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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?

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mhAnneJonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)Bryan Hance (The Bike Index)tmoreno17 Recent comment authors
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Maybe report it as an abandoned bicycle?

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


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., 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.


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.

Bryan Hance (The Bike Index)

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.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

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.