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Honest, helpful people still best tool for getting back stolen bikes

Posted by on September 21st, 2012 at 2:40 pm

It’s been clear to us around here for many years that when it comes to recovering stolen bikes, it’s not just technology and the long arm of the law that’s going to solve the problem; it’s good, old-fashioned community. As I shared last month, people helping people has been a mainstay of the many stolen bike recoveries I’ve heard about and covered over the years.

Just this week I’ve come across two more examples that are worth your attention.

KPTV (Fox) aired a story last night about a man who paid $40 for what he knew was a stolen bike, simply so he could return it to its owner. Here’s more from their story:

“Instead of happily riding off with his new wheels, the man bought the $700 bike with two $20 bills and took it back to Clever Cycles.

“We were able to look at the serial number on the bike itself and run it through our point of sales system and get the original purchaser,” Scholz said.

As it turned out, someone was missing their bike. The owner had logged on to bikeportland.org and added the serial number to the stolen bike registry. He also filed a police report. Just one phone call from Scholz, and it was time for a reunion.”

That is fantastic.

And then there’s this one I got via email from a reader yesterday:

“Hey Jonathan,

Edie here. So you wanted to know how my 2013 Felt bike was recovered:

Me and a group of friends went to downtown to search for my bike. As we were doing so, a homeless guy asked what we were doing. We told him, and he told us that he saw the listing for my stolen bike on the Craigslist for Portland, and then he thought he saw my bike in a dumpster. So he led us to the dumpster (Near SE Madison) and yes, there it was.

I gave him $75 and directions to Central City Concern (he ‘s from Oakland).

Crazy, only in Portland.”

And then there’s this (left via a comment below):

“Just this week, my good friend (and bike touring partner) lost his bike downtown. At my suggestion, he placed a listing here on BikePortland. Within a matter of hours, a person who worked on the street where it went missing found the listing, and as it turns out, was keeping the bike safe in their shop. As it turns out my friend had “missed” the rack with his lock!

Mr. Maus tweeted about the found bike, I relayed the good news to my friend, and they were reunited that afternoon.

From despair to pure joy in about 24 hrs!”

I love sharing these stories because they remind us there are lots of good and helpful people in the world. They also remind us that bikes are getting recovered and having one stolen isn’t necessarily the end of the story.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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SilkySlim
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Just this week, my good friend (and bike touring partner) lost his bike downtown. At my suggestion, he placed a listing here on BikePortland. Within a matter of hours, a person who worked on the street where it went missing found the listing, and as it turns out, was keeping the bike safe in their shop. As it turns out my friend had “missed” the rack with his lock!

Mr. Maus tweeted about the found bike, I relayed the good news to my friend, and they were reunited that afternoon.

From despair to pure joy in about 24 hrs!

Bjorn
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Bjorn

I’m not sure that giving a bike thief 40 bucks and sending him off to steal another bike is really “thwarting”. It was nice of the guy to reunite the old owner with his bike but anytime you buy known stolen goods from a thief you are promoting theft.

J.M. Jones
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J.M. Jones

Share the joy sometimes! Do we always need to focus on the negative? I would be quite thankful that someone went out of their way to return my bike.

Art Fuldodger
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Art Fuldodger

my daughter had her bike stolen – not a good idea to lock to a chain-link fence, now she knows – & posted the description of it here on the stolen bike listing (she had no serial #). When it showed up abandoned in someones’ yard a few months later they were astute enough to check here, and were able to track it back to her. The frame had been severely tortured (all identifying marks ground off) but the decent components & very nice wheel set were no worse for wear. Thanks, BikePortland!

deborah
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deborah

My bike got stolen JUST this morning. Some guy just happened to see it unattended (just slightly out of my range of vision) as I was watering our garden before my ride into work. Next thing I know I see him riding it down the hill. I ran after him as fast as I could, yelling ‘bike theif’ the whole way down the hill (for two blocks). At the end of the block (crossing Clinton) he realized that my yelling had alerted others and they were ready to help. So he dropped the bike and ran away. Without those honest helpful people waiting for him at the end of the block, he would have just been able to ride away.