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Boston Police now sitting on dozens of stolen bicycles whose owners never reported them missing

Boston Police report detectives at District D-14 in Brighton recently cracked a bicycle-theft ring and so now have dozens of bicycles that they can't reunite with owners because nobody ever reported them stolen.

Many of these bicycles have identifying serial numbers, as well as aftermarket accessories and customizations which should help make them easily identifiable to the rightful owner. It appears as though these bicycles were not reported stolen in the City of Boston and investigators are unable to identify the property owners.

If your bike was stolen but you never reported it to police and you have some way of proving ownership, contact detectives at 617-343- 4256.

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Comments

Is there a database for stolen bikes that allows tracking by multiple law enforcement entities?

My guess is that bikes stolen in surrounding areas or stolen from people living outside Boston but biking into the city and whammo might make up a significant number of those bikes.

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It's not "official" but is used by some law enforcement agencies, especially on the west coast. I hope BPD is checking the listings:

https://bikeindex.org/bikes?stolenness=all

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Is there and legislation which covers a time limit for responses from the legal owners with documentation evidencing such? If not there should be. After the deadline bike should documented and donated . Anyone from the awesome people at Bikes Not Bombs or Ferris Wheels want to help us?

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is that they were reported stolen to different agencies. I’m guessing Cambridge, Harvard and BU have reports that line up.

It’s also possible that some people haven’t reported because it doesn’t usually help. An hour or so of paperwork to get a report number.

Glad they finally caught someone and these ones will get returned...

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Also Brookline.

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I am an avid cyclist and I’ve had many bikes stolen throughout the years. The lesson I learned after the first: do not bother with the police. They do not care. They set up barriers to even making the report. Total waste of time.

(Second lesson: don’t spend a lot on a bike you will, even occasionally, lockup outside)

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I believe this is the first time in the history of the United States that police have done a single thing to help the victim of a bicycle theft.

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They did not do a thing when my husband's scooter was stolen.

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I've got a whole story from my high school days about the Orleans PD and my stolen bike that is too long for me to expound on at this time, and will also make me very angry to think about for a longer amount of time than "in passing".

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IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EZIVjXTWsAAcneB?format=jpg)

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One can be outraged at the state of policing and incarceration, and still feel that as taxpayers who have to pay for such a service, we might as well call and see if the overpaid bullies might possibly recover our property (though I'm not holding my breath).

Also, homeowner's insurance and auto insurance require a police report. Not all of us who demand that the police stop killing and caging Black and Brown folks are unwashed hippie off-gridders.

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I am in favor of abolishing policing, including family policing.

But at the moment, I'm required to pay to fund such things, and my insurance requires that I file reports with the fuckers in order to get my stuff replaced, so I don't feel it's hypocritical to file police reports. I have no delusions that they're "serving and protecting" me, I know good and well they don't care about getting my stuff back, and I don't call them on fellow humans.

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Yeah, it only took them 2 hours to show up at my house when it got burglarized. Thank god it wasn’t 7 hours...

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Police have been using GPS bait bikes for some time: https://www.officer.com/vehicles-fleet/vehicles-equipment/auto-theft-pre...

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My horse was stolen and there was hell to pay. The carriage was found along the banks of the river.

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Not sure what you expect police to do when there’s usually no markings or other notable things to know who the bike belongs to so in any event I clearly knew where you were heading with this so in the event you should need a police officer make sure to reach out for a protester.

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Is there a provision in the law that the unclaimed bikes can be given to school kids or otherwise needy folks, or do they need go through an auction process?

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Likely BPD would not want to open themselves up to the liability of giving possibly damaged bikes to children.

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Donate to Bikes Not Bombs who will thoroughly examine and repair any bikes before sending them out.

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I bought a bike from a Boston Police auction down in Hyde Park around 1994. I never heard about them doing it again after that.

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to find and write down the serial number (S/N) on your bike. It is usually stamped into the metal of the frame under the pedals (you'll have to flip it over and maybe wipe off some grime) or printed on a sticker in the same vicinity. There might be both a S/N and a model number -- you want the S/N.

I would also highly encourage people to register their bikes at https://bikeindex.org/ so they can easily report them stolen if needed. Bike shops and police departments do searches on this database and can sometimes return recovered bikes to owners before they even realize their bike has been stolen!

(Also consider donating to them. It costs money to run that site, and they're a non-profit. Consider it a sort of insurance.)

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You beat me to it! I should've scrolled down before preaching the Bike Index gospel :)

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Bike Index is a start but the problem is that there are competing "national bike serial #" registries and almost none of them link to what is going on at the point of sale/service so the burden is on the customer to log the information.

If your bike was recently stolen you should call the shop that sold it to you or even just serviced it. If they sold it to you they were required to record the serial #. Most POS systems these days utilize serial #s to handle service so if your shop is on the more technically advanced side they likely logged it during service.

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I remember reading somewhere that you should remove the seat and stuff a business card down the seatpost.

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An old-school tactic is to put a rolled-up piece of paper with name and phone number inside any accessible tubular pieces of the frame (I know - possibly less practical with some different bikes these days). The idea being - if you know who has your bike, you have something up your sleeve if you get police involved rather than just one person's word against the other.

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Bike thieves today will steal a bike and sell it for about $25 worth of meth. The bike fence will then do two things, if the bike is worth less than $500 (People are less likely to report or identify it online), it will stay as is. If it’s an expensive bike, the seat, handlebars pedals, frame, etc will all be switched with other similar bikes and then sold online for $200-$750. The original owner will be less likely to identify the bike if it has different parts, tape, grips, stickers, etc. the bikes will then be shipped to secondary sellers around the city. Those guys will sell 4-5 bikes at a time and are usually online transactions.

I’d say less than 1% of bikes stolen are registered (online private databases can enter the bike into a national NCIC database that cops can then look up.

If you live in the Brighton area and your bike gets stolen, there’s a 50% chance it’s under the BU bridge in the Cambridge side. If your feeling tough, go down their and ask for “Sully” and tell him your looking for your bike. He might give it back to you for $50 since he helped secure it for you when he found it on Pratt St. laying on the sidewalk abandoned.

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So you, a self-identified member of BPD, can not only tell us where to go to find our stolen property, but also who to ask for and what to expect when we go to buy back our stolen property. Out of curiosity, are you telling us this to slander the Cambridge PD, or because both departments are so completely incompetent that they can't put their heads together to do something useful with this knowledge?

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This info isn’t for you.

If your bike gets stolen, go to Columbia and Devine on Saturday night around 7pm. You will see a big tent there. Go in and ask for JoJo. You’ll probably have to ask a few times but someone will come help you out.

But seriously, the above information is for Allston residents only. For you, I’d just stay the fuck in West Roxbury pal. For the same reasons you moved there in the first place.

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more like Pete Mean imo

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Under the Cambridge side of the BU Bridge? Is Sully one of the white geese that lives under there? I would like the bike thieves to be geese.

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But Sully’s pals take care of the geese I’m sure and make sure they are fed during the winter months.

It is odd how there are so many geese down there (or are they swans I can’t remember?). I always thought swans stayed solo or in pairs.

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They are geese, they've always fascinated me from the time I first discovered them there. They are not native, but they live there. And they are very photogenic.

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i remember when joe kennedy had a couple of expensive mountain bikes stolen from his backyard on bigelow street in brighton. he got them back but not via boston's finest. the kids who stole the bikes took them right to bicycle bills in allston to sell them. the only problem was that kennedy purchased the bikes at the same shop! the shop called joe and he got the bikes back and the kids were arrested.

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Has it occurred to anyone that the bikes aren't reported because they are were stolen over and over again and are unaccountable just like so many guns?

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What? Where did you come up with that line of reasoning?

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Someone filling down the serial numbers off of bikes nowadays?

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But it tends to be the dumb or desperate people. If you walk into a shop and try to sell them 'your' bike that is three sizes too big and has a third of the bottom bracket shell ground off, spoiler, they are not going to buy it. Plus, you probably ruined the frame.

So yeah, not dangerous in the way that ghost guns are, but obliterating serials is not uncommon.

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Has BPD ever investigated why bicycle thefts aren’t reported?

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Not a cop, but a long time bike industry person.

What I most commonly hear from victims of bike theft is that they doubt the police will do anything to recover it. Putting aside the truth, or not, of that statement, I find this frustrating. The chance of being able to claim your bike if it is found are very low if you haven't filed a police report. As said above, you don't have to agree with the police to accept that a police report is the majority of your legal recourse to recover a bike.

Others don't see their bike as something valuable enough to report stolen. Generally, these are college kids with beater bikes who will just get another cheap bike off Craigslist.

Finally, there are those who don't want to take a ding/pay the premium on their home/renter's insurance to process a claim for replacement. As such, they see no reason to bother with a police report.

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