A few months ago a friend of mine recovered a bike here in Vancouver (Norco Faze w/ full XTR, etc.) here in Vancouver in a similar police-assisted sting operation, after almost 6 months of scanning Craigslist ads waiting for it to pop up. The thieves, and their apartment with several other stolen bikes inside, were properly rousted. Many of his components had been swapped over to another stolen bike they had in their posession and vice versa to make them both more difficult to identify, but collectively there was still more than enough to nail them.
They even managed to recover a front wheel of mine, which was on my friend's bike as a loaner at the time it was stolen. Apparently, some very unique bits of information that I was able to provide about the front wheel were a key in the positive identification. Who knew?
When I was a kid (maybe 12) two friends of mine had their bikes stolen. One was a really sweet Trek, can't remember the other but it was a high end bike for a kid to have.
A week after they are stolen we see a group of older teenage kids and the bikes just hanging out at the local carnival, which happens to be in the baseball filed next to the police station. We walk over and get the cops and all walk back to teenagers.
The shitty thing is, the cops took the thieves side because we couldn't prove it on the spot. My friend had the serial number at home and knew details (like scratches and components) about the bike. He even knew the front tube had 2 patches but of course they wouldn't deflate the tire to check. F-ing cops did nothing. Bunch of useless p.o.s.