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Portland Parks Rangers help man recover stolen bike

Posted by on February 18th, 2014 at 1:32 pm

(L-R) Park Ranger Ray Turner, Seth Burke, and
Park Ranger Karras Kalivas, post-recovery.
(Photos courtesy PP&R)

Portland Parks & Recreation have some good news to share: They’ve helped a Portland man recover his stolen Surly Puglsey fat bike.

Here’s how it went down…

Seth Burke got his Pugsley stolen on from in front of a business in downtown Portland on Monday, February 10th. According to PP&R, who emailed us details about the theft and recovery, Burke worked hard to spread the word about his bike. We tell people all the time that the best way to get your bike back is to pound the pavement and tell anyone who will listen about your bike. Even so, after filing a police report and several days of looking and showing folks photos of his bike, Burke had lost hope.

Then last Thursday (February 13th), Burke saw Park Ranger Ray Turner on the Esplanade and flagged him down. Burke showed Turner a photo of the bike and told him the specifics. Turner then passed the information onto his colleagues at the agency. Lo and behold, later that day Turner’s partner, Karras Kalivas, spotted what he thought was Burke’s bike. It was being ridden by a man in Director Park — very close to where the bike was originally stolen. Kalivas and Turner approached the suspected thief, who then immediately dropped the bike and began to run away on foot.

Now in the possession of PP&R, Burke was able to positively identify the bike and even provide a key to the u-lock that was still attached to it. (UPDATE: Burke says the bike was locked when it was stolen. The lock that remained on the bike was a secondary lock.)

In a statement from PP&R, Burke said, “Rangers Ray Turner and Karras Kalivas were very professional, very thorough, extremely helpful, and a huge benefit to this situation and to the public safety and health of our parks and city. A lot of us may not even know what Park Rangers do, and how beneficial they are to our parks. I can’t thank them enough.”

We love stolen bike stories with happen endings. Nice job Rangers Turner and Kalivas! And we’re also glad to see that Burke’s persistence paid off (as it often does in these situations).

— Check out our bike theft story archives for more recovery tales.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • scott February 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    wOw! From in front of a business? It doesn’t sound like his business or where he works, so his time inside must have been brief barring a salon visit which the picture does not suggest.

    Those thieves must’ve been incredibly skilled to beat the lock and then make good on a getaway utilizing a bike that it most definitely not known for burning up the pavement.

    One could almost marvel at such skill at beating locks even in spite of the skills being put to such a nefarious use.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu February 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    It isn’t clear to me if the bike was locked at the time of the theft, since the U-lock is still attached to the bike’s rack. Glad he got his bike back.

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    • Granpa February 18, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      “I’ll just be in this business for a few seconds, My bike will be OK

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      • Todd Hudson February 18, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        Never, ever, evereverevereverever leave your bike unlocked when it’s out of your sight, even for 30 seconds. In Portland, there’s a small army of junkies, vagrants and losers who spend their day looking for such theft opportunities.

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        • RobC February 18, 2014 at 4:04 pm

          True, but even within sight you’re taking a huge risk. Nothing worse than watching someone ride off on your bike as you exit the building and run down the street after them. Happened to someone I know.

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  • Spiffy February 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    love hearing these recovery stories!

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  • Adam February 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Was the bike locked when it was stolen? If so, with what? I wish these stories would mention this crucial piece of information.

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    • scott February 18, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      I think from the omission alone it is quite obvious that the bike was not locked.

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      • Aaronf February 20, 2014 at 11:24 am

        (UPDATE: Burke says the bike was locked when it was stolen. The lock that remained on the bike was a secondary lock.)

        your criteria for “quite obvious” needs revision!

        If this is what you think, your first post is sarcasm, right? What’s wrong, scott? Why so negative? 🙁

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  • GlowBoy February 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    If his key worked in the U-lock attached to the bike, it seems likely it was not locked. Sure that was a mistake, especially downtown, but who among us hasn’t had a similar lapse of judgment once or twice, and ended up lucky? Glad he got his bike back, and thanks to PPB for having helpful rangers!

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  • OnTheRoad February 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    The story says the culprit “began” to run away on foot but doesn’t say that he was apprehended.

    Great you got your bike back, but the thief is still out there to rip off the next person.

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  • NWPearl Stolen bike Civilian, Le Roi Le Veut February 19, 2014 at 7:55 am

    this guy posted all over! His diligence in getting the word out won! On craigslist he tells the story of two people dragging the bike with wheels still locked down the street. many people saw them and no one stopped them – obviously not the rightful owner of the bike!
    my bike was stolen from the pearl…locked and inside a locked door with video surveillance!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 19, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Heard from the owner. He said the bike was locked when it was stolen…the lock that remained on the bike was a secondary lock.

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  • mran1984 February 19, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Of course everyone should ASSume. A bike is only safe when it is under you, on top of the car(on the way to the trail), or in the house. Even then it’s never 100%. Really pleased the victim got his bike back. This does not happen enough.

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