Ever had a stolen bike returned?

In light of Caley Fretz getting his stolen bike back three years after the fact, has anything like that ever happened to you? What state was it in?

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yea i got a norco search xr that was stolen in seattle back after a little over a year. guy bought it on offerup (under sketchy circumstances imo), ran the serial, and found my post on bikeindex, and then was good enough to contact me. apparently it was held in a storage unit for most of the time it was gone, i guess until it was unlikely i would be actively looking for it anymore?

i also had another bike stolen (also in seattle, it is a lovely place) that was found by the cops in a homeless camp a few days after being stolen. again cop found it on bikeindex.

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My 1972 Peugeot UO-18 mixte - my mother’s bike until she gave it to me when she turned 82 - was stolen from outside our Alameda, CA, apartment years ago. I was heartbroken.

After an intense 3-week campaign (flyers circulated in person and via PDF, searching for it in the East Bay), someone who had seen the flyers recognized it in Oakland and called me. I called Oakland PD to report it and told them I was going after the bike myself if they could not come retrieve it. They showed up ASAP (worried about me, not the bike) and pulled it out of the “known” back yard. I have been riding it - and locking it with TWO U-locks - ever since.

(It was the only one of SIX bikes I have lost to theft, including one “smash and grab” out of my car in 1982.)


Woah, that’s cool. I haven’t heard of BikeIndex - I’ll check it out. Thanks!

I found a stolen bike in a pawn shop. Legally I could have demanded it back, but I paid the owner $100 for being honest with me when I asked him about it on the phone.

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A friend had a brand new synapse nicked from locked up outside their office, and about 9 months later the Police gave it back after stumbling on dozens of stolen bikes in another enquiry.

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I used to ride an old track bike with a very small gear (42 x 16 :wink: ) no brakes and very sharp old school “bear trap” pedals. It got stolen 3 times, never had to go further than 200 metres to get it back, just look for the guy on the ground missing half his shin :laughing:


Had a Trek Hardtail stolen from university campus in New Jersey. Found it a couple of weeks alter on Craigslist. Had a hard time to convince the Police that this was actually MY bike and not A bike looking like mine (yes, we discussed wear on the saddle…). In parallel, I tried to contacted them to “buy” my bike back but they never replied.
To my surprise, the Police actually did investigate (took ages) but in the end, they called me to pick up my bike from the police station.

Same bike got stolen a few days after moving to Cambridge, England. Or to be precise - all the parts got stolen. They didn’t manage to cut my super fancy new lock so the frame was still there. But they even took the time to dismount the disk brakes. Cambridge Police didn’t even bother to look at the CCTV…

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My Dad’s Peugeot US Express (90’s budget MTB with TERRIBLE brakes) was stolen from our yard once, after we realised, we went to report it to the police…… what was sitting against the wall of the police station when we went to report it?...my dad’s bike!

We asked the cops if they knew anything about it and they said they knew nothing.

Very strange indeed!

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No. I’ve had 2 bikes nicked, and the police were both depressingly and refreshingly honest. ‘Give us the details on the 1/1000 chance in turns up, but otherwise, here’s the crime number for your insurance’. Oh, and ‘unless there’s been forced entry or violence we don’t investigate bike theft; we don’t have the resources’. (!)

There’s a current outbreak of clearly stolen bikes on the UK Road Cycling FB marketplace, at the moment. You can spot them a mile off as they’re usually marked generically as ‘bike for sale’ (despite pictures of usually obviously fairly high end machines), have an email address but no phone number, and mention virtually none of the details that a serious buyer would be interested in. Oh, and they’re always about £1500, too!

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We had our kids bikes stolen and managed to track one of them down through facebook marketplace. The police recovered it for us. The new ‘owner’ had upgraded the handlebars.

Login • Instagram just as it was left as it was only lost for a few hours. BiB did well to get it back that quick, I wonder (cynically) whether they’d be that interested in Joe Bloggs bike.

Geraint Thomas has entered the chat

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I had a LOOK 595 stolen from out the front of my workplace. I listed an ad on eBay with photos and detailed description, saying it was stolen. The next day, the thief took it to their local bike shop and wanted to remove the LOOK pedals and replace them with flat pedals. The bike shop assistant thought it was weird and told his workmates. One of them had seen the ad on eBay and they contacted me and called the Police. I got my bike back but the thief had already cut the integrated seat post. At least I could claim a new frame through insurance.

Yes, my Salsa Mamasita was stolen out of my car and used by the thief as transportation to continue their night of breaking into cars (more people on bikes not always good I guess). Anyway he rode it down the hill to the lower half of our development and then couldn’t ride it back up the hill and ditched it on a neighbor’s lawn. The police found it and took it to their garage.

A few years back, on a wet day, I crashed my Scott Foil in a corner on a popular Sydney cycleway, bad enough for bystanders to call the ambos. I was actually concussed and cannot remember a thing. Some guys called my wife and told them that they would hand her over my bike at a close by spot. Unfortunately a third guy took charge of the bike and discreetly disappeared with it.
I woke up in a Neuro surgery ward, not knowing what happened to my pride and joy.
The wife of a friend did a bit of digging on some local cycling Facebook group and found out that somebody actually donated to a cycling association a DI2 10 speed drive train (it was the time when the 11 speed was released), plus lots of components that looked like they came from my Scott Foil. The dude was actually a volunteer mechanic for that association, whose president invited me to inspect the parts donated. I went to check them and they were mine. I got my components back, plus the phone number and address of the rat bag, that I transmitted to the police.
Within a few days I was told by the police officer in charge of the case that my frame was turned in at a police station, couple of week later it was my wheels. I still had a lot of thing missing though: power meter, fly 6 & 12, tires…The guy admitted that he took the bike, but claim that he didn’t know who it belong to (although I have photos of him talking to the ambos). I offered him a deal, with the police officer as an intermediate : what was missing plus the cost of putting the bike back together costed about $2000 so if he paid it I would not press charges. It took a few months but eventually $2000 were deposited in my bank account.

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I had a Klein mountain back stolen back in the day, it was later recovered by the police as they found it odd that a homeless man was riding a Klein. I was called down to the police station to id the bike, but I never got it back. Good thing it was all covered by insurance.

I had a road bike stolen last year and recovered it a week later, thanks to a ten year old obituary, the RCC and plenty of cycling friends. The whole story is on my website, it is a bit too long for a forum post, so I hope the link is ok: The curious retrieval of my stolen road bike - Konstantin Kleine Photographie

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