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  1. #1
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    Go copy your bike's serial number... RIGHT NOW

    REALLY!

    COME ON PEOPLE!

    Bikes are stolen seems like every single day. Here in Humboldt County, CA I see people posting stolen bikes every single week on Craigslist!

    I have to wonder what the hell some people think is going to happen posting their message about their stolen bike if they....

    DON'T have a serial number
    DON'T have a picture... a GOOD picture... not some crappy out-of-focus cellphone pic.
    DON'T have a complete description of the components
    DON'T have a description of discernible damage, custom changes, or other identifying marks.

    Bikes are stolen off front porches, from the side of your house, your backyard, YOUR LOCKED GARAGE!

    Seriously... get a clue and do something to help you (and help us if you even think about posting info on your stolen bike) recover the bike.

    As soon as you notice the bike is gone...
    1. Call the police
    2. Call every pawn shop in your area
    3. Call every bike shop in your area
    4. Start looking at Craigslist for your town/area, and the neighboring town/area CL pages.

    Posting something online to the effect... "Hey, someone stole my bike. It's a red stumpjumper. Please keep an eye out for it." is just too pathetic to believe.
    What do you really think is going to happen?
    How do you think anyone can help you?

    Flip your bike over RIGHT NOW!
    Copy the serial number stamped in the bottom bracket (or both numbers if you have two), or wherever the serial number is on your bike.
    Put it in your 'notes' on your cellphone so it's with you even if your bike is stolen while you are out with it.
    Write down a description, don't forget size, bike shop decals (although I've known a bike thief scratch that off before selling a brand new bike to a pawn shop)... anything you can to help identify the bike.

    When you call the police here's what's likely to happen... but may vary depending on where you live and how the LEO's handle things in your area...

    When an officer is available for a bike theft investigation, they'll come rolling up.
    They'll ask you questions about the bike.
    If you have the SN, color, and other readily identifiable/verifiable information, give that to them.
    They will then head off back to what they were doing before the call, head off to another call, or maybe go back to the station.
    Once at the station for the day, they will do reports. This is when your bike will likely, FINALLY, enter the system.

    The importance of your dealing with Law Enforcement is this.... if the bike goes to a pawn shop, they will (providing they're straight up honest) check the bike's serial number with the local authorities, verifying whether it's in the system as stolen or not.
    If the officer hasn't done your report, the bike isn't in the system, any pawnshop checking a potential buy of a bike will not learn it's stolen.
    They pay the crook, they get the bike, you call later on (hopefully) and find out that "yes" they do have a bike matching your description.
    Of course... they don't want to just hand the bike over to you and lose their money.
    Who winds up eating the loss of money in this situation is governed by local laws.

    Anyway.... get out to your bike now and take 5 or so minutes to gather enough info that if your bike is stolen, you can come here, Craigslist, the pawnshops, the local LEO, and provide some SOLID information to help out your quest to regain ownership of your precious bike!

    It's just so damn simple... hell... even a caveman can do it!
    There... I said it!

  2. #2
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    Great advice. Thank you.
    My Bike: '15 Trek FX 7.2
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  3. #3
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    Get it insured! I wrote a thread all about it as I'm an insurance agent and I highly suggest it. Good points for sure OP.
    - 2014 Giant Trance 27.5 1
    - 2016 Transition Patrol Carbon (Ordered)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197 View Post
    Great advice. Thank you.
    At least you had a decent picture of the bike... I gotta hand you that!

    I peruse the CL bicycle listings for my area and the surrounding areas 'just in case' I find a bike that all-of-a-sudden I REALLY REALLY NEED!

    I always check out the "bike stolen" posts also.
    I'd want the same from other bikers if mine were stolen.

  5. #5
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    A suggestion-to help in identifying your bike if it's ever stolen and possibly recovered by law enforcement, hide a copy of a photo ID inside the seatpost. Be sure to black out any personal info like SSN that you wouldn't want in the wrong hands, but being able to pull the seatpost and then produce evidence that it IS your bike, and not just one of thousands of red rockhoppers (or whatever make/model) will make recovering your property easier.

  6. #6
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    Try to be smarter than a bike thief. Shouldn't be too hard as they dumber than a box of rocks.

  7. #7
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    I'm a firm believer of "out of sight out of mind".

    Definitely some good advice OP and the hidden i.d in seatpost.
    You covered pretty much all aspects of a quicker recovery if it is stolen. But let's not forget deterrents to avoid an easy theft. Like no matter where it is to lock it up. Most thefts happen at home. My bikes are always locked up with 2 locks at home. And another good idea for home storage is to keep it out of sight. I cover mine with a sheet, out of sight out of mind. There is no temptation if it is not seen.

    Also another big thing people don't think about is driving around with your bike
    A theif sees a nice bike strapped to a vehicle and follows you home. Now he knows where a nice bike resides. He then chooses his opportunity to come back and lift it. So watch behind you as you get close to home for someone following you. And also don't do maintenance in the front yard or with the garage door open as this another easy way for a crook to take note of a nice bikes location. When you do arrive home get the bike inside and out of sight as soon as possible. Yeah this sounds slightly paranoid but better safe than sorry. Just take common sense precautions and go that extra step to keep from becoming a statistic.
    Last edited by DIRTJUNKIE; 11-15-2012 at 11:04 PM.
    Front Range, Colorado.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Chachi View Post
    Get it insured! I wrote a thread all about it as I'm an insurance agent and I highly suggest it. Good points for sure OP.
    How do I insure it if I do not qualify for homeowners or renters insurance? I have been trying to figure this out but have not come up with anything that works.

    Great advice in OP.

  9. #9
    Plays with tools
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    None of my bikes have serial numbers

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Chachi View Post
    Get it insured! I wrote a thread all about it as I'm an insurance agent and I highly suggest it. Good points for sure OP.
    See above and do now..

  11. #11
    Good, green, Oregon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by likeaboss View Post
    How do I insure it if I do not qualify for homeowners or renters insurance? I have been trying to figure this out but have not come up with anything that works.

    Great advice in OP.
    Feel free to PM me if you want, but I am curious as to why you wouldn't qualify for some form of renters or homeowners insurance. For reference, here is the thread that I wrote about the subject. Please ignore the trash talk in the thread as there was a troll afoot. But again, feel free to PM me with questions, as I am happy to help.

    Insure your bike! It’s inexpensive and worth doing!
    - 2014 Giant Trance 27.5 1
    - 2016 Transition Patrol Carbon (Ordered)

  12. #12
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    more advice...

    you can photograph the area where ever the manufacturer puts it...usually at the bottom of the bottom bracket shell. (see photo)

    OR take the receipt from the shop with the bike's serial number in it, put it in an old water bottle then put that in the fridge...reason being, that should your house burn down, things in refrigerators usually survive. that was the logic i was given...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Go copy your bike's serial number... RIGHT NOW-img_20120114_124746.jpg  


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    None of my bikes have serial numbers
    same here. all custom one-offs...

    i've got lots of pics though...


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shekky View Post
    ...should your house burn down, things in refrigerators usually survive. that was the logic i was given...
    i've got a lot bigger issues to deal with than some bikes if my house burns down...


  15. #15
    Good, green, Oregon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    i've got a lot bigger issues to deal with than some bikes if my house burns down...
    Your stash of porn? Drug paraphernalia? Your box of sex toys?

    Sorry, couldn't pass it up! I'm just f-ing with you bud! But you know, you might be able to insure that stuff too, but it may be an awkward moment between you and your insurance agent. Just saying…..

    - 2014 Giant Trance 27.5 1
    - 2016 Transition Patrol Carbon (Ordered)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Chachi View Post
    Your stash of porn? Drug paraphernalia? Your box of sex toys?

    Sorry, couldn't pass it up! I'm just f-ing with you bud! But you know, you might be able to insure that stuff too, but it may be an awkward moment between you and your insurance agent. Just saying…..

    Only if they ask for samples to prove authenticity.
    The ridiculousness of cycling clothes increase exponentially in relation to the distance from your bicycle.

  17. #17
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    i'll knock them out a few samples in no time...


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    i'll knock them out a few samples in no time...
    Too much information to process, circuit board overload.
    Front Range, Colorado.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    None of my bikes have serial numbers

    I grind them off after I steal a bike too


    oops Ive said too much
    always mad and usually drunk......

  20. #20
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    Good advise here. I took cell phone pics of the serial # a while ago along with a few good photos of the bike. Big believer of getting the bike in the garage and getting the door down. Lots of things in the garage that I want to keep as my possessions!!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjkm View Post
    Good advise here. I took cell phone pics of the serial # a while ago along with a few good photos of the bike. Big believer of getting the bike in the garage and getting the door down. Lots of things in the garage that I want to keep as my possessions!!
    I know I am so anal about the garage door being down. I used to have a neighbor who would leave his garage door open at night. I would come home at 9:00 or 10:00pm and his garage would be wide open. The first couple times I went over and told him it was open. He acted surprised and thanked me. I let him know about three different times and finally stopped telling him. I didn't want to come across as a pain in the ass neighbor. It continued and every time it killed me not to walk over and let him know.
    Front Range, Colorado.

  22. #22
    ****** to the dirt
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    None of my bikes have serial numbers
    engrave your name on it some where.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    None of my bikes have serial numbers
    mark it with your DNA... can't see it, can't copy it

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by likeaboss View Post
    How do I insure it if I do not qualify for homeowners or renters insurance? I have been trying to figure this out but have not come up with anything that works.

    Great advice in OP.
    Renter's insurance?

    And great advice here...I like the pic in the seatpost.

  25. #25
    No Stranger to danger....
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    Good blog OP, Couldnt agree more, the first thing i do when i get a new bike is copy the serial number down, if you dont have that your stuffed.....
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  26. #26
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    What about when the thief grinds off the serial number?
    My Bike: '15 Trek FX 7.2
    My Blog: http://http://kona0197.wordpress.com/

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197 View Post
    What about when the thief grinds off the serial number?
    Then it's not easy to sell it to any honest pawnshop or individual... C'mon, who with enough common sense on earth would buy a nice bike for good price from a guy who don't even have proof of possession of said bike and with the SN grinder down ??
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  28. #28
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    People buy bikes from other people all the time without checking for a SN or checking the SN in case the bike is stolen.
    My Bike: '15 Trek FX 7.2
    My Blog: http://http://kona0197.wordpress.com/

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197 View Post
    People buy bikes from other people all the time without checking for a SN or checking the SN in case the bike is stolen.
    Well usually when I buy a bike for more than $100, I take time to check those details... Buying an old beater for $20 might not require a SN verification, but since I take note of all my bikes, it's normal that I'll get a glance at the SN anyway and seeing it to be grinded off is just a dead giveaway...

    Don't always play the innocent
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  30. #30
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    Engrave your drivers license number onto the bb shell and inside of the dropouts. Any LEO can find you with this number.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by LWright View Post
    Engrave your drivers license number onto the bb shell and inside of the dropouts. Any LEO can find you with this number.
    Great idea but the crook just grinds it off along with the SN. Maybe a rolled up preace of paper with that number stashed inside the seat tube. But that's only going to prove it's yours upon then finding it. The problem here is any crook that has half a brain is going to eliminate any obvious ways of identifying the bike. Anything such as #s gets ground off.
    Front Range, Colorado.

  32. #32
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    I was told that many urban thief are kept off bikes that are covered with stickers and decals, since it's so much work to take them off they'll just go look for another bike to steal, of course we're talking commuter/urban rides, not your $$$$ MTB or roadbiek.

    Make sense to me that if I had to spend a few hours trying to get all the stickers off to make $60 on a bike, I'd look for an easier one to resale.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  33. #33
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    Humboldt Co? Isn't that Marijuana central? Hmm, I guess there are side effects from weed after all. Not that you'll hear this in the media. WAKE UP PEOPLE!
    2007 Cdale Caffeine 29er Lefty.
    "Your not going to shove you're proper grammer down are throats!!"

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsmac View Post
    mark it with your DNA... can't see it, can't copy it
    I know people get excited about their bikes but wow.....that's a bit much....I could never do that on/to my bike. :-)

  35. #35
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    Solid advice - had my 2010 Giant Trance X3 stolen from the back of my truck in Clovis (Fresno) this weekend at the State CIF cross country race. Bastards cut through my cable lock within 30 minutes of leaving the bike. Called the cops and filed a report - also had pictures but did not have the serial number - STUPID!!!!

  36. #36
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    Need help with this year/model BMX Redline Racing Bike...have pics and serial #

    Hello,

    Please help be find the year and model, so I can make sure to get the right replacement parts.

    I bought this little used BMX racing bike with a Redline Frame, GT Wheels and a one piece crank set.

    I can't figure out what year and model the frame is.

    The serial # HN0125291 stamped in the bottom of the Bottom Bracket. The bike as been spray painted white and has non redline parts as well.

    Thank you so much,

    Nan Crippen
    Long Beach, CA
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Go copy your bike's serial number... RIGHT NOW-bmx-bikes-004.jpg  

    Go copy your bike's serial number... RIGHT NOW-bmx-bikes-005.jpg  

    Go copy your bike's serial number... RIGHT NOW-bmx-bikes-006.jpg  

    Go copy your bike's serial number... RIGHT NOW-bmx-bikes-013.jpg  

    Go copy your bike's serial number... RIGHT NOW-bmx-bikes-012.jpg  


  37. #37
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    The seatpost is a good place to hide some info, but it could likely get wet.
    I opt to write the info on a piece of paper, roll it up, put it in a small Ziplock baggie, and place it in the handlebar.
    What I write on the paper:
    Bike make/model/SN/color/frame size/any distinguishing marks
    Date and place purchased/their address/phone number/salesman name, even
    My name and phone number if it's recovered.
    Never had a bike stolen, and hope I never do.
    I also make a few copies of the sales receipt. What usually happens over time is the ink fades, so copies really come in handy.

  38. #38
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    i did it, first time to do before ride my bike..........

  39. #39
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    I've been a cop since 2007, and see bikes stolen all the time. Specifically, I see all sorts of stuff stolen all the time.

    You need to have S/N's on file.

    Countless suburban kids get new bikes Christmas morning. Countless ghetto kids get new bikes the morning after Christmas.

    Possession IS 9/10th's the law. If the owner is lucky enough to see the kid who stole his bike riding across the tracks, there is nothing I can do unless the owner can PROVE the bike is his. Knowing the serial number is instant validation. Plus when you make your report, the police will enter the S/N into NCIC and if in the future an officer sees a suspicious person and runs the bike, if it's entered into the , it'll be flagged and you'll get it back. Maybe it'll be in a day, maybe in 10 years. Maybe it'll be trashed, maybe it'll have titanium hardware and a CF wheel set. You get it in the condition the police recover it.

    I recently recovered a simple flatbed trailer, it had been modified into an industrial theft trailer. The trailer had been outfitted to steal large industrial components so the metal could be scrapped for fast cash. The owner got her s trailer back, fairly beat up, with a hoist, ratchet come-along and an oxy/aceteleyne rig mounted. The thief convinced the court he didn't know the trailer was stolen, so the theft case was dismissed. Unfortunately, the thief couldn't prove the welding equipment and gear on the trailer was his (not knowing the S/N goes both ways) and the original owner inherited all the thief's burglary tools. The trailer owner told me the equipment wasn't his, but it's not like I'm going to unbolt a hoist and oxy/acetelyne rig from a trailer, stuff it in the trunk of my patrol car, and take it to the impound. I'm not wasting taxpayer money to roll a tow truck for a hoist and a welder, so I told the trailer owner to hold onto it, and if he doesn't hear anything within a reasonable time, to consider the equipment his.

    I like that story because it's a rare instance where some justice was served.


    At any rate, I record the S/M's of all my hardware... My guns, computer, cell phone, tablet, digicam, GPS, etc. I keep the S/Ns on an Excel file on my PC, which I drag and drop onto my smart phone... Because if you don't have a redundant copy and the burglar swipes your PC you'll be hosed.

    BTW, don't expect the possessor of your stolen property to be convicted. Short of a confession, it's almost impossible to prove the suspect KNOWINGLY possessed stolen property. At least with the S/N you may get it back.


    If it's got a S/N, write it down.

  40. #40
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    Also, when you stop at Subway for lunch after your ride, park your vehicle where it's in front of a window. Then sit where your bike is in your field of view.

    Go someplace else if you see a suspicious person lurking, or if you wanna be stubborn at least make eye contact. Trust your instinct. Situational awareness, yadda yadda.

  41. #41
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    Great words of wisdom...

  42. #42
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    Great advice!
    2009 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Elite

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