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I found my son's STOLEN bike!

Old 12-11-18, 12:24 PM
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jaecult
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I found my son's STOLEN bike!

I found it for sale online... and its trashed. I'm going to file a police report today. I know ill get it back but its completely rusted. How do i go about having them pay for a new bike or repairs? Do i have to take them to court for the damages? This is all new to me.
The bike is a BMX worth almost 600 with all the after market parts i have on it. I kept all my receipts and paperwork with the frames serial number. I wont have a problem proving its mine. The dumb***es have it posted for $150. It pisses me off seeing it in such poor condition.

Anyone an expert on these things? I live in california... is there certain law for something like this?

Ill post photos when i know when the police do their thing.... hopefully
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Old 12-11-18, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jaecult View Post
I found it for sale online... and its trashed. I'm going to file a police report today. I know ill get it back but its completely rusted. How do i go about having them pay for a new bike or repairs? Do i have to take them to court for the damages? This is all new to me.
The bike is a BMX worth almost 600 with all the after market parts i have on it. I kept all my receipts and paperwork with the frames serial number. I wont have a problem proving its mine. The dumb***es have it posted for $150. It pisses me off seeing it in such poor condition.

Anyone an expert on these things? I live in california... is there certain law for something like this?

Ill post photos when i know when the police do their thing.... hopefully
California huh? They will sue you for injuries sustained while riding the unsafe bicycle you carelessly left where it could be accessed by their innocent child.
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Old 12-11-18, 12:37 PM
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Contact the police and district attorney. I wouldn't be too hopeful about anything other than getting your property back. The seller will claim they bought the bike from someone else, and had nothing to do with the theft or degradation. You would probably have to resolve that with civil litigation, which is not practical for something that can be replaced for $600.
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Old 12-11-18, 12:39 PM
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It may well be difficult to prove that the current holders of the bike are responsible for the theft. The thief may have sold it to them or even abandoned it somewhere and it was later found and put up for sale.

The case would be much stronger if you can get the police interested in investigating and there are additional stolen bikes in their possession.
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Old 12-11-18, 12:49 PM
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When did you report it stolen?

I've bought quite a bit of used bike stuff, and frequently try to look at stolen bike registries if something seems off.

I haven't found a stolen bike yet. However, I would be very upset if a person waits to report until after one tries to resell.

Nonetheless, go with what the police say If they prosecute a criminal case and win, you could follow up with civil.
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Old 12-11-18, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jaecult View Post
I found it for sale online... and its trashed. I'm going to file a police report today. I know ill get it back but its completely rusted. How do i go about having them pay for a new bike or repairs? Do i have to take them to court for the damages? This is all new to me.
The bike is a BMX worth almost 600 with all the after market parts i have on it. I kept all my receipts and paperwork with the frames serial number. I wont have a problem proving its mine. The dumb***es have it posted for $150. It pisses me off seeing it in such poor condition.

Anyone an expert on these things? I live in california... is there certain law for something like this?

Ill post photos when i know when the police do their thing.... hopefully
Can't speak for California, but if it were here and resulted in a prosecution, restitution might be made one of the probation conditions. You're a couple of steps away from that yet.

Otherwise, at best you have a small claims court case, and even if you get a judgment, collecting it won't be worth the trouble.

How long was it gone? Bikes usually take a little while to get rusted.
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Old 12-11-18, 01:52 PM
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I would use the power of social media to bring justice. I would do my work detective work, in case the cops drop the ball. You might be able to find out the seller's name and address. Maybe pretend like you're interested in buying to get the seller to tell you about it and his name and address. Don't accuse him. Use social engineering skillz to your advantage. Use Facebook to investigate too. Perhaps, the thieve took pictures of the bike right after he stole it from you and posted it on FB. Maybe you get lucky, and find evidence of beyond reasonable doubt to show the seller is the bandit. Or maybe you'll find the guy did legitimately buy it from someone else. My gut feeling tells me the theive probably is not dumb enough to try to sell it online himself.

Last edited by mtb_addict; 12-11-18 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 12-11-18, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I would use the power of social media to bring justice. I would do my work detective work, in case the cops drop the ball. You might be able to find out the seller's name and address. Maybe pretend like you're interested in buying to get the seller to tell you about it and his name and address. Don't accuse him. Use social engineering skillz to your advantage. Use Facebook to investigate too. Perhaps, the thieve took pictures of the bike right after he stole it from you and posted it on FB. Maybe you get lucky, and find evidence of beyond reasonable doubt to show the seller is the bandit. Or maybe you'll find the guy did legitimately buy it from someone else. My gut feeling tells me the theive probably is not dumb enough to try to sell it online himself.

I have to wonder, if it was rusty, isn't there a pretty good possibility it was left out in the open abandoned by the thief? This person may have just found the bike dumped somewhere.
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Old 12-11-18, 03:01 PM
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How long ago was it stolen? Did you file an insurance claim for it at the time?

As others have said, I'd contact the police and let them pursue it. If you have a right to the bike, they should tell you that. While you may have a good civil case, the cost to pursue it would far outweigh the value of the bike even if you can collect, which is iffy.
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Old 12-11-18, 03:03 PM
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I'd file a small claims suit just for the satisfaction of having dragged them into court for the day.

They probably don't have $600 to give you but just to look at them, make them stand around the court building all morning and have to walk in front of the judge would be a bit of satisfaction.


-Tim-
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Old 12-11-18, 03:08 PM
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Call the cops, let them know you found it. Let them deal with it.

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I'd file a small claims suit just for the satisfaction of having dragged them into court for the day.

They probably don't have $600 to give you but just to look at them, make them stand around the court building all morning and have to walk in front of the judge would be a bit of satisfaction.
That, or they don't bother to show, and you get a default judgement in your favor for whatever you were seeking that you can choose (or not) to enforce upon them. Win-win either way.
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Old 12-11-18, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
or they don't bother to show, and you get a default judgement in your favor for whatever you were seeking that you can choose (or not) to enforce upon them. Win-win either way.
Even if they don't show, you still have to have evidence that the seller did the actual stealing.

Then there's the possession-is-9/10 laws. He has possession. His claim of ownership is stronger than yours.
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Old 12-11-18, 03:34 PM
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I had gone through this somewhat myself. My son's Bike was stolen and a month later recovered. I had already recouped the cost via renters insurance. I'm fairly certain I know who took the bike since about 6 months later I found other teenagers whom looked ticked off at life tossing a bike away.

My opinion, you would put too much of your time and effort into something that has very little prospect of gaining you anything by going after others on a $600 stolen bike. It may cost you more in court fees and such only to not gain much if anything at all.

On the other hand, it would be nice to get even...........sigh...........
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Old 12-11-18, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Even if they don't show, you still have to have evidence that the seller did the actual stealing.

Then there's the possession-is-9/10 laws. He has possession. His claim of ownership is stronger than yours.
That was in reference to a small claims suit for civil damages, presumably after police and the courts have dealt with the criminal portion of it. Civil claims (at least in MI) has a much lower barrier to success, if the court has allowed it to get to a trial date, if you no-show it is an automatic loss for you no matter how ridiculous the suit is.

As far as the criminal portion, I would suspect a filed report (unclear from the info given) and proof of ownership (OP has) would be enough to weigh against possession, but I would be intrigued to see how it all plays out.
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Old 12-11-18, 06:16 PM
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Since you have the serial number the police should recover your son's bike. That's great to get it back. Most people do not. Let this be a warning to everyone when you buy a bike record the serial number. Without it you are out of luck with the police .
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Old 12-11-18, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Gconan View Post
Since you have the serial number the police should recover your son's bike. That's great to get it back. Most people do not. Let this be a warning to everyone when you buy a bike record the serial number. Without it you are out of luck with the police .
Yes, I keep one copy of the serial numbers as 'Contact' numbers on my phone. That way it'd be available even if the bike is stolen while I'm away from home.
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Old 12-11-18, 07:14 PM
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Bicycle thieves are the scum of the earth.
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Old 12-11-18, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
Bicycle thieves are the scum of the earth.
You know for a fact the seller is the thief?
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Old 12-11-18, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Call the cops, let them know you found it. Let them deal with it.
This is good advice. Don't act rashly. The seller could be a victim too.
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Old 12-11-18, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 02Giant View Post
You know for a fact the seller is the thief?
Bike thief, fence, purchaser of stolen bike (and they know they are buying a stolen bike), all scum.
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Old 12-11-18, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Contact the police and district attorney.
Do this. Do NOT try to John Wayne this and show up ready to pound the "thief". Be aware that sometimes people steal stuff to feed an addiction or because they are otherwise desperate. I'm 6'2", weigh 240, and played defensive end in the Big 10, and I would not show up without police backup. (Although when I was 30 years younger, I might have. I was a lot dumber then).

Was the bike insured? Did you get a payoff? Let the insurance company know. Let them handle it.
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Old 12-11-18, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Contact the police and district attorney. I wouldn't be too hopeful about anything other than getting your property back. The seller will claim they bought the bike from someone else, and had nothing to do with the theft or degradation. You would probably have to resolve that with civil litigation, which is not practical for something that can be replaced for $600.
If the bike is worth less than $950.00, new, it is a misdemeanor. The DA’s office will not prosecute unless they also prosecute misdemeanors. Many DA offices prosecute only felonies. The LA DA is one example.

But even if the DA prosecutes misdemeanors good luck getting the police interested. In California a police officer cannot make an arrest, on a misdemeanor case, without an arrest warrant unless the officer has probable cause to believe that a crime was actually committed in his presence.

In this case the officer did not see the seller steal the son’s bike. Maybe he “could” be prosecuted for selling stolen good. But then you need to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the seller knew, or should have known, that the bike was stolen. Not very likely.

I am afraid that there is not much legal recourse against the seller. The Dad could try suing in small claims court, but even with the reduced standard of proof in civil cases, it will be tough to prove that the seller had knowledge that the bike was stolen.

Sorry to say, the prospect is not good.

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Old 12-12-18, 04:18 AM
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After you've filed your stolen bike report, the best bet is to arrange with the seller to meet up, and arrange with the police to be there with you. Show the police the record of your serial number, and both you and the police can verify that it's your bike. The police can then simply inform the seller that you're recovering your stolen bike. You take the bike home. End of story.

I've found that the police are more than happy to show up to assist in resolving disputes, than they are in doing the work themselves to recover stolen property. This way, there's no need to involve district attorneys, or go through the legal system process. It saves everyone a bunch of trouble.
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Old 12-12-18, 05:55 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I'd file a small claims suit just for the satisfaction of having dragged them into court for the day.

They probably don't have $600 to give you but just to look at them, make them stand around the court building all morning and have to walk in front of the judge would be a bit of satisfaction.


-Tim-
Again, can't speak for California, but if it's like here, the defendant will likely just not show and default. OP will waste his time in court waiting for the court to issue an uncollectable judgment. And that's assuming he can figure out the seller's name and get him served.
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Old 12-12-18, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
Bicycle thieves are the scum of the earth.
Great advice if your goal is to go to prison.

Given how rusty this bike was, I think it's pretty likely someone just found this bike after the thief abandoned it. Sounds like it was left out in the weather for a while.

He should give the police the serial number and a copy of the ad.

Last edited by Trsnrtr; 12-12-18 at 07:34 AM. Reason: Edited to the first part of quote.
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