An Awesome New Series: Someone Saw My Stolen Bike and I Got it Back!

Yesterday I started a new series called Have You Seen My Stolen Bike?. I’m psyched one bike from yesterday’s post has been returned (and we got some leads on the other bike.)

“Dear PoP,

my sister and i were driving up the alley and passed someone who i recognized as a local homeless fella standing in a driveway holding a bicycle. it took me a moment to realize that he most likely doesn’t own a bike and that he was probably stealing it, so i decided to go back and stop him. in the few minutes it took me to return, some other people in the alley had caught him in their backyard snooping around and were holding him until the police came (he has stolen stuff from them before). i pointed out that i saw him with a bike and we found it stashed in the next driveway. we couldn’t prove that it was stolen since we were unable to identify the owner of the bike, but the cops arrested him for trespassing and impounded the bike. i took some photos and was going to make up some flyers and post it on p.o.p. when i came across the owner’s posting.”

Prior to that a couple of other readers wrote in with tips.


“Dear PoP,

I’m happy to report that after your post on my wife’s stolen bike, we were able to recover it from the hundreds held by MPD. Getting the bike back was a major relief, and it was extra-pleasing to see an appeal to our PoPville neighbors work so effectively.

Most of the credit goes to a neighbor on our block who observed the thief (a habitual drunk with a long history of petty crime) lean my wife’s bike against a gate to another house on our alley and surreptitiously enter that yard. The observing neighbor called to a resident at the house, who immediately recognized the thief, called the police, and held the man until they arrived. The police arrested the man for unlawful entry and will now also charge him with theft.

(BTW, the MPD, contrary to certain comments to the earlier post, displayed an avid interest in returning our bike and augmenting charges against the thief.)

The happy outcome of this episode is a great stroke of luck. But it illustrates the great potential for fighting crime in neighbors actively looking out for one other. It also shows the powerful role that communication here can play. As you know, we received multiple leads from your readers, and we wouldn’t have recovered the bike without them.

Thanks PoPville!

Ted and Miranda”

21 Comment

  • Wow. The Beautiful Life, in all its complexity.

  • Damn, the pressure is on now to maintain your 50% success rate. Way to set the bar! 😉

    Glad to hear of a successful bike/rider reunion.

  • Oh, this makes me so happy. Way to go neighbors!

  • This is such happy news!

  • Can we get a story on how the bike was stolen? The fact that a “habitual drunk with a long history of petty crime” stole the bike implies that it wasn’t locked up that well (or wasn’t locked up at all).

    Though in the end, I’m happy for the owner.

  • andy

    So it WASN’T in the basement of the Alamo?

  • This. is. awesome. Well done, Team PoPville!

    Speaking of stolen bikes… anyone seen my beloved blue/silver jamis codasport? It has all the bells and whistles a girl could want… 🙂 Wishful thinking but you never know!

  • OP here… to answer the question about how the bike was stolen, I’m embarrassed to say that we made it quite easy for the thief with a wide-open garage door. (Our remote door opener had recently gone on the fritz, and we were keeping it in a drawer on the other side of our house to prevent it from randomly signalling the door. We’ve since removed the batteries.)

    In addition to our bike, the thief had in his possession a GPS with car charger and a bike light which do not belong to us. He most likely took these from the same vicinity of 17th and Kenyon Streets. If anyone is missing these items, I recommend that you call MPD 3D HQ.

    Thanks again to those who sent tips!

    • Can you give a description of this “habitual drunk” please…long nasty dreads, crutch dude…

      • He’s a short, black hispanic male with long dreads. I’d known him only as a drunk and an aggressive panhandler. It seems that he’s got a long rap sheet that includes thefts.

        • Ah, that guy. He stands out. I was in one of the bodega’s the other day listening to the shopkeeper ream him a new one in spanish while the guy tried to get comp’ed a beer. I learned some new phrases they never taught in high school spanish.

  • Transporting petty thieves to the colonies is the only solution.

  • I am intrigued by the reference to “hundreds” of bikes held by MPD. I presume that most bike owners are aware of this and that they check with MPD before posting here about a lost bike.

    • It’s an important resource but not a good first option. The The MPD is not set up to quickly identify and log seized bicycles into a database. Even after they’ve recorded the identifying data, it could take a long time to get an answer. And this assumes that the police have seized the bike. What percentage of stolen bikes are seized by the police?

      The OP, on the other hand, got her bike back within a day of posting here. Seems like a pretty great first option to me.

  • what exactly does “holding the man” until the police arrive involve? i can’t imagine that was peaceful

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