Stolen bike recovered via Craigslist!

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  • Stolen bike recovered via Craigslist!
  • Had an eventful night last night. My Pitch was stolen three months ago from a downstairs car park. After all the usual retrospective face-palming about not having it insured and not having a note of the serial number, I quickly resigned myself to never seeing it again.

    Then, by pure chance on Craigslist on Friday, I found it again! The guy was selling it with Marzocchi Junior Ts instead of the original Pikes (although he offered to include the Pikes in the sale) and had swapped a couple of sundry components about, but it was definitely my bike.

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    By usual forum rules, his spelling, grammar and punctuation should have been enough to condemn him! He ambitiously claims that the cranks are XTR (confused perhaps by the sparkly gold Saint BB) and made a few other mistakes that I pointed out to the police, as well as me still having the original rear wheel which matched the front wheel.

    Despite lots of (I thought) ‘proof’, the police wouldn’t budge without a serial number, but offered some advice on how to reclaim the bike myself (nice bit of policial inconsistency there: ‘We don’t believe the bike is yours, however are happy to advise you on how to steal it back’).

    So, I contacted the seller and arranged to meet up. Initially he suggested his place but we agreed somewhere more public. I had some mates come along, but got a bit carried away planning the ‘sting’. One mate would stand down the street from our meeting spot, one mate up the street, two in the Starbucks right beside us. I told them to approach me and the seller once they saw me taking some sheets of paper out of my bag.

    The sheets of paper were all the photos, component lists etc that I had sent the police. I handed them to the guy and stated my case. He was pretty shocked, just claiming again and again that he had paid for the bike, but eventually admitting he had paid for it on Craigslist. I was inclined to believe him but still insisted the bike was mine. By this point one of my mates was already wheeling the bike away while the rest were all standing behind me grinning and sipping their starbucks 😀 ).

    He was also good enough to then unstrap the spare Pikes from his rucsac and give me those. This is what makes us think he was actually the thief, if he had lost out on the $600 he had apparently paid in good faith on Craigslist, I doubt he would have been so eager to compound his loss. I think the threats of the police visiting his house were enough to scare him.

    I noticed though that the rear seat stays didn’t have the scratches on them that I expected, seems he had to cut through them to steal the bike then source matching, second hand replacements. Shows how organised these guys are.

    So pretty chuffed with our nights work, still need to fork out to get the rear brake fixed, get the rear seat stay bearings fixed (lots of play, I suspect some spacers weren’t put back) and replace the worn through handlebar grips. All that plus the $100 bar tab to thank my mates still seems worth it to have my bike back! 8)


    Heh heh good work that man.


    Top work. You mentioned those washers on the ground after the bike was nicked, might need to replace them?


    Dear god, what are those forks?!

    Great result! By happy coincidence, I also recovered my own stolen bike from Craiglist in Vancouver only 3 months ago. My Heckler was taken from my basement one night: reported to police, statements taken and thought I would never see it again…. until 24hrs later when it appeared on Craiglist! I sat staring at the screen for a good 5 minutes checking it was my bike, even though there was no doubt. It was a custom build and the only thing different on the ad was that the chainstay protector was missing.

    In my case, the police officer who took my original statement was brilliant. I set up a fake email account to arrange to meet and used the officer’s cell phone number. Once the seller replied, the police office made all the arrangements and had a couple of undercover cops ready to take him down in the local liquor store carpark. I also didn’t have the serial number but had lots of photos and identifiying items for him to check the bike. Police dropped the bike off at my front door an hour after arresting the seller, just over 48hrs since it was stolen. The seller had even cleaned it for me. :o)

    On the bad side, the bike is long overdue for replacement and I would have been much better off with an insurance replacement. So +1 good karma for catching a bike thief, but I’ve still got a long list of repairs to pay for. C’est la vie.


    Sounds like they might have just removed the rear triangle to steal the bike no?

    great work.

    Burts, surprised to here the VPD were willing to cooperate without a serial number, I thought my ‘evidence’ was good enough but they just weren’t prepared to do anything without a serial number. Glad to hear it worked out though.

    Neil, I figured they had just unbolted the seatstays, even though they had left some bolt cutters on the scene. However, the seatstays on the bike now are obviously different, different finish and different scratches.


    I suppose I was lucky that I had an officer who was willing to show some common sense & flexibility. I emailed him a complete parts specification and several photos, but when it came to returning the bike I still had to describe some unique features in fine detail to convince him. To be honest, I was glad he was double-checking and I couldn’t have faulted him if he held out for a serial number.

    I know what you mean, I moan about them not helping but I guess its best they’re thorough and not just ‘recovering’ any bike which looks similar!

    Just about to strip it down and start making it ‘mine’ again. Who’s good for bleeding brakes in Vancouver? (I’ll be noising up the NSMB boards on much the same topic…)


    Good work.

    Can you do anything now like post the Guy’s photo, details etc online?

    No… 😳

    I’m afraid I was just looking out for me and my bike at the time, cursing myself as I could probably have conned the guy out of his home address at least to give the police, in the end just got a phone number and email.

    Mates were considering videoing it but didn’t want to spook the guy by leaning out the Starbucks window and filming proceedings!


    Well done, bet you’re well chuffed.

    Was he too feeble to legitimately punch in the face?

    Do you now possess the second pair of *stolen* forks?

    Ahem, yes, I do now possess the second pair of forks. I sort of feel I’m entitled to them as I’m otherwise out of pocket because of the various other things that need repaired, but I guess someone, somewhere is wondering where their forks are… 😕

    Re: punching in the face, no, he wasn’t feeble, but I’m the sort of guy who has nightmares about not being able to throw a decent punch, so I’m not going to start practicing on junkie criminals! 8)


    Oh well, maybe you can but a cheaper dud bike purposefully to get stolen, then become the Charles Bronson of the bike theft vigilante world 😀

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    Glad you got your bike back, even if it appears some punter has been fettling it with smack cooking spoons and rocks.

    You noted that serial number yet? 😉

    Boom. Lighter, faster, stronger.

    2nd ride back and I’ve already injured myself 8)

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