Stolen Bike (4)
The police asked me to take the bike out into the courtyard, before locking us in, preventing anyone’s departure. All the while I had a firm grip on the bike. I had my bicycle, but it could easily slip away. I provided my proof of purchase, the serial number, and a copy of the police case for the stolen bike. I then flipped the bike over so that we could check the serial number.
We all instantly noticed that the last three numbers had been intentionally defaced. We checked the serial and everything matched otherwise. “Look, he can’t prove its his!”, the shop owner protested. The police looked up and gave him a funny look.
In the end the police sided with me. It was my bike. They returned to the reception area to begin some paper work. The police had no further interest in the sellers and they just made their way out. Originally I was told the bike would need to remain at the station for three days, but with a little extra paper work they were ready to release it. They wouldn’t allow me any record of this situation.
Afterward my friend said that the way the police were talking with the sellers, it seemed as though they knew each other. The station was but 500 meters from all the those shops. It’s hard to say exactly how well, or how frequent a situation such as mine happens, but I’d imagine it’s not terribly unexpected.
I must say the police were integral in me getting my bike back. Without their backing, I was literally just stealing my bike back. Strangely, they also seemed to have little interest in stopping or preventing this sort of activity. Maybe they know from experience that it’s too difficult to prove the theft, or maybe the thieves are one step removed from the sellers. Whatever the case, it seems addressing the theft and resale of bicycles through these questionable businesses is not a top priority for police.
6) Finally, discuss the conclusion of the whole debacle. Was it easy or difficult? What do you feel was the greatest help in facilitating the process?
But really, I feel very lucky in the end. Though I do have to say there were several crucial factors in this fiasco that facilitated me getting my bicycle back.
For one, it seemed easy enough to look for considering my bike was unique in that it’s a large frame in a very hard-to-miss bright green. I knew it would be easier to pick out.
Also, having a higher quality bike leads me to believe it was more likely appear on an APP or second-hand market website. But again, luck played a huge role. I am grateful I remained persistent in checking the APPs.
Equally as useful was the fact that I had kept my original receipts and serial numbers. Additionally, Natooke had kept such good records to utilize. With all this evidence I was quick and had filed a case with the police within 24 hours of the theft. This paperwork made it easy to prove the bike was mine once I had it back in my hands.
Finally, and probably most importantly, it’s the awesome friends I have here in Chengdu. Without their help, their positivity, their communication skills, their relaxed attitude, and their willingness to give time to help me, I’d be lost. I would have never been able to do it alone.
What simple tips or recommendations would you have for fellow riders to best prepare them for a similar situation?
This can be broken down in a bulleted type list (say, “Write down your serial number,” “Make sure you have some record that can be corroborated with another person or business that verifies ownership,” “Make the bike unique in some way that you can make a blind reference to authorities to for proof” or just any other type of recommendation to help in this situation.
Furthermore, it’s certainly best to be prepared in the event of your bicycle being stolen. I was lucky, but here are a few things you can collect and have ready for that dreadful day you come back to find your bicycle missing:
Keep your proof of purchase.
Keep the serial number of the bike. Write it down on the sales receipt or take a picture of it.
Keep any and all receipts of work done and parts changed on the bike.
Mark the bike in some way to show it’s yours.
Write your name and details on paper and hide it inside the frame (e.g. handle bars).
Never let the bike out of your sight!
Always follow the above rules. No exceptions!