Why you should report your stolen bike to the police….

Or “How Jimbo Got His Groove Back (or at least his bike)”

I’m not sure where to start this tale of “full circle”, but I will try to keep this as concise as possible.

Have you been in the situation where someone has had their bike stolen and you’ve told them to report it to the police, only to hear the response, “Why bother? I’m never gonna see my bike again.”? Well, hopefully, this will convince non-reporters of the value of getting that all important police file number!

About a year ago, Jimbo’s beloved green Devinci bike was stolen from Safeway at Broadway and Commercial (yes, it was locked). He DID report it to the police and received an incident number. Since that day, Jimbo has carried the original receipt and the incident number in his wallet “just in case”.  This was the third bike that had been stolen and Jimbo was pretty fed up and was quickly losing his affection for bikes….

There was a close call once when Jimbo spotted his Devinci on Craigslist, but when he tried to arrange a meeting with the seller, the thief seemed to sense something and claimed the bike had already been sold. A likely story. There have also been a few false alarms—“that’s my bike!” “Oh—-wait—no, it’s not”. “That’s my bike for sure!” “Uh..well, maybe not”.

Until today.

An unsuspecting couple happened to be riding their bikes in front of Jimbo’s building (not far from the Safeway where the bike was stolen).  Just as my brother happened to be picking Jimbo up to go somewhere.

As they were driving away, Jimbo spotted a glint of shiny green. “THAT’S my bike!”. They drove after the couple until they were close enough to lean out the window and yell “STOP!”. The couple obeyed the command and waited to see what was so urgent. Jimbo then informed the guy that the bike he was riding was stolen. Jimbo flipped over the bike to reveal the serial number. Of course, Jimbo also happened to have the original receipt in his wallet and was able to show the rider that there was some proof of the true owner. There was also a small ding that Jimbo recognized instantly.

My brother, in the meantime, had called the police because, realistically, it’s not likely that someone would simply hand over a bike because some guy jumped out of a car said it was his. The police did show up and were apparently astonished and bewildered that Jimbo had the receipt AND the incident number in his wallet (remember, this is a year after the bike was stolen). All they could do was turn to the rider, shrug their shoulders, and say “yup, it’s his bike”.

Somewhat strangely, the rider guy said he just “needed” it for the night to get home, but both the police and Jimbo assured him that they would get him home, but the bike was staying.

So the bike was handed over and my brother drove the guy home. How civil!

And the green Devinci has returned home.

Moral(s) of the story:

  1. Make sure you keep the original receipt
  2. Jot down details of the bike: model, colour, speed, distinguishing marks
  3. Report it to the police if  it gets stolen and write down the incident number
  4. If you’re buying a used bike, ask for the purchase receipt from the seller
  5. When you get a new bike, read our post regarding locks and security

Coincidently, today is the day of the Vancouver Police Department’s bike auction (all the recovered bikes that people didn’t report go to auction one day per year).

You can report a stolen bike (Vancouver) online at the VPD website or call the non-emergency number at 604-717-3321.

See our post on How and Why to Report a Stolen Bike.

See our post on bike theft stats.

3 thoughts on “Why you should report your stolen bike to the police….

  1. My bike was stolen out of my backyard in August of this year, and while I was Googling “how to report a stolen bike,” I came across this website. Jimbo’s story gave me hope, and I filed a police report.

    My bike is made out of spare parts, (it’s pretty funny looking actually, I call it Frankenbike) I had no idea what the serial number was, and also did not have a copy of my receipt. I gave the most complete description I could (Silver, aluminum, ladies Norco mountain bike frame, pink hand grips with lizards on them, little pink bell with a 60’s/amoeba motif, one yellow brake cable, one glow-in-the-dark brake cable, etc.) and was told to call back within the next couple of weeks to see if my bike turned up.

    About a month later, I called VPD, and they told me that someone had actually been arrested on a bike that matched my description just a few days previous. They had done a serial number search when they claimed the bike, but mine obviously did not appear in the list, so they had been planning to give the bike back to the man after he was released from jail! Fortunately, I called just in time, and I got my bike back!!!

    Have hope, be persistent, and always report your bike if it is stolen!!

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