Getting Your Stolen Bike Back

GOOD: How long did it take you to find your stolen bike on the site?

Brown: It was stolen on Tuesday, and on Sunday I was walking back from the corner store and saw it on my phone on Craigslist. (I pretty much tried to only search for it on my phone, while walking around, so I wouldn’t just refresh Craigslist on my computer over and over.) I wasn’t sure it was mine at first; there were a few photos of it, and most were close-ups of the chain and tires and whatnot showing it was in good shape. Oddly, three of the four photos showed it with a kickstand, which my bike definitely didn’t have. But the fourth was taken in a different location, and it was extremely recognizable as mine. It was the same color, and the posting mentioned it was the same model (a Quick Six). Also I’d added three things to it after I bought it: a rear rack, a water bottle holder, and a little under-the-seat Velcro bag. The rack and water bottle were on it, and while the bag was missing, so was the rear reflector I’d had to remove to install it. It’s hard to imagine the odds of the same color, model and add-ons all showing up within a week of my bike being stolen.

Over at GOOD, Cord Jefferson talks to Christian Brown about how he found his stolen bike on Craigslist, and subsequently worked with the LAPD’s “Bike Detectives” to recover it from a bike flipper. Two years ago, author Jami Attenberg also had her bike stolen, and worked with the NYPD to recover her bike—her terrific story is here.

Photo: Flickr/Marco Gomes

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7 Comments / Post A Comment

deepomega (#22)

In case you were wondering: Yes, this Christian Brown is me, and yes, my wife had to threaten me to keep me from stealing the bike back.

Mike Dang (#2)

@deepomega I did wonder!

Fig. 1 (#632)

@deepomega I don’t blame you, I would have taken an immediate and “unwise” course of action.

I bought a very similar bike (same specs, geometry, diff brand) when getting back into biking. Now I lend it out, but it’s kind of a cross to whomever has it, since it’s still new enough to be desirable, but not fun or fast enough to ride often. Comfort hybrids are the Sebring of bikes.

If only Pee-wee had the internet…

My bike got stolen. I called up the store I bought it from, got the serial number (luck!), and reported it stolen. A month later, cops called me up and told me they’d pulled over a homeless person downtown riding it. Got my bike back!

#notthenorm

phlox (#204)

My bike disappeared from the post I locked it up to outside my work. I assumed it had been stolen by, you know, bike thieves, but one of my coworkers mentioned that she had seen the city on the street picking up (presumably abandoned) bikes. So after four days of stupid phone calls, they let me come up to their yard and there was my bike! Minus the $60 lock I had bought a week before, but whatever, I got it back.
(There was another blue bike on the same post that was clearly abandoned – twisted/rusted wheels, fliers from three months ago stuck in the spokes – that they might have been sent to pick up, but that one is still out there.)

allaswan (#578)

I got my stolen bike back after posting it on the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry (http://chicago.stolenbike.org/). I couldn’t believe it worked. Some guys noticed a bum-looking kind of dude with it, and were suspicious because of the nice (Brooks) saddle, (which i know is fucked up in it’s own way), and checked the registry. They pretended to want to buy it from him, and sort of cornered him and he ran away. So surprising!

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