Theft from Singletrack: We’ve found one…

by 32

You might remember that a while ago our ad man Matt suffered a break in at his house. Three bikes were stolen, including his Long Termer Lapierre Spicy that he’d ridden during the Trans Provence race featured in Issue 62. Also taken were a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Carbon Comp and a Lapierre X-Control along with Jon’s laptop and phone. Although the police were extremely helpful, there were no fingerprints or other evidence to go on. It seemed we’d just have to do what so many bike theft victims have to do and write it off to experience – and the insurance company.

We didn’t give up entirely though – Matt had put an automated eBay search for each of the bikes just in case the thieves or their associates were daft enough to try and pass off the bikes.

Guess what? One of them was just that stupid.

Matt’s search came up trumps this Monday when the X-Control popped up on eBay, being sold by someone just down the road. The bike was easily identifiable by some components Matt had changed and he was positive it was the right one. After informing the police, we used the eBay account of a good friend of the magazine to bid on and win the bike. A meet was arranged for yesterday and after a bit of waiting about and delaying tactics from Matt, we arranged to pick the bike up – only it was picked up by a pair of policemen instead. Instead of getting an early Christmas cash bonus, the seller was arrested and we gave a statement. A search of the house didn’t turn up any of our other stolen stuff, which is a bit disappointing but hardly surprising.

Although it’s small consolation to Matt or Emily for having their home intruded upon, a small measure of justice has been done.

Inquiries are ongoing but we don’t hold out much hope of seeing the rest of our stolen property. We have learnt some important and simple lessons about security and what to do if you get your bikes nicked, so here’s the fairly obvious things we’ve been reminded of…

Secure them properly.

Having loads of cables, padlocks and other security on your bikes can be a pain in the arse if you just want to nip out for a quick ride but it’s quite a lot easier and cheaper to secure them than it is to replace them. Don’t leave the keys anywhere obvious either. Yes, the shelf high up by the garage door is probably the first place we’d look too. Combination locks are quite useful for this very reason – you can’t lose the keys either.

Get insurance.

As above, insurance is cheaper than a new bike and it lessens the blow of having your stuff stolen. You can put them as a named item on your home insurance or you can arrange separate insurance with a number of providers. If you’ve got a lot of expensive upgrade on there then make sure you specify what they are and the replacement value for them too.

Get the frame details and use a security tagging system.

Even if your bike does turn up on one of the many outlets criminals use to get rid of stolen bikes, it can be hard to prove the property is your without solid evidence. Keep the receipt in a safe place, make a note of the serial number on the frame and once in a while take a picture of your bike in it’s current state. You can use a security tag (such as DataTag) inside the frame or use the less secure but less expensive alternative of stuffing a card with your details on it somewhere inside the frame. Just make sure you can get it out. On individual components consider using something like SmartWater to mark them. All of this will make getting your property back that much easier.

Avoid advertising your bikes.

Bikes are high value, easily stolen and easily saleable goods that can disappear very quickly, especially when they are stripped down – which is the fate of most of the higher end stolen bikes out there. The easiest way to avoid losing your bike is to not have it stolen in the first place. Even with all the locks out there, it someone wants it badly enough they’ll be able to get it, so try not to advertise the fact you have expensive toys in the first place. Don’t leave bikes propped outside your house or left in the car when you’ve finished riding and keep them out of view where possible. We think that having our van parked outside was a major reason for the break in.

Keep an eye out.

If the worst happens then it’s not over. Put some searches on eBay, inform people via forums and consider using a stolen bike registry such as Bike Register. There are plenty of success stories out there – just don’t pin your hopes on seeing your kit again.

Don’t buy stolen gear.

Yeah, that bike and those bits might be an absolute bargain but if you handle stolen property you’re just as guilty as the person that stole it in the first place. High end mountain bikes tend to sell to other mountain bikers, so if you’ve seen an advert that looks dodgy then don’t ignore the voice in the back of your head. Has the bike had the serial number removed? Are there other obvious signs of a shady bike? Does the person have very little idea as to what they’re selling and it’s true value? Inform the police and let them deal with it. Don’t be a vigilante, you risk yourself and you could also destroy any chance of successfully prosecuting the person responsible, nevermind the prospect of getting a conviction yourself if it gets carried away.

Bikes get stolen because there is a market for them and if you create that demand by buying dodgy stuff then you’re no better than the sort of scum that breaks into people’s houses.

Lastly, don’t let any of it ruin your life. Being burgled isn’t pleasant but the thing we’ve found it that if someone wants something badly enough, there’s not a lot you can do and living in fear and paranoia is no way to live your life. Bikes are just a fun hobby at the end of the day and however galling it is, it’s not life and death…

Comments (32)

    They did’nt have Jon’s mac did they??!!

    Nah 🙁

    Having to stop myself thinking a load of Daily Mail-esque “lock ’em up and throw away the key” nonsense at the moment. Let’s be fair, the person isn’t the brightest spark out there…

    I found my Bighit on Ebay 4 months after the Bicycle Shop Skipton was ram raided. The Police raided the house 24hrs later and returned it to me at the shop.

    And if you do have insurance and still have the bikes nicked (twice) expect your insurance company to get very grumpy :-/ And it takes a long time for things to get sorted out. Our bikes live locked in the kitchen with one of the burglar alarm sensors pointed at them. Paranoid? Just a little.

    Result, good work chaps.

    Glad to hear a bit of good news. 🙂

    thats great !

    Good news … for a change

    “We found one of our stolen bikes – GET IN! Justice will be done – and not the burning torch and pitchfork type either.

    Awww! No fair!

    *extinguishes pitchfork*

    Hebden Bridge is a drug town with a tourist problem…

    Surely burglers should go to prison? Nothing daily mail-esque about that is there?
    Anyway I’m pleased that you got your bike back.

    Excellent news,

    A guy on here found my mates V10 on ebay 7 months after it was stolen,police got it back.

    fwokinfwok – Please don’t be blaming Hebden Bridge for it. It’s individuals doing things. No one else.

    well done guys good news

    time for a how to stop your pride and joy being stolen and what to do should it happen article

    good effort by you guys and even the rozzers who took an interest so all round good news.

    I would be interseted to know what punishment the TWOC recieved. Should be made to ride a grueler in the snow with no gloves.

    If it had been my local police officer I think he would have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do anything about any offence.

    SO…..good on your local police for doing the business.

    This sort of thing impacts on so many people (and companies come to that) that I think it would be good if you cobled together an article about this for the magazine. It’d be nice to include a photo of this bike thief/handler of stolen goods, and a piccy of the ebay page. Even if he is not convicted a factual statement that this was the man who turned up with the bike following an attempt to sell it on ebay should insure that you don’t get the wrong side of a future attempt to sue you.

    You have this power. Most of us don’t. Use it to expose at least one of the people who prey on all of us.

    Great news – delighted it’s been returned.

    great news guys! hope the others turn up!

    We are so lucky in this country that we have a Police service able and willing (Cannock Chase is full of the ‘Five 0’) to look at bike theft but the courts (who sentence) and the politicians (who budget for prison places) are SO out of touch with the affect that bike theft has on us victims.

    Grrr! I’m p!ssed off with it. Maybe every single part of a bike should be tagged before being sold? A real pain but will make most stolen items unsellable?

    Just a thought for now but i’m a MTBer and an ex-Police officer. This whole situation needs sorting.

    Your thoughts welcome.


    Well done
    I’ve had four bikes stolen in the past three years and now I can’t get any insurance to cover me. Bike now lives in kitchen

    Since you presumably know where the scrote lives I’m sure there could be some gentle pressure applied for more information regarding the other items when time allows… I’ve heard waterboarding is a great winter sport 😉

    it was a pleasure to recover it.
    From the plod involved.

    look out for these much missed stolen machines[IMG][/IMG]

    i agree with all the tips above, in addition i have marked my frame with a center punch underneath the bottom bracket to spell out my initials

    Thats great news losing your pride and joy then getting it back fantastic news.

    We found a bike thief, may we burn him?

    Quality news.

    Another “don’t get robbed” tip, make sure you’re not followed with your pride and joy on the roof for all to see as i think I was once.

    Needless to say I didn’t drive straight home drove around an estate I don’t live on before heading off to Asda until the weren’t behind me any longer.

    Perhaps they realised they’d been rumbled / thought they knew the estate I lived on and my car reg so decided to look later to establish which house was mine…..

    Just thought i would let people know that there are a few Specialized’s going for very cheep, mostlikly stolen, does seems abit suspicious when it says “quick sale” ? I had mine stolen in Leeds so if anyone sees a Specialized Hardrock Sport 09 with cherry red Boxxers, full discs and sram gears.
    thank you 🙂

    All i can say is LMFAO, i hope the rozzers throw the book @ them.let this be a lesson to you, thou shalt not steal a fellow dudes mtb.

Leave Reply

Singletrack Black Friday Offer

30 days AD FREE Full Digital Membership For 99p