Support BikePortland

Subscriber Post - This post was written by a subscriber.
Want to subscribe? Learn More »

Why is it so hard to report a found bike?

Subscriber Post by mh on October 19th, 2015 at 10:58 pm

I saw a trashy glint in my planting strip walking (yes, walking, not riding) back from the store tonight. Went to remove the trash, and found that it was a mostly-stripped bike frame – a Univega Via Montega, 23″.

Calling the police non-emergency number at night gets you nothing. How do I report an obviously stolen bike that I found, rather than lost? This does not fit any category of incident that can be reported to PPB on line.

I’ve got the serial number; now what?

Please support BikePortland.

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

10 Comments
  • Avatar
    lop October 20, 2015 at 1:18 am

    Maybe report it as an abandoned bicycle?

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/442404

    The form lets you add additional comments, you could specify there if you suspect it was stolen.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    mh October 20, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Doesn’t seem like it’s going to help someone reunite with their stolen bike if – per the photograph – the response is to tag it for removal. Thanks, though. I’ll report it and maybe some city staffer will tell me what I should have done.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    tmoreno17 October 20, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I’d recommend a few steps, which you probably have already done, but might be helpful for others to do:

    • Call the non emergency line and have a police officer come out to check it out against their stolen records. Some bike owners may have filed a report with the police, but not with the registries online. Call when you will have some free time, as they may take 1-2 hours to come out, depending on the priority of calls they have.

    • Check the stolen bike online registries with the serial number (i.e. bikeindex.org), and also do a quick search for the make/model of the bike (some owners post their bikes as stolen, but didn’t write down their serial numbers).

    • Check craigslist to see if one was reported stolen. You can also post a picture of a found bike online with a description/photo.

    If the police come and don’t take the bike, you can donate it to a local bike shop that works with used bike parts.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Anne October 20, 2015 at 11:50 am

      Thanks, this is very helpful. We have a St. Johns community page on Facebook and some nice people report ‘finding bikes’. In the past, when someone had lost a bike, I would point them to here or later, to BikeIndex, but I was at a loss when a bike was found.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • bhance
    bhance October 20, 2015 at 8:56 am

    FYI, the BikeIndex supports ‘found bikes’. Post it there.

    And, of course, while you’re at it – you can run the serial and check the existing stolen bike listings to see if the bike you found has been listed.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    mh October 20, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I did run the serial number on BikeIndex; no match. I can’t find a way to report a “found” without logging in, and I’m not sure I ever set up an account. I’m sending them an email. They’ll figure out how to deal with it.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 20, 2015 at 11:40 am

    You could also post a description and a photo of the bike here. This section of the site is meant as a bulletin board/forum and I’d be happy to publish something like a “found bike” notice.

    I think the best thing to do in these situations is just spread the word as far and wide as you can and hope the owner comes across it.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    mh October 20, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Here it is, most of a Univega Via Montega. Missing only wheels (including cassette), seat and for some reason brakes.


    and

    If you think it’s yours and have record of your serial number, send it to me. machiya at rdrop dot com.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    mh October 24, 2015 at 7:56 am

    And it’s got a Coventry sticker on it. Bought at 20th and Hawthorne, dumped at 35th and Hawthorne, all very local.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    mh November 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Aha – there is an email address for the PPB bike theft task force – bttf@portlandoregon.gov. Report to non-emergency line any time of the day or night. The outgoing message that says to not report vehicle theft to that line, but apparently they mean “motor vehicle.” They’ll come to my house and pick it up. Hope all the other bikes and parts I’ve got all over don’t suggest that I’m running a chop shop…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar