These are cautionary tales. Bikes are highly transportable and can be quite profitable to steal for that shady character who wants to buy a few cartons of beer, or whatever other substance they are addicted to.
We shall start with my story.
My (now retired) boss gave me this bike. He had stripped it, had it powdercoated, and put it all back together. I foolishly was keeping it in our car port unsecured. One Saturday night I got home at about 3am, noted the bike was there as I made my way to bed. When I next went outside at 7am it was gone. It was never to be seen again. Easy come, easy go, I guess.
Now for some friend’s stories. The first one involves a Schwinn Le Tour Legacy and an old Giant ATX. They were stolen from a car port one night. They were locked to each other, I think, and someone would have had to pick them up and carry them away.
Both bikes had been gone for months when, by chance, I got a lead. I had been googling at work, looking for a road bike that had rack mounts. The Schwinn Le Tour series of bikes have rack mounts, so I started looking for second hand ones. By chance I stumbled across a Schwinn Le Tour Legacy listed for sale at a Cash Converters store.
I sent the link to my friend and he went to check it out. It was his bike. It had quite a few distinguishing features; upgraded brake pads, better tyres, certain scratches, stickers that had been removed. He knew it was his.
I celebrated too soon though. He called the cops, and the cops interviewed the guy who sold the bike to Cashies. The guy admitted to buying the bike from a guy at a market stall for a suspiciously low price (I think it was $200). The problem was that even though the bike had many distinguishing features, my friend didn’t have the serial number of the frame. The cops wouldn’t seize it because they were not convinced that he could prove ownership to a Magistrate.
He couldn’t bare to see his bike languishing in a hock shop, so he bought it back from them for a fairly low price. It was just so crap that he had to buy his own bike back!
The ATX has not been recovered. I figure it is sitting in someone’s shed somewhere. We will keep looking though, it was quite distinctive because of the way the paint had faded to an awesome burnt orange.
The lesson here is always record your serial numbers, and always report your stolen bikes to the Police. Even if the Police seem uninterested, if you find your bike later (even months later) the Police will investigate. Just make sure you have that magic number written down somewhere.