Stolen bike now on ebay

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  • Stolen bike now on ebay
  • Gareth_Uglow

    My friends bike was nicked the other day, and is now on ebay. He says

    “We can’t identify the bike for sure from the desciption and photo. Some things have been changed (e.g. tyres, seats…) or added (e.g. race club branding on frame) but on the other hand some things that had been changed by my friend are also on the eBay bike (e.g. bottle holder, pedals) or cannot be checked based on the description/photo (e.g. handlebar wrapping tape, handlebar lids)
    Overall, they are all things that can easily be added/changed/removed so it is not possible to conclude for sure – and the bike doesn’t have any important scratches/problems/unique things.
    My friend lost the receipt but we will try to retrieve it from XXXXXXX tomorrow (he bought it there in May05) – do you know if there is a chance they may retrieve it and the serial number?

    Then my plan was to call the police to see what can be done. If we don’t have a serial number then it’s all more complicated but there are a few things which we may be able to recognise.

    eBay recommended procedure is that we call the police and that the police calls eBay law enforcement people to decide on what to do.

    Do you have any advice on anything (unique things that we could look for on the bike, ways to retrieve the serial number, whether we should go via eBay, police or straight to the guy…)?”

    Anyone had experience of this? What’s the best thing to do to maximize chances of getting the bike back? There were actually two bikes nicked in the robbery, so they want both back really, not just the one on ebay!





    do it legimately they may have bought the bike cheaply without knowing it was stolen


    Police have a duty to act, if the crime has been reported. If there is reasonable suspicion, then they are legally obliged to do so. Sounds like there is. the shop should have records (for their own tax/insurance/audit purposes if nothing else), which will include details of the frame number etc. Your friend will have to prove legal owneship. If the seller cannot do the same (which it seems they can’t, if it’s nicked), then they will be arrested.

    One way of doing it, is too ‘win’ the auction, then turn up at the alloted time/place, with plod. If the seller gives an address for sending cheque to, then you’ll be able to find them, and if they use PayPal etc, they can be traced.

    Wouldn’t advise going round there, as that could lead to nastiness. IME, the kind of scum that steal bikes aren’t strangers to violence. Plus, as stated above, they may not have stolen the bikes themselves.

    Inform the Police asap.


    Same thing happened to me i got my orange 5 back after seeing it for sale on ebay. I had the receipt but no frame number. In the end i contacted orange and by working out when i purchased the frame from the bike shop who had ordered it from Orange they managed to get the frame number for me. so it may be worth contacting the manufacturer. and see if you can get the frame number that way.

    Premier Icon Jon Taylor

    From previous incidences, make sure that a 3rd party does not buy the bike and disappear with it. That might mean winning the auction at whatever price and arranging a sting afterwards.

    Is the ebay bike in the same area?

    don’t think you’ll get far without a serial number though.

    Good luck!


    The guy who had mine was totally innocent. Went round his house with the plod he had a full receipt for the bike when he bought it earlier in the year on ebay. Apparently the guy he bought it off bought it from someone else who had loads of bikes for sale!! The police never traced it back to see who orginally stole it but i guess they dont really have the time.

    Premier Icon Kona TC

    The police never traced it back to see who orginally stole it but i guess they dont really have the time.

    too busy filling in forms and meeting targets

    That aside suggest you notify the police and ebay that you believe the bike is stolen

    best of luck


    I’ve got some Marzocchi Z.1’s that you could borrow if you fancy popping around to see it?


    I was lucky but i felt sorry for the guy who bought mine on ebay. He was the one who was out of pocket. I only lost out on 6 months of riding the Orange.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer

    If it is stolen but the guy selling was not the thief, then he is still guilty of handling stolen goods. Similarly if the auction winner buys it “in good faith” then he also is guilty of handling stolen goods.
    If the insurance has coughed up then it’s up to them and the police and ebay.


    Thanks for the replies guys, it seems he’s relying on the shop having the serial number! The bike is located about 70 miles from his house, so not unfeasible. My first reaction of ‘find some large friends and pay a visit’ obviously isn’t so wise, especially as he can’t be sure it’s his bike on the auction. It was only stolen a week ago, so looks v suspicious.

    God I hate thieves. The Z1’s would be very satisfying, but tbh burglars are probably harder than me, even armed with Z1s!

    Premier Icon akira

    Think bike shop is unlikely to have a record of the serial number, manufacturer may be able to help out though.


    ”Think bike shop is unlikely to have a record of the serial number, manufacturer may be able to help out though.”

    You beat me to it, when my bike was stolen a year and half after I purchased it, the bike shop whom I purchased it from had no record of the transaction let alone helped out. When I saw my bike on ebay, I didn’t really have a leg to stand on. bummer but all is not lost if you have good cover.

    So I very much doubt that after 3years of having the bike that they will have it still on record as they probably have updated their computer systems or the like.

    Good luck with the recovery of both bikes though 🙂

    Bid on it, win it, go and collect it with some big handy mates…
    probably not the best suggestion you will get tonight, or the most legal.

    If you are convinced it’s your friends bike can’t you ask if you can look at the bike before the auction ends?


    what if you bid for, pay over the odds then go collect it to find out its not your bike!?? Imagine shelling out all that dough


    The police recovered a stolen bike (frame only) of mine listed on ebay. My bike had been completely stripped, stickers removed, and new ones added. I was able to prove it was mine from pictures I had of unique scratches (chain suck) on the frame. The whole process took about 6 months from the time I notified them to the time I got it back. It took the police 3 weeks to get an address from ebay. Evidently the officer in charge of internet fraud is very busy. Best advice is to carefully examine any pics your mate has of the bike for any distinguishing marks that you can match to the auction.

    Premier Icon brant

    manufacturer may be able to help out though

    If you, or the shop don’t have the serial, it’s very unlikely that the manufacturer will be able to help with a specific bike, some years old.

    I know, as I get asked this weekly.


    Ive been through this a number of times, you’ll have no luck tracing a serial if its a large company that mass produce.

    Premier Icon njee20

    ‘Think bike shop is unlikely to have a record of the serial number, manufacturer may be able to help out though’

    We keep details of all transactions still, if you bought your bike from us after since 1997 we can tell you when, how much and exactly what, certainly worth a try!

    The manufacturer are far less likely to be able to help, at best they’ll know the frame numbers sent to the dealer, but how do they attribute a bike to you?


    Just think to yourself – “what would jonnyvegas off here do?”


    I’m off to write my serial #’s down!!!!! 🙄


    I hope this guy has gone to the police. As someone else says, danger if if someone else comes along and pays a fair price for it off eBay. The police are well used to this, so get talking to them, DO NOT go round and nick it back yourselves, you have a good chance of ending up in the cells yourselves. So to summarise – GO TO THE POLICE. Oh, the ones to go to are the ones where it was originally stolen


    notfiy the police, but don’t expect them to recover the stolen goods from the e-bay selling….

    e-bay and chester police force were **** useless when i reported my stolen bike – i’d get all your photo, receipt and serial number information, win the auction, organise a home pick up and take the police with you


    id tell him i wanna pay cash,an go round an sort it out.


    ………so would I, although I know it is wrong, if he didn’t have a damn good excuse for how he got it I would want to let him know that I was very ‘disapointed’ in him. Would probably take some friends too.


    A couple of burly mates in a car, go and visit the guy “to see it before buying”. If it’s yours get it back, if it isn’t, don’t.
    BTW You could ask him what bottob bracket is fitted or the diameter of the seatpost. Or what threadlock was used on a bolt. Will a thief know?


    Hey Gareth,
    My Girlfriends bike was stolen and I then spotted it on Ebay the next day with a few features changed. I too was not definite about it being the exact one, but it was. So my advice would be that if you really have a strong feeling it is then it is very likely that it is. I would definitely go straight to the police. take screen shots of the entire advert including all the Pictures enlarged. Also write a detailed description of the bike. This needs to be meticulous. include all the parts with attention to parts that are non standard that you have added as upgrades etc also describe any details/feature that were unique to the bike eg scratches, dents, stickers or whatever. List parts that you believe have been changed or moved around by the seller. All of this info will be put in the “statement” you make to the Police, the more detail the better in terms of description. Where was it stolen? If it was stolen from an urban area you may be able to find that a cctv camera could have seen the crime, especially around stations etc. Tell the police this and they may get footage. If from a garage or house there may be some forensic evidence if the crime scene has not been too disturbed.
    The Police have a lot of this type of crime to wade through so the more work you can do and present them with the better. But remember you need to act reasonably quickly.
    In the case of my girlfriends bike the only discerning features were that the tyres were the same ones I had changed it to. The fork lock out had been moved to the left side of the handle bars and the timing was right.
    If you can get the serial number all the better, but as someone above said it is still worth going ahead with a report.
    In our case the Police seized the bike from the buyer after it had been sold in order that they could add a charge of selling stolen goods. The thief in this case was part of a bike stealing ring and was spotted in other towns as well as London on cctv and although the footage was not 100% clear it was good enough for identification purposes with other footage they had.
    So there you are you may get the bike back and importantly you help to nail one of these assholes.
    Good luck

    Premier Icon perks

    well, saw my wife’s stolen bike on gumtree – it was so obvious it was stolen it was almost amusing – especially given the changes we’d made to the standard spec and the fact that the guy didn’t even know wsd meant “for women!”…

    however…upon contacting the police, they said they’d meet with the chap but then called up at the last minute saying they were too busy – so we had to scrap the whole sting – with no comeback…

    really upset about it…so what’s all this about being “legally required to investigate” – not so in our experience.


    but then called up at the last minute saying they were too busy

    Makes my blood boil…I know some old bill are STW members but are any brave enough to comment on this?

    Seems I’m not the only “victim of crime” to be told this.


    just go round yourself, then get a mate to call the filth and tell them he’s seen someone with a gun riding a bike.. they’ll turn up….

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