Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Two stolen bike recovery stories (because we can’t get enough of them)

Posted by on August 21st, 2013 at 10:12 am

Because we can never get enough of hearing about how people get their stolen bikes back, we present you two more stories of stolen bike recovery success.

But before getting into some good news, we have some not-so-good news about our Stolen Bike Listings. Due to a software issue that’s causing duplicate postings, I’ve decided to disable the listings until we can get it fixed. Sorry about that. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Our first story comes from Vancouver resident Branden Shelby. You might recall that Branden was the subject of one of our Ride Alongs back in April. A few months after our story, the same bike he rode with me that morning, a LeMond Poprad, was stolen from his side yard. Branden had put a lot of love into his bike, upgrading it over the years with a green Brooks saddle, green BMX pedals, and other nice touches. Unfortunately, he posted it to our Stolen Bike Listings on July 23rd with a $100 reward.

Then on August 11th, Branden gave us the good news. “Yesterday I got an email from a guy who bought it from some kid for $200. As he looked up everything he could about the bike and some of the accessories I’d added, he came across my stolen bike post. So I met up with him today and made good on the hundred dollar reward and rode it home. Bikeportland.org and SBR [Stolen Bike Registry] are truly a valuable rescource!”

Thanks Branden! We’re so glad you got your bike back.

The next story we get to share today comes from reader Jenny Phillips. She got her Specialized Tricross stolen from in front of the Galeria Building in downtown Portland back in January 2012. She posted it on our Stolen Bike Listings with a $350 reward. Then a few weeks ago she got an out-of-blue phone call from an employee of the downtown Bike Gallery store. The employee said they might have her bike, but they needed her to come into the shop and identify it. “When I walked into the shop to ID my bike,” Jenny wrote us via email, “I hardly recognized it.”

“”I’m so thankful that people actually read the blog posts! I’m still riding my bike today, but now have a heavy duty lock.”
— Jenny Phillips

Jenny said her bike had been stripped of all its components and accessories; but she recognized her old Novara water bottle holder. “That’s the one thing that helped me ID my bike from the pictures.” After getting the bike back, she had Bike Gallery do some repairs and install some new components.

Jenny later learned (via the Bike Gallery employee) that they guy who brought her bike into the shop was asking to get the brakes fixed (“At least he was taking care of it,” Jenny noted). The employee chatted with the suspected thief and asked if he’d sell the bike to his sister. “The thief didn’t hesitate,” Jenny says, “And asked for $200 cash for my bike.” The quick-thinking Bike Gallery employee then told the thief he just needed to call his sister to have her come and ride it. When he went to the back of the shop to get on the phone, he confirmed the bike was stolen after finding it on our listings, then he called the cops. When the officer showed up at the shop, the thief tried to run away, but the officer caught him.

Jenny gave the employee the reward, and emailed us to say, “I’m so thankful that people actually read the blog posts! I’m still riding my bike today, but now have a heavy duty lock.”

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  • o/o August 21, 2013 at 10:41 am


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  • Todd Hudson August 21, 2013 at 10:43 am

    There’s also this stolen bike recovery story that didn’t have such a happy ending:


    Bike thieves and tweekers are the lowest form of life.

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  • Spiffy August 21, 2013 at 10:46 am

    stolen bikes being recovered is great…

    having the cops catch the thief is awesome…

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  • pixelgate August 21, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Bike Gallery really needs more recognition for their good efforts with recovering stolen bikes. Many other shops seem to service what they suspect are stolen bikes because, hey, it’s money for them. Bike Gallery consistently goes above and beyond in recovering these bikes. They are a true asset to the community.

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    • Scott August 21, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Did you read the story about Bike Gallery endangering themselves physically like the guys at Revolver did to recover a bike?

      Yeah. Neither did I.

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      • pengo August 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm

        Here here. We can only hope that the next time a Gallery employee helps to recover a stolen bike the thief takes a swing or pulls a knife.

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      • Audrey August 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        I rode the Portland Century last weekend on my bike that was recovered by Revolver! I’m happy every time I ride that they went above & beyond.

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    • bhance August 21, 2013 at 11:07 am

      Seconding this. I have had a lot of checks and recoveries via the SBR listings from Bike Gallery shops, they’ve been consistent re: checking and finding stolen bikes. Their efforts are appreciated, as are those of the countless folks asking for serials on craigslist sellers, from ebay, etc.

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    • pengo August 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Would you care to name the shops that “seem” to choose a few dollars over recovering a stolen bike?

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  • davemess August 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    A couple of questions about these stories:
    1. Was the first bike (stolen in Washington) recovered in Washington? I’m just curious if people are moving stolen Vancouver bikes into Portland

    2. For the second bike, the components were stripped and other components were put on it? The story says the bike was stripped, but then the goes on to talk about the thief bringing it in for a brake adjustment and potential test ride.
    Would people strip off decent components and put junkier ones back on and use the bike? Just seems like a lot of hassle.

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  • bhance August 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    “Would people strip off decent components and put junkier ones back on and use the bike?”

    Yes. All the time. Lots of bikes get instantly stripped after theft to prevent identification either on the road or for sale on craigslist etc. It is common, and the folks doing the mix and matching usually don’t tend to know the difference between good parts and bad parts …

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