craig Harlow July 12, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Ah, those poor paint jobs–it’s distressing to see the bikes stacked like that on top of each other, their frames scuffing one another. However, it’s fantastic that stolen bikes are being recovered.

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    • sabes July 12, 2012 at 9:33 am

      My heart goes out to all the paint jobs that are being scuffed. I’m sure the thieves took exquisite care of them prior to the police loading them into the truck.

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      • Jonathan Gordon July 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

        I’m confused. Why wouldn’t the thieves take exquisite care of them if their intent was to sell them? Wouldn’t they be motivated to keep them in as good as shape as possible?

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        • middle of the road guy July 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm

          If they are parting them out, then probably not. sell the parts, recycle the frames.

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  • O-man July 12, 2012 at 9:33 am

    So, unless they require serial numbers to pick up a bike or a past stolen report, couldn’t this post make it easy for someone to describe their missing bike to the cops, whether or not its really theirs. “I am sooo missing a Marin Pioneer trail with a sticker on the top tube, blah blah.” Just curious how you claim them.

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    • Kristen July 12, 2012 at 11:34 am

      My guess (since I haven’t had to try to recover a stolen bike, touch wood) is that you’d need at the very least the serial number and receipt of purchase in order to get your bike back.

      I would think that bringing photos of your bike as well as whatever documentation you have would be helpful, especially if you have photos of yourself with the bike in question.

      I’ve taken photos of all my serial numbers, and have lots of photos of me with my bikes as well as the receipts from original purchase. I’m planning on scanning in my paperwork and keeping it in digital format as well, just in case. Can’t hurt, that’s for sure.

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      • John Lascurettes July 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm

        It would take SOME kind of documentation is my guess. Like you said, in order of efficacy:
        1. Receipt with serial number on it
        2. Your identifying information hidden or printed on the bike somewhere.
        3. Photos of you with the bike (or your ODL with the bike)

        I don’t think your detailed description of it would help much with recovery without some kind of documentation.

        Me, I took an entire photo album’s worth of snaps with my new bike and its components and filed them with electronic scan of my receipt. As well as took a picture of my ODL next to the SN on the bottom bracket.

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  • Dave July 12, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Question is, who’s buying this stuff off them? Are they ebaying/craigslisting it all, or is somebody fencing it for them and selling it back to consumers locally through a shop, or? I’m sure a lot of the serial numbered frames just end up at Schnitzer…

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  • thefuture July 12, 2012 at 9:53 am

    If you have a smartphone it takes tops 5 mins to snap a round of photos of your bike and any serial numbers you can see. Email them to yourself and save them to a computer if possible. Bam…done.

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    • John Lascurettes July 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Best photo you can take: your receipt, your ODL and the bottom bracket’s S/N all in the same frame.

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  • Tim July 12, 2012 at 10:01 am

    If it wasn’t for otherwise law abiding people buying bikes and bike parts from theives there would not be a market for stolen bikes and parts. Without a market there would be no money in stealing bikes and stealing bikes for drug money would go away. Do your part – never buy parts or bikes from questionable sources. A good deal on a hardly used part does not justify supporting bike theft.

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    • Chris I July 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      We need to have a healthy market for used bikes and components. It is a sign that cycling is succeeding here. It’s much better to have people buy quality equipment and sell it when they are done, rather than buy cheap, disposable gear.

      However, buyers need to exercise caution when buying used bikes. If the seller seems suspect, ask for more details on the history, ask for the serial and check the stolen bike database. Several stolen bikes have been found this way.

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  • CaptainKarma July 12, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Not a big fan of RFID tracking, but if bikes came with it, cops could scan encampments, bike racks etc. for stolen property. In reality, they probbly wouldn’t bother, and someone would find a way to somehow abuse our civil liberties by tracking innocent owners as they stop at the porn store or if accidentally parked near some illegal activity.

    Also, you wouldn’t catch me barefoot in that neighborhood, hard tellin’ what you might step on.

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  • daisy July 12, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Thanks, Jonathan. How did you happen to be there when this took place?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 12, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Thanks for asking daisy.

      A friend of mine who works for a local TV news station texted me about it this morning and so I rushed to the scene as quick as I could.

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      • daisy July 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

        Excellent! Thanks to your friend, then, as well.

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  • Rol July 12, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I don’t get it… if they’re in the drug biz, why do they need to steal bikes? Maybe they’re lousy at the drug game. Hey criminals, are you in the drug biz or the stolen bike biz? FOCUS, PEOPLE!

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    • Mindful Cyclist July 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

      The economy sucks now. I guess even drug dealers now have to branch out and find new avenues to generate income!

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    • sw resident July 12, 2012 at 11:40 am

      At least they are car free 😉
      To answer your question: Maybe the possessors of said bikes are on the demand side of the drug bust and increasing purchasing power. Or if they were on the supply side maybe they are diversifying their portfolio and raising capital for more inventory.
      Either way, all in the game yo, all in the game…..

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      • jered July 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm


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      • Rol July 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm


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    • Ryan Aslett July 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      Or.. the dealers accept stolen bikes in lieu of currency?

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    • dmc July 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      A successful drug deal will not ingest their profit. When they do ingest their profits, they need to find other ways of generating revenue to purchase more drugs for sale. I think its fair to say that none of these people were particularly successful drug dealers.

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  • John July 12, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Mountain bikes….lol

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  • Lance P. July 12, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Were any imperial brooks saddles found?

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  • Tourbiker July 12, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Bikes are easily trad-able for dope & valuable in PDX Freaks will steal anything for a hit. Not to mention they make an effective mode for smuggling.
    If your busted moving weight in a car, Your gonna loose the car, why not just write off a bike?
    Switch enuf parts, tape up the identifiers, and even an owner will likely discount their own eyes without a closeup view.

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    • John Lascurettes July 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      I also imagine to some extent, bikes are “fleet vehicles” for on-street drug traders. Ride into a park, make a trade, ride away. Even better if they can do it on a different bike each time to avoid a consistent description.

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  • dan July 12, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Selling drugs is just prohibition/capitalism in action, but stealing bikes…that’s low!

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  • Robert July 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Bikes can be used to launder drug money. Sell dope > buy stolen bike > part out bike > Ebay etc > clean cash.

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    • dmc July 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      The money trail would still lead to the question of how a person obtained the bike parts you were selling on ebay. Not a good laundering scheme. 😛

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  • DavidS July 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Yeah! I see one of mine! Bastards. Good work PPD!

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  • Ethan July 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    My sone and I rode up to a scene during fleet week where a guy’s bike was stolen from behind him as he snapped a shot of the ships on the Steel Bridge. The guy rode down Front and ducked into the Pearl . . . I gave the guy’s biz card to a PPB officer in Chinatown . . . make me wonder.

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  • Spiffy July 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    that address shows the Hip Sing Association above the door…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_Sing_Association says it’s “a Chinese-American criminal organization”…

    looks like they’re been in drug trafficking for the last 100 years… guess they haven’t got any better at it since they continue to get busted…

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    • Sunny July 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      Unless the “Hip Sing Association” has recently recruited white people with meth habits, I’m doubting it’s the same “gang”, but could be operating out of their building. Similar company. KATU shows one of them being arrested.

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    • Sunny July 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      “Police arrested the following people on either parole violation warrants or on drug charges: Tracey Ledoux, 40; Amy Macioroski, 31; Donald Stumpff, 43; Troy Guy, 42; Jennifer Mahoney, 32; Lisa Mills, 28; and Sean Evans, 25.

      Officers also reportedly seized two ounces of meth, drug packaging materials, digital scales, ammunition, surveillance equipment, multiple weapons and body armor, as well as dozens of stolen bicycles and some stolen computers.”


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  • GB July 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    As someone who had the same Specialized mountain bike stolen not once, but twice in downtown portland, and had it recovered both times by the Portland police, I can’t emphasis enough about writing down your serial number.

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  • Alex July 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks for posting the pictures. Did you happen to see my 19 year old steel framed silver Stumpjumper? Great wheel set, Terry saddle. I did put in a police report the day it was stolen (June 30th) but I can’t find the serial number. I really miss my bike.

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  • Racer X July 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Hey Portland is a bike town…even the dealers got good bike taste here.

    [I mean would ya trust the quality of their cooked product if they rolled up to you on a busted Huffy or …even a Schwinn nowa dayz?] 😉

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  • esther c July 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I get so pissed off seeing the bums riding around on obviously stolen bikes and there’s nothing you can do. What is a homeless guy collecting bottles doing riding a 4K mtn bike?

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  • jim July 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I can’t believe how they stuffed all those nice bikes in a heap in the back of a truck, if I saw my bike in that pile I would be pretty upset about the scratches it aquired from Po Po.
    On the other hand it kind of reminds me of Robin Hood, Poor inglorious bastards out stealing from the rich… Maybe I was wrong all these years rooting for Robin Hood. Maybe its all just wealth redistribution and I am supposed to be happy about it. sigh

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  • Jolly Dodger July 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I’ve heard tell of (urban legend) a network of interstate stolen bicycle traffic. A van comes from Seattle once a month and a pro spree takes place, often during broad daylight, where dozens of high end bikes all vanish simultaneously. If a smart enough tweaker were to utilize some brain cells in this manner, a back and forth (to make re-sell easier) could be quite a profitable venture…if one were so inclined. But re-selling after a quick strip and Krylon paint job & re-build with different parts is probably what they were doing. And CraigsList bike sellers get another black eye…dang.

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