What should you do if your bicycle is stolen from the entryway, garage, or bike park on the street? Unfortunately, your two-wheeled friend is much less protected against theft than, for example, a car. This is despite the installation of bicycle alarms, bike locks and modern GPS bike tracking. What to do if your bicycle is stolen: report the theft, go to the police station with a report? And what should you do if you spot your bike under another rider? You’ll find the answers to these questions in today’s article.
What to do at the scene of a missing bicycle
As quickly as possible to cope with the emotions aroused by discovering that your bicycle has been stolen, there are a few things you need to do:
- Call the police and notify them of the theft, stating where and when it happened. When the squad arrives, you will need to give as detailed a description of the bike as possible, possible suspects, and the alleged direction of its destination.
- You will then need to complete and file a report of the theft at the police station. The officer on duty will have to give you a notice in the form of a ticket with a number from the CUPP.
- While you are waiting for the police, look for possible witnesses among the passers-by around you and video cameras on the nearby cars or video cameras on the buildings.
- Do not hesitate to report missing on the city’s cycling forums, as well as in the profile sots.grupp.
- On sites where there are databases with stolen bikes – velorozisk.ru, stolenbike.ru, lostbike.ru, veloid.ru, velougon.ru and others – you will find bike registration forms, which should also be filled out to add information to the general database.
You should also monitor ads for used bicycles and items for sale. Go to bike fence sites and bazaars. Chances are your bike is already for sale. If not, talk to the buyers, tell them about your situation, describe the details and features of the stolen bike, and leave your contact information.
How to collect evidence on a theft
Question the people around you, perhaps they were unintentional witnesses to the theft and remembered the sign of the thief. Go to the nearest stores whose windows look out on the place where you left your bicycle, interview the shopkeepers and customers there. Record the information and their coordinates. But do not be fooled: this method is not particularly effective. Thieves are perfectly able to disguise themselves and become invisible to others. It is better to emphasize the model of the bike and ask in which direction it could go.
Look closely at cars parked nearby and see if they have video recorders that might record the moment of the theft. If you find someone with such a device, record or photograph the license plate number on a smartphone and wait for its owner. If the car owner is absent for a long time, write a note explaining the reason for your contact, ask him to contact you and fix it on your windshield. If he showed up, try to watch video footage together or, at the very least, write down his coordinates.
You may be even luckier: on poles, over gates and other structures may be placed cameras. All you have to do is find the owner of the equipment and agree to extract information from it. However, if it is a municipal or city camera – with this will be more difficult, because you will need an official request in the framework of the criminal case. All delays usually take a lot of time, and the information on these cameras is stored for 30 days, and then erased. So try to negotiate for a record without an official request or hire a lawyer – it is within his competence to speed up the process.
If they stole a bicycle from the entrance – what to do in this case? Your actions to find him are the same:
- Interview your neighbors who live near you and on the lower floors. Go out into the yard and interview passersby there;
- Look for recorder tapes in cars near the porches of your building and neighboring buildings;
- Look for video cameras on nearby buildings.
Unfortunately, finding a bicycle stolen from the entryway is more difficult because there are usually very few people in the yards, especially during daylight hours.
What you need to know beforehand about your bike
As strange as it may sound, it is advisable to prepare in advance for a stolen bicycle. Keep as many documents as possible to prove that you are its owner:
- Your bike’s passport, warranty card, and receipts;
- Photos of your bike from different angles and with you “in your arms.
Make a note of the No frame indicated on the bottom of the carriage assembly. It would be great if you could put a special marking on your bike yourself or have it done at any service center.
How to write a missing person report and where to put it
For your missing bicycle report to be effective, it should be concise and contain as much relevant information as possible. The more information and unique information you give about your bicycle, the more likely it is that someone will help you find it. You can follow this formula:
- Write the bicycle’s make, model, series and year, size and color, the type of brakes (rim or disc), and the frame number stamped on the bottom of the bottom bracket;
- give particulars if you have changed parts, installed additional equipment, describe each sticker, defect, and tampering you have done with the bicycle;
- write the date when the theft occurred, where it happened, and briefly what you know about the circumstances of the theft;
- Don’t forget to include your cell phone and other contacts (this “forgetfulness” is a sin of many bicycle theft victims who leave announcements on bicycle forums in the “Stolen” section).
Include a picture of your two-wheeler. If you don’t have one, find a picture from the manufacturer’s catalog with the exact same parameters and color.
How to report to the police
Contact the police if your bicycle is stolen is a must. Although the hope of a search operation to find your bike is very slim, you need to legally record the fact of the theft itself. When (and if) your vehicle is found, relying on the law, you can take it away from anyone, whether it’s the person who committed the theft or the innocent buyer of your bike. Criminal records will help you seize your property.
You will have to state everything you wrote about in the theft report for the forums:
- The make and model of the bike;
- series and year of manufacture;
- what brakes are installed;
- color and no frame;
- special features in the form of stickers, hand-made “improvements” and acquired defects.
Post the paperwork for the bike, if you kept it, and a photo. If your bike was stolen without documents, tell your friends who can confirm that the stolen bike is yours. You should also state when and how you purchased the vehicle.
Describe everything related to its disappearance:
- time and place when the theft occurred;
- coordinates of any witnesses you were able to locate;
- registration numbers of parked cars with video recorders that were recording at the time of the theft;
- contact information of car owners with DVRs;
- all of the information and the description of the likely suspect that you collected.
After filing a report, go to the police station on duty, which is as close as possible to the place of the theft. You may have to insist that the report be accepted. Such petty thefts are treated with reluctance and leniency:
- The bicycle theft detection rate is notoriously low, which will worsen the overall crime detection rate in the precinct;
- In light of the ongoing murders and rapes, the theft of your two-wheeled friend will seem insignificant to many law enforcement officers.
If the officer on duty refuses to accept your statement (which, incidentally, he is not entitled to do), show their awareness and refer to the order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia from 01.03.2012. No140. You can also demand to give the name of the officer on duty, write it down and threaten to complain to the prosecutor’s office.
When your application is accepted, it will be registered in the CPSS and give you a coupon-notification with a number. A few days later you will need to start calling the office at regular intervals and inquire about the fate of his application. As a result, a criminal case will be initiated and you will be issued a resolution in which you will be listed as the victim. It is this document that will help you legally seize your bicycle if it is found.
How to behave when you encounter your bicycle in the city
Of course, if you have had your bike stolen, emotions run high. So when you meet your faithful “friend” somewhere in the street in the wrong hands, you can let your feelings go and do bad things.
Remember: trying to take away a bicycle with violence, you commit a crime!
Do not forcefully seize your bike from another person, otherwise you will turn from the victim into a robber or accused of beating. Your job is to stop the person and sort it out. Surround yourself with witnesses, creating a buzz about the situation (there are always onlookers). Check the license plate number of the bicycle in front of you, and look for other signs. If you’re sure it’s really your bike, call the police.
A report of the theft, a criminal complaint, or at least a document of the bike itself will be a great help to you. You don’t have to carry the originals; you can make a photocopy or keep a photo in your phone.
How to know for sure that the bike you buy is not stolen
If you buy a bicycle by hand, do not be in a hurry to part with your money. Ask the seller for the documents for the vehicle. However, remember that if he can not do this, it does not mean that the bike – stolen, but it signals that you need to check the unit more carefully. Look to see that the frame does not have a rewritten license plate or any scuffs. Use the stolen bike databases we wrote about above by checking the bike number to see if it’s stolen.
If you are going abroad with an undocumented bicycle, know that the plates are checked at the border. If it is discovered that the bike is stolen, your visa will be revoked. Not only that: You may not be allowed to enter the country at all in the future or you may be restricted from entering the country for a long period of time.
Tips for minimizing the risk of a missing bike
Bicycles have been stolen at all times. And they will continue to be stolen. Therefore, it depends only on you, whether this trouble concerns you and your unit. Here are a few tips to protect yourself from bike theft:
- Don’t leave your bike on too busy streets or deserted ones. Pay attention to whether other cyclists are using the bike park. Bad publicity spreads fast: if bicycles are stolen from a parking lot all the time, few people will want to leave theirs there.
- Install a bicycle lock: a cable lock with a key, a coded cable lock, or a chain lock-the latter is considered the most reliable, because it is almost impossible to bite it, and to waste time on sawing with a hacksaw, few thieves will want to.
- Install the bike alarm. Sound bike alarm has a remote control, it works like a car alarm: a beep is triggered in response to a touch or vibration.
- An original way: make your bike noticeable from afar by decorating its frame with bright colors, or hinging LEDs on the wheels, or creating something creative on the handlebar. A bike that attracts the attention of others and is easy to find because of its distinctive features is unlikely to be stolen.
- If you leave your bike for a long time, remove the chain from it – you can’t ride it without a chain. True, for this you will need tools and some skill.
Unfortunately, according to statistics, if your bike is stolen from the entryway, there is little chance of finding it. Bikes are stolen on the street less often, but even here you should not expect to find witnesses to the theft and you will be able to get your bike back. As much as possible protect yourself from bicycle theft by using the recommendations from this article. If your bicycle is stolen, be active and patient in your search for it. There are many cases where bikes have been returned home to especially persistent owners.