Stolen in Seattle

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Seattle, Stolen, Washington 2 Comments

I hate getting emails like this: 

 I’m sending my sad story to all bike places/people in hopes that I get my ride back. My bike was stolen today. I’m near Queen Anne/Interbay and thought maybe someone might see it go by. It’s an 80’s lugged steel Trek road bike with special custom powder coat, sparkle orange.
Thank you friendly local bike blog!!!


More info from Betsy:

1987 Trek 400 Elance 50 cm-ish (I don’t know the exact size, but right around 50)
Powder Coated Orange Sparkle
7 speed bar end shifters 105 group
Sugino crank set triple

I know of at least a handful of bikes recovered through posting to the blog and social media and then concerned citizens keeping an eye out and being vigilant- so this is hopes of good results.

Death to bike thieves.

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Internet 1, Bike Thief 0.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Portland, Seattle, Stolen, Washington No Comments

This is from a couple years ago, but it still makes me happy.  Being reunited with a bike after it was stolen is such a good feeling.  The thief getting pinched is just icing on the cake.  The bike owner showed a lot of restraint by not kicking the shit out of the dude, strengthening his case all around.  Anybody know what happened next?

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Baron bike stolen in Seattle

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Seattle, Stolen 1 Comment

Brad had his custom 54cm Baron bicycle stolen from inside his Wallingford garage Thursday (11/1) between the hours of 1-4pm.

Keep on the lookout for this bike:

The rims are reflective- which may be the easiest way to identify it if it stays together.  They look matte grey, but reflect when hit with light.

The following is the build:

If you see it- either free lock it (use your lock to lock the bike up) or call the police.  Help Brad get his bike back.

Keep your eyes peeled and spread the word!

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Stolen in Seattle

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Seattle, Stolen 3 Comments

Gretchen’s beloved Rainier was stolen in front of Gage Academy of Art on Capitol Hill August 6th around noon. It’s a 57cm Raleigh “Rainier” fixed gear. Easton fork. White saddle, red bull horn bars, red front tire, black rear, front brake.

Pic is the bike with diff bars and saddle.


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NYC Bike Thief

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Seattle, Stolen No Comments

You may remember the Neistat brothers and their social study which screened at the Bicycle Film Festival showing that not many people in NYC gave two thoughts about someone stealing a bike.  Well a few years later they decided to do it again.

If you missed it the first time around.  This is their 2005 experiment.

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Operation Oliver’s Twist.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Seattle, Stolen No Comments

Have you had something stolen recently, like a bike?  Well there is a chance that it wound up in a sting operation that acted as a store front, buying stolen goods.  Even if you didn’t hear back from the police about it’s recovery, it’s possible that it was recovered in this operation and its been sitting in storage.

You can take a look at their Flickr- and if you see your shit- give them a call.  Information below taken from the Flickr page of stolen goods.

The Major Crimes Task Force has loaded photos on Flickr to assist victims in locating their stolen property and to assist in the prosecution of the criminals involved in Operation Oliver’s Twist.

Victims must be able to identify any property they believe belongs to them and must have reported it missing to law enforcement prior to March 5th, 2012.

Victims should call 206-733-9616 to talk to a detective or to leave a message for a detective to return their call. Callers must have a police case number with them at the time they phone detectives. Please note that the items posted are the only items that were recovered during the operation and there is no other property to view.

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Guest post: Bike Theft advice

Written by Guest on . Posted in Advocacy, Bicycle, Stolen 5 Comments

The other day I read the abbreviated version of the following article, written by Jim Teague about bike theft.  I get a lot of emails from people that have had their bikes nabbed- looking for some way to increase their chances of retrieval.  I was impressed with Jim’s approach and asked him if he would like to write an expanded version for the blog.  He wrote back quickly with a “yes” and Monday morning- this was in my inbox.  Thanks to Jim for taking the time and I hope that it is helpful to those that may have lost a bike to theft.

Bike theft advice: both before and after.  Written by Jim Teague

Maybe you are unfortunate enough for this to have happened to you, but it goes like this…

You walk out to the garage to grab your bike and…it’s not there. You spend another 10 minutes, like an idiot, looking under rags, behind this bucket and behind that 2×4, etc…. because you know it’s here, but for some reason you just can’t see it. Eventually it sinks in – it’s been stolen and someone else has your bike now. You almost feel sick.

Well, I’m recounting my own experience above. And I did all the “right” things: I promptly reported it to the police (and my insurance company), and within a few days had a dead-on, slam-dunk identification of my bike on Craig’s List. I worked with the police, asking them how I should approach the situation. But my case is now closed and my bike is gone forever. To sum it up, it goes like this: someone walked into my garage and stole one of my most prized possessions and essentially sold it for scrap, right in front of me. And there was basically nothing that could be done about it.

But saying that there’s “nothing” I could have done isn’t exactly true. Knowing what I know now, I would have done a few things differently. Of course, prior to the theft I would have kept better records, but there are things I would have done differently even after the theft. Let me walk through a few of those things and share my hard-won experience.

Before the Theft

My bike was unique, there wasn’t another one on the earth like it. It was purchased as a frameset, and I outfitted it with a combination of components that were purchased new, as well as some that I migrated off of my previous frameset. So other than the frame and fork, every item was individually picked by me, at different times. But this doesn’t mean anything to most of the general public (including police, detectives, and any judge you might want to sign a search warrant). They first thing the police will ask you is “how do you know it’s your bike?”. You know that bike so well that you’re actually offended at that question. But you compose yourself and proceed to explain to them until you’re blue in the face the color of the spoke nipples, how many teeth are on each cog in the cassette, etc., etc., etc. You are met with skepticism, or at best, some sympathy: “I agree with you – I think that bike might be yours”. I never, at any point in the conversation, said “might”.

As above, these detailed descriptions are basically meaningless to most of the general public, who barely knows how many wheels a bike has. As far as they know, all bikes are bought from a department store along with thousands of identical others. But to be fair, maybe the police officer has just come off a case where someone said they knew for sure some stolen property was theirs, only to be made a fool of.

Your weapons of choice here are 1) The Serial Number, and 2) The Receipt. Go write down the serial number of your bike, as well as all the parts that have one, and keep it all in a safe place. From law enforcement’s perspective, that is irrefutable evidence that the bike is yours. Secondly, keep receipts for the bike and at least the major components. That helps back you up.

Here’s the other piece of advice: have some good homeowner’s insurance with “replacement cost”. Actually I did, and I’m getting a replacement bike for the amount of my deductible.

After the Theft

The usual situation here is that some low-life has grabbed your bike in order to exchange it for some quick cash. Usually, the ad you may find on Craigs List is incredibly naïve. While someone legitimately selling a high-end bike would relate meticulous detail on things like the size and the components, these thieves typically don’t provide any of that information because they really haven’t a clue. My ad said “I don’t have time to ride my bike anymore, so I’m selling it”. That’s it, nothing more. When I found the ad I went to the police to ask their advice, and they said “just answer the ad as you would inquire for any bike”. I actually did as they suggested, but that’s terrible advice and I would certainly do it differently today.

I created a fake gmail account and responded to the ad asking “What condition is it in?” which is fine, but then I asked “What size is it, and what components are on it?”. Those latter questions were perfectly normal questions any cyclist would want to know the answers to, but in this case they were a big mistake for two reasons. First, it might seem too inquisitive and make them suspicious. Second, as above, they don’t know the answers to those questions. They are simply looking for someone who will give them quick cash for their stolen goods. I never got a response. Instead, I should have said “I would like to buy the bike if you still have it, when can we meet?”.

Let me stop here and say that getting a response from the thief is critical to any chances of recovering your bike. If you can’t lure them into setting up a meeting, or even to give you more information about themselves, you’re going nowhere. I would also suggest that you recruit several of your friends to respond to the ad as well, it will improve the odds of a response. Once the thief responds to one of them, contact the police immediately and try to coordinate a “sting” operation.

In terms of dealing with the police, you will probably end up filing the initial police report over the phone, but at some point you should march yourself down to the station and talk with someone face-to-face, and hand them any documentation you have. It will make the case more “real”, and will also help your credibility and demonstrate that you are serious about getting to the bottom of this. My case got nowhere until I went to the police station, and handed the officer a photograph of the bike and a full page list of how it could be identified. He pledged to take that information to the detectives the next day, and he did. The detective called me and we had several discussions after that.

My own story didn’t have a happy ending, though, despite what you read about on what seems a regular basis. The detective handling my case was going to make his own ad query along the lines of my suggestion (just offer them money). But by that time the bike was either sold, or the ad expired, and we had no way to close the gap between me and the anonymous thief. The detective said that no judge would sign a Craig’s List inquiry for a search warrant based on “a photo”. The case is closed now.


So here’s a summary of what I recommend:

·         Write down all of your serial numbers and keep receipts
·         Make sure you have good homeowner’s insurance that insures for replacement cost
·         Good security around your home/apartment. For example, make sure you NEVER leave your garage door open overnight
·         Work with the police: file a police report immediately (you’ll have to do this anyway for your insurance claim)
·         Gather the evidence you have on paper, go to the police station to talk to a person, and give them this information
·         Also be clear about the value with the police. If you just say “a bike’, they may assume a $150 value, but if it is high end make sure they know that
·         If you respond to a Craig’s List ad, make it simple and attractive to the thief – after coordinating with the police, just offer to buy it and don’t ask any questions. Recruiting some friends to respond as well will improve the chances of a response.

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Help find Julian’s bike!

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Seattle, Stolen 2 Comments

Julian’s bike is missing. It’s got quite the assortment of parts which should make it fairly easy to spot. There will be a reward.  Though this may not be the best image to positively identify a bicycle, it’s way better than this sketch.

Here are the details:

  • GT aluminum frame /carbon fork. the frame is blue in the middle and the headtube and stays are yellow and there are black bands separating the colors on the seat tube and downtube.
  • carbon monkeylight riser bars. you cant see the carbon wrap its that mat black finish
  • the carbon fork also has the same finish and is bladed. says wolf on it 25.4
  • deore levers and shifters, black.
  • black 120mm stem. black seatpost
  • brooks swift black
  • black rolf front wheel low spoke count.
  • black shimano 105 rear hub. black spokes radial non drive
  • gray front tire/ black with yellow stripes rear tire
  • silver shimano r700 cranks.
  •  shimano black 105 rear derailleur silver front derailleur
  • dura ace front road caliper shimano 105 single pivot rear caliper. both silver.
  • time clipless pedals

If you see it and is sure that it’s the bike you can buddy lock it and call the police.  There is a link to his Craigslist posting HERE  You can also contact him via Facebook HERE

Best of luck Julian.

Death to bike thieves.

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Bike Thievery and Madonna…

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Seattle, Stolen 5 Comments


A pack of bike thieves attacked a man after he caught them stealing his ride in Lake City last week.

At about 4:30pm on January 17th, the man saw three young men across the street, making off with his bicycle, which he’d left locked up on the street at NE 30th and 125th NE.

The man yelled at the three young bike thieves, who then approached the victim.

The man wrestled his bike away from the three suspects, who walked off.

A few moments later, the three suspects came back, exchanged words with the man, and attacked him.

One of the suspects punched the victim in the face, breaking his nose, and leaving him swelling on his face, and a bloody ear.

A bystander broke up the fight and chased the suspects down the street.

The victim rode his bike home, and had has mother drive him to a shopping complex, where he contacted police.

Police didn’t make any arrests, but a report indicates they were going to try to check footage from a security camera near the scene to identify the suspects.

Thanks to Stickney for passing that along.

True Story:

I was in Queen Anne one night last year with two female friends for the premiere of Man Zou.  The film was great, we went to a little restaurant around the corner for a reception, had some food and began walking back to our car.  From across the street I saw a man huddled over a bicycle, presumably unlocking it.  It was taking longer than it should so I walked over, suspicion aroused.  That’s when I noticed he had a small pair of diagonal cutters trying to cut through a cable lock (which is quite easy to do, for those of you that think your bike is safe with one…)

“What are you doing?”

“It’s my bike.”

At this point I realize it’s a crappy bike.  The man is older, doesn’t speak english very well, and it looks like his clothes had seen better days.  Now I ask myself if it is his bike.  Am I being an asshole?- maybe he lost the key…. WAIT!  It’s a combo lock!  Fucker.

“That’s not your bike!”

“It’s my bike!”

“Why are you cutting the lock then?  Just open it.  You are stealing a bike and I’m not going to let you do that.”

“It’s my bike!  No combination- fuck you!  It’s my bike!”

I observe that he’s clearly drunk, and consider that he could possibly become violent.  He has diagonal cutters, that would work very well as a blunt object with which to dig out an eye.  I also take into consideration that I have my girlfriend and her friend with me. Though I’m quite confident that they could hold it down if things got ugly, it would have been me that put them in that situation by confronting the guy.  I’m now reconsidering my effort to thwart what I view as one of the lowest criminals around- bike theives.

“NO!  Walk away.  Right now.  We are calling the police.  You are stealing a bike- get out of here right now.”

He looks up at me- I stand a few inches taller, am sober- and I think he realizes that he may have picked the wrong time to steal a bike.  He teeters for a minute, and begins to walk off, partially cut cable lock keeping a crappy bike locked to a rack, and his diagonal cutters in hand.

“Fuck you.  You are— Republican!  You are George Bush lover! Fuck you!”

Really?  Did he just call me a Bush loving republican?  Really!?!  I didn’t know what to say.  I fought back the effort to laugh, or maybe to explain to him that I was not, in fact, a republican.  George Bush was far from who I supported in the last presidential election… but I bit my tongue- knowing that I should keep focused.  I didn’t want to get into a political discussion with a bike thief.

After he walked off, we shouted up to the apartment compound that the bike owner presumably inside of, saying that there was somebody stealing bikes.  No reply, no word on whether they came and retrieved it.

He stumbled off into the night- to either find another poorly defended victim, or to return to the scene of the crime and finish this one off after we left.  As we walked by Dick’s Burgers I saw two cops standing in front of the restaurant.  I gave a quick replay, describing the man, and saying that it was highly likely that he would return to get the bike after we left.  They then told me that I should NEVER confront a perpetrator, and I should just call the police.  But then they said that they would not be leaving Dick’s Burgers- as that was their post.  Ummmm.  OK.  They didn’t even call it in.

What does all this mean?

What happens when you see someone stealing your or someone else’s bike?  What do you do?  Confronting someone that is committing a crime, or doing something that is fucked up is always a gamble- you never know what is going to happen.  The perp could be carrying a weapon, or in the case in Lake City- his friends.  We’ve seen videos or heard stories of bike thieves being thwarted- maybe even getting their asses kicked.  The fact is, that you are really putting yourself at risk by confronting a bike thief.  I wouldn’t suggest it.  In fact, I would advise AGAINST it.

  1. The best thing that you can do is to lock your bike well- so yours isn’t stolen.  Good locks cost money, but nice bikes cost much more.  Even more important than a good lock is locking your bike properly.
  2. If you see something happening, call the police immediately.  Sure, they might not do anything, but it’s a step that should be taken in the event that the perp is caught.
  3. Alert others that there is bad shit going down.  These are possible witnesses.
  4. Make mental notes about the perp.  Most bike thieves are repeat offenders, and being able to identify them can help in building a case.

All that being said- to the bike thieves out there- if I catch you trying to steal even a light off my bike, I WILL HURT YOU.  I will smack you across the face in front of your friend like the punk you are and take my shit back.  Real talk.

On a lighter note- A little Madonna action from Travis:

Happy Tuesday.

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