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Old 08-16-2010, 09:31 AM   #21
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Why not ask him to email you a photo of the bike, including a close-up of the serial#? That way you could confirm he actually has your bike.

I suspect there will be an excuse as to why he can't do so - no digital camera, etc. If you don't get photo confirmation I wouldn't spend another second fooling with this scam artist.
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:12 AM   #22
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The part that seems fishy to me is the $490 price said to be paid at a flea market. It just seems too high. If it was from a flea market the posted price would be about $650 - haggling get it down to the $490. For a used bike it just feels too high to me - especially if the flea market seller was the thief or selling it for the thief. Also, who carries so much money to a flea market - either they paid with a check or credit card so, the transaction would be traceable.
As others have suggested - ask other people who posted a reward for a bike if it was a scam.
Ask the police what to do.
It would be great if the police would come with you to meet the person offering the bike to you.
If you can get a phone number out of the guy, you could do a reverse phone # look up and it would be helpful if he was a no show as others suggested.
Please let us know what happens.
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:45 AM   #23
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I'm anxious to see how this works out. Like you, my first hope would be that I've run across someone wanting to do the right thing. My gut feeling is that this guy is trying to sell your bike back to you. Like the others have said, don't do this alone. Have some backup with you.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:59 PM   #24
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Have some backup with you.
Geat idea; borrowing form Wahoo, take some chick who will expose her breasts then while the alleged miscreant is ogling her chest, grab your bike and anything else lying around loose and get the hell out of there!

Ha
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:56 PM   #25
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I've heard lots of advice not to meet with this person, but frankly I can't see why not.
Well, suppose his mail had said "Hey, I stole your bike. Come and try and take it off me." I'm guessing that you wouldn't go and meet him then.

So, we've established that the difference between you meeting him and you not meeting him, is his choice of words when composing his e-mail.

If that's good enough for you, fine.

When you get back from the meeting, I have a fine deal on a prime Florida construction site for you. I could have said "swampland" there, but I didn't, so you know you're not risking anything.
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:30 PM   #26
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Here in the Bay Area most police stations are unstaffed, meaning there's just a lobby and a telephone, and if you need police help you call a central dispatch who calls an officer over to help, usually arriving about a half hour later if at all. They can be quite lonely places.

Transit centers like train stations seem to be the most secure areas, both due to post-9/11 concerns and because they need security to keep order among the high population density, so I think that would be a better place to meet.

I got in contact with the SF bicycle coalition, and also heard from someone who has recovered two stolen bikes in the area, and they both said that this guy who claims to have my bike sounds sketchy but worth pursuing. In my travels I've had plenty of experience dealing with sketchy characters with much more cash on my person, so I'm not particularly worried about mugging. I'm big and fit enough that I'm not an easy target.

One interesting thing is that none of the half dozen people who posted "stolen" ads on craigslist responded at all to my query about whether they got any response to their ads.

My fake "Stolen" craigslist ad received a helpful response from someone who thinks they might have spotted my fake-stolen model halfway across the state, and had no interest in any further contact. It doesn't seem to be the same guy who claims to have my bike.

Anyway, it's evening and I haven't heard back after emailing this guy late last night, so I'm starting to think the most likely reality is that I'm not getting my bike back from him.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:19 PM   #27
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If I were a guy who indeed bought a bike at a flee market for $400+, I don't think I would be looking at bike sales on craigslist (unless I was curious how much I could have gotten the same bike for on craigslist). If I were a guy who stole your bike hoping to see a stolen post on craigslist, I would be looking at bike stolen ads on craigslist.

If I were a guy who indeed bought a bike at a flee market for $400+, I wouldn't want to return it to you for less than $400+. (I can say this because I would never buy a bike at a flee market knowing something I am buying is probably stolen.)

Or he is a fake - a troll.

Your renter's insurance may be the best bet...

My point is if this guy is for real, he won't want to give your bike back for less than what he paid for. If he is not real (and if he hasn't already sold the bike to someone else), he will reply back to you and he will accept less than $400.
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:06 PM   #28
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I think the $460 or whatever it was is much more than he was able to fence it for, so in effect he wants to make you his fence. Most of these guys will be grifters rather than strong arm crooks, but I think if it were me I would just file my insurance report and be more careful in the future.

This is why I mostly walk. There is a guy in my building who does setups on high end bikes who is always trying to interest me in buying one. No way Josť, if I buy another bike it will be one that is no big deal to lose.

Ha
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:30 AM   #29
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If you had already filed with a insurance (?) you should have informed the insurance on the offer of the buyer.
In a similar case my company's insurance bought back the lost property to avoid the bigger loss of compensationg the value. Maybe not too late?
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:13 PM   #30
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I brought this up on the bike forum:

This is a Scam, Isn't It?
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Old 08-20-2010, 02:58 PM   #31
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So, I guess the guy never replied?
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:30 AM   #32
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Do you use locking skewers on your bikes? With a set of 3 locking skewers (one on the seat post, and the other two in the front and back wheel), all you have to do is secure the frame to something with a u-lock and your bike is unlikely to go missing.

I've had 3 bikes stolen. One of them was unlocked and standing a couple of feet behind me. In the 45 seconds it took me to turn the other way and take a picture of something across the street, an amazingly swift thief came up behind me and made off with my bike. Another bike was left unlocked outside a fast food restaurant for 2 minutes. The 3rd one was locked with a cable lock (like yours).

This was all 10 years or more ago. Since then I've had locking skewer sets on all my bikes and locked them with u-locks and not had one stolen.

Sorry to hear about your bad luck with this bike, by the way.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:06 AM   #33
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Stolen bikes are common here at the beach. Cops say many are repainted and sold on CL. I don't worry too much about it. My bike is junk. Good luck!
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:47 AM   #34
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This was all 10 years or more ago. Since then I've had locking skewer sets on all my bikes and locked them with u-locks and not had one stolen.
Do the skewer immobilize the wheel or just prevent it from being taken off?
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:43 PM   #35
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I just researched this as I have never heard the term "locking skewer" and it appears you replace the quick release part of your wheels and seat with something that requires a key. So a locking skewer replaces the axle of your front wheel with a new axle but the quick release handle does not just bend down like before, now you need a key of some kind. Any further explanation appreciated as my understanding is vague. Also, it would seem that perhaps higher end bikes would come with something like this built-in?

OnGuard Locking Skewer Set at REI.com

Kramer
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:17 PM   #36
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I just got back from Burning Man. I stayed a day late and there were lots of abandoned bicycles in various states of disrepair. I scrounged parts from three of them to build a frankenbike that's about the ugliest completely-spraypainted monstrosity you'll ever see. I'll remove both derailleurs so it's just a reliable single speed bike. That will be my bike that I can feel free to lock up downtown for extended periods of time, because it has hardly any value to me or the bike thieves.

I also have a nicer city bike which I've battle-tested against the downtown bike thieves over a couple of years now, leaving it locked up in city center for hours at a time. I have locking skewers on the front and seat (I have on-guard brand because of exotic fit issues, but most people would probably be best off with Pit-Locks from this competitively-priced site: Urban Bike Tech - Pitlock Locking Skewers for your bike! USA and Canada ). I use a seat leash, and wrapped many layers of tape over the bolts that clamp the post to the seat rails. I have a european style rear wheel lock similar to this one:http://austinontwowheels.org/2008/08...ar-wheel-lock/ which immobilizes the rear wheel and locks it onto the bike. That also comes in handy for keeping the bike from rolling around on the BART train. And in all the allen sockets I dripped wax and put in a ball bearing, so that a sharp tool and some time is needed to remove components. For locking the bike itself I use a Kryptonite Fahgeddaboudit U Lock, which is the strongest lock available, and always lock to a parking meter or something that requires a jackhammer to remove.

With my new road bike however, my plan is just to keep it inside all the time and never lock it up anywhere that I can't see it. I want to keep that one lightweight and serviceable so that I can easily change tires and such out in the country. At 20 pounds it's less than half the weight of my 45 pound city bike with lock.

I have now had three bikes stolen in San Francisco: two were locked with cable locks and left for brief amounts of time in areas that originally seemed safe, and a third was stolen from inside my car. Now if I'm going to leave my bike in my car I have a chain lock to attach it to the car seats.

Three is enough!

Oh, and yes the guy who claimed to have my bike was never heard from again, but I got a sweet insurance settlement so I'm good.
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:28 PM   #37
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The bike stealing seems perfectly made for a police sting - lock up a bike and wait for someone to steal it.

Locking skewers - would it be a good idea that they not only prevent the wheel from being removed but you have an option to lock the wheel from moving. The thief would have to carry it away.

One thing to do is to disconnect the brakes - if the thief rides away it may make stopping a challenge.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:27 PM   #38
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One thing to do is to disconnect the brakes - if the thief rides away it may make stopping a challenge.
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Old 09-11-2010, 02:28 AM   #39
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Glad it seemed to end reasonably well. My money was on the guy being a scammer, but not a mugger.
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