How one Tucson Velo reader got his bike back

Several weeks ago I posted a stolen bike report for Greg Yares who organizes the GABA bike swap two times a year. His Richard Sachs road bike was stolen from his house and a beater mountain bike was left in its place.

I heard that he got his bike back and emailed him. Here’s what he said transpired and how he got it back.

I filed a police report, turned in the beat up Schwinn mountain bike left behind by the thief to TPD as evidence, put the photo posts on craigslist and Tucson Velo and whined like a baby to everyone who would listen.

The bike was taken on Sunday night, July 1 and on July 8 , I got a voice mail saying that  it still might still be mine. A Tucson Police officer, James Davis, who is also a cyclist, so he knows bicycles, saw the  craigslist ad with the photo on Tuesday or Wednesday  and remembered stopping a known burglar the night it was stolen, riding my bike.  He didn’t know it was stolen at the time, but he recognized that it was a special bike, that it was 10cm too big for the rider and that this particular guy  on a Brooks saddle didn’t make sense . The officer  took the guy’s info and told him that if the bike was stolen, that he’d better not sell it, or he’d be facing felony charges for trafficking  in stolen goods.

The officer called me on the evening of July 8 and left a voice mail telling me that he saw the craigslist post and  thought that he knew where my bike was, asking me to call him back.  I talked with him on July 9, gave him the police report number and I guess with that, he was able to go get the bike back, although the burglar wasn’t there when he retrieved the bike.

My bike was waiting for me at the TPD evidence yard.  It had been monkeyed with in such a way that I think that the thief is pretty skilled with bikes. He changed the seat post, but kept and properly adjusted the Brooks saddle, changed the pedals to plastic platforms, changed out one of the bottle cages, customized the seat height and set back, lowered the stem, tilted up the bars and canted the brake/shifters in for his comfort.

I’m glad that I called the cops and had the police report number, that I put it on craigslist and Tucson Velo and that I was lucky enough that the Tucson Police Department, and especially officer James Davis, is on the job.

There was a craigslist posting regarding the recovery of my bike, most likely done by someone at TPD, reminding folks to do all of the steps, (1) file a police report,(2) post with a picture on craigslist and (I add) post on Tucson Velo, if they want to have any chance of recovering their stolen bike.

It’s great that Yares got his favorite bike back. Be sure to check out the stolen bike resource page for info about how to prevent your bike from being stolen and what to do if it is.

16 comments
Rladdi
Rladdi

Why aren't bikes registered in Tucson and AZ.  So there is a certain record of all bikes.   I have taken pictures of mine and recorded all the detail of the bike, but not sure that will help in returning it.   Even if all the bike stores registered the bikes they sold, that would be a great step forward.  Also having your name imprinted in a secret spot on the bike is important.

Red Star
Red Star

In a word, cost.  Cost to whatever law enforcement agency has to administer and enforce registration. Consider the cost of data entry, for example. Those costs will be passed on to cyclists and many will simply not comply. In addition, registering a bike will not prevent it from being parted out or being shipped out of city or out of state (if it's a desirable bike), swap meets, yard sales, craigslist, ebay. Many cyclist don't want to start down the slippery slope of bike registration.Increased awareness among cyclists of the many self-help measures would help more at lower cost.No need to etch your name in a secret place as most all bikes have a unique serial number stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket cage. Write that number down and photograph it. Marking components (seatpost, bars, saddle, etc) might be a good idea...a thief using cable cutters and an allen key can steal bars, brake levers, shifters, brifters in twenty seconds.Consider that motor vehicles operated on-street are required to be registered and they are stolen all the time.

pal2002
pal2002

Over the years I've been in Tucson, I've had 2 notebook computers, 1 wallet, 1 bike stolen - all have been reported to the police - all have completely ignored. The computers would have been easily traceable, but the cops don't give a damn. The bike owner has some luck. I have zero faith in TPD and UAPD.

Sidonie03
Sidonie03

From the way the valuable parts were that swapped out, I'd say there's a bike fence operating here and employing the thief's services. Akin to treason, I say.

3wheeler
3wheeler

I'm really glad he got his bike back, but there's no denying this was an unusual situation.  I don't understand how so many bikes get stolen and the police don't do anything to get the thieves.  The value of a good bike puts it's theft into the felony category, like stealing a car.  I think most bikes are stolen by guys who steal them to sell them, and they steal many bikes in the course of a year.  That's big time crime.  Burglury, car theft, bike theft, it seems the police think, "No gun, no problem.  Insurance will cover it."  

zz
zz

Absolutely.....what struck me was what the cop first asked when I reported my car stolen...."Do you want it back?"

zz
zz

 Oh,oh...my bikes look too good for me. .....but he recognized that it was a special bike, that it was 10cm too big for the rider and that this particular guy  on a Brooks saddle didn’t make sense ...... It's fortunate that a bicycle savvy officer was involved here. Will the thief be connected to the robbery and charged? Sachs can be worth up in the thousands. We like happy endings.

AzCutter
AzCutter

still think you should get the address for this known "thieve"  so that we all can pay him a visit seeing how is somewhat skilled in wrenching on a bikes....mine never made it back after being stolen nor did anyone else care. Good on the cop for getting in touch with Mr Yares...

Nate W.
Nate W.

Awesome! Congrats Greg, that's excellent news!

David Metcalf
David Metcalf

I did all that and visited a pawn shop know for picking up stolen bikes. Sure enough my Scattante showed up and the police called to pick it up. It cost me 400 bucks. Legalized fencing I call it.

3wheeler
3wheeler

Yes, pawnshops are where most theives take their stolen loot.  One shop buys the stuff and then sells it or trades it to another shop in another town.  They should all be shut down.  I'm very glad you got your bike back, but you shouldn't have had to pay anything for it.

zz
zz

What!?!...no cop discount? What was their purpose in this other that to 'observe and protect'  the pawn dealers illegal activities?

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

Aw, come on, Zeez. All of that observation and protection is expensive. Those donuts don't come cheap, you know.

Jbdnavy2
Jbdnavy2

fyi i do like donuts. i ate alot of them at the 5 day tour of the gila this year. :)

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

Just goes to show you -- putting the word out far and wide works. And yay, Greg! Looking forward to the next bike swap.