Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Heard from someone who has my stolen bike
Old 08-15-2010, 11:08 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
free4now's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,225
Heard from someone who has my stolen bike

I posted a little while about whether to report the theft of my stolen bike to insurance, but there's a new development:

I had posted on craigslist about my $1400 stolen bike, and written that I will offer a generous reward for info leading to its safe return. I just got an email saying:

[edits in square brackets are mine]
Quote:
i saw your posting for the stolen [bike model] and i have your bike. i honestly did not steal your bike i just bought it from the flea market today. the serial on the bike match the one you have posted. i know what it feels like to get a bike stolen so thats why i am willing to give it back to you. i honestly paid 490 for it and i was originally going to keep the bike for myself but since it was stolen i would rather return it to its owner. i can meet up with you in [location removed] and once again im just trying to help someone out.
It seems obvious that I should pursue this, although given that my renters and credit card insurance might cover the loss in full, I'm frankly not real excited about doing so. My ex-girlfriend had a story about someone who wanted to sleep with her in exchange for return of her stolen bike, so my guard is definitely up.

There are some red flags, like the lack of capitalization and the return email address not having a full name, just a first name and an initial, but this could very well be legit.

I'm going to sleep on it and probably contact this person on Monday. Any advice is welcome.
__________________

__________________
free4now is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 08-15-2010, 11:40 PM   #2
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,823
Take someone with you or alternately, tell someone where you are going and meet at a crowded public location. Make sure you are not followed and be careful, OK?

If this person expects you to bring a generous reward, they might want to relieve you of that cash even with no bike.

Glad to hear that this might have a good outcome.
__________________

__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010, 11:42 PM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 281
I would take the email to the police and let them advise you. If it is a scam it may be one they are aware of.
__________________
TooFrugal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010, 11:44 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,001
A couple of things come to mind. If you filed a police report, anyone, including yourself, that's caught with this bike can be found in posession of stolen property. If you tell your insurance about the bike, they will most likely consider your case closed. If you tell the police, I'm sure they'd prosecute this person with possession of stolen goods. Who knows if this really was an innocent person buying the bike by mistake? I think most people paying $490 for a bike at a flea market pretty much knows the value of this bike was much higher and it was probably stolen. I'm not sure I'd do this swap without some people there backing me up or having the police deal with it instead.
__________________
Dimsumkid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010, 11:47 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 16,372
I would bet this is a scam, too. Good idea of TooFrugal's to run it by the police.
__________________
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010, 11:48 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
bbbamI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas 'burb
Posts: 9,039
Quote:
Originally Posted by TooFrugal View Post
I would take the email to the police and let them advise you. If it is a scam it may be one they are aware of.
Ditto. Please report this to the police. CID (Criminal Investigation Division) should handle this. Do not meet this person on your own.

(I'm no expert, but I was a volunteer cop for 9 1/2 years)
__________________
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
bbbamI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 12:32 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,423
If you could get a police officer (in street clothes) to go along with you this could be very interesting.

I agree that you should not meet this person on your own.

Don't be surprised if you get emails from more than one person saying that they also have your bike and just want to do the right thing.
__________________
Married, both 62. DH retired June, 2010. I have a pleasant little part time job.
Sue J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 12:45 AM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,152
Sounds legit to me as it does not make sense as a scam. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Meet in a public place. After getting the bike back, find out more about exactly where he got it. Ask if he would add the information to the police report.

If someone were shopping for a bike like he/she was, it would make sense that they would be perusing the ads where your reward post was posted.

If he helps with the investigation and gives you your bike back, I would increase the reward to him, although for sure not to 490.

Also, peruse the ads for people that offered rewards before. Email them right away (or call) and find out if they received any scammer emails or calls like this.

I went to Stanford and bike theft was literally an epidemic. I used to say that if education were the answer, there would not be a crime wave on campus Even though I never had a bike stolen, I would have chased down and severely beaten any bike thief I caught and I would not mind bringing back the justice that used to go to horse thieves . . . so also look at this as an opportunity to further the investigation.
__________________
kramer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 01:09 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
free4now's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,225
I think my main dilemna is whether to get the police involved. The theft occurred on National Park property (SF Presidio), and the NPS officer who took my police report was much more interested and thorough than an SFPD officer would have been, spending an hour or so talking with me and investigating whether the store had surveillance video or whether anyone had seen anything (negative). He said that bike thefts in that area are rare, so this is actually interesting to him. But he probably can't travel to the suggested meeting location a half hour or so away, in another city.

If this guy is really sincere I wouldn't want to get the police involved. I'm sure he's aware that he is in possession of stolen property and karmically I want to reward good behavior (returning the bike) even if purchasing it was morally questionable.

I think my steps are to contact this guy by phone and suss out what he wants in return (if anything). If he demands anything then probably get the police involved, if not then perhaps go with a friend to pick up the bike in a safe place with a small but generous reward.

I think I will also place a fake "my bike was stolen" notice on craigslist for another bike and see if I get a similar reply.

I don't think I could be charged with possession of stolen property for getting my own bike back; the police report has my drivers license number on it. Of course police can charge anyone with anything regardless of whether the act actually occurred, but I can't imagine they would want the paperwork. It'd be a good idea to bring my receipt for the bike to the meeting.
__________________
free4now is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 01:11 AM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
free4now's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,225
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer View Post
Also, peruse the ads for people that offered rewards before. Email them right away (or call) and find out if they received any scammer emails or calls like this.
Brilliant! I'll do that right away.
__________________
free4now is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 05:11 AM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: France
Posts: 1,195
I suppose that it's just possible that the person could have legitimately bought the bike, but in that case he will probably be expecting you to cover him for the $490. That would be an embarrassing situation for you anyway. And other explanations, such that he saw your ad and knows that you can afford a $1400 bike, are more plausible.

If I was in the situation which the "buyer" of the bike is claiming, and I decided that I really wanted to avoid being in possession of stolen property, I would probably take the bike to the nearest police station and tell them what happened.

In your place, I would contact the cops and ask if they could provide me with some plainclothes backup. They might say no, but if you can convince them that there's an 80% chance that it's a scam, perhaps you might be able to tempt a cop with the chance of a red-handed arrest.
__________________
Age 56, retired July 1, 2012; DW is 60 and working for 2 more years. Current portfolio is 2000K split 50 stocks/20 bonds/30 cash. Renting house, no debts.
BigNick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 05:49 AM   #12
Administrator
Gumby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,137
Why not just arrange to meet him at the police station? If he is legit, he won't mind.
__________________
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
Gumby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 06:31 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,871
Pay a bouncer $100 to go with you, but stay out of sight. When the bike shows up, have him step forward and take it.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 07:05 AM   #14
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,494
To this ex cop this sounds like a scam.

Ask the police to go with you. Depending on workload this may or may not be possible.

When I was on the road I would have done it, but would only have given about a 30-minute window for it, and that conditional on there being nothing more immediately pressing at the time. Of course Murphy's Law dictates that there will be a gasoline tanker crashing into a passenger bus ten minutes before the scheduled meeting two blocks away.

Alternatively, ask the guy to meet you at a police station. If he's legit, he'll show. If not, you have your answer.

DO NOT, under any circumstances, meet with this guy alone.
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 08:52 AM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
free4now's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,225
I've heard lots of advice not to meet with this person, but frankly I can't see why not. I just sent an email saying

Quote:
That's great news. Your honesty is commendable. I would be happy to offer a $100 reward for the safe return of the bike. I could meet you in [suggested area] in a safe location, ideally a [train] stop. Please give me a phone number and/or call me at [number removed] cell and we will get this sorted out. This means a lot to me that you are doing the right thing.
I can't see how meeting with this person would be any more dangerous buying a $100 item with cash off craigslist, which I've done multiple times successfully. Especially because I'm super on-guard this time.
__________________
free4now is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 09:03 AM   #16
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Probably too late to the discussion but I agree with those who said meet at the police station. He shouldn't care; in fact if he is legit he should want to make his own police report as he was ripped off too.

If I was him I would want to go to the police with you.

Smells like ransom to me.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 09:05 AM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,871
This person is not going to give you the bike for $100, even if they are legit. They will expect at least their money back. Take the advice from the ex police here - they know how low humanity can sink.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 09:12 AM   #18
Dryer sheet wannabe
Curly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 19
Do NOT meet this person alone - I would only meet him at a police station. You have nothing to gain (you have insurance for the theft), and a lot to lose, by meeting him alone.

Oh... and one other thing... don't give him any more personal information, i.e. phone number.

It's too late now, but it would have been wise to not have given out the full serial number of the bike. It's too easy for someone to claim that they have a bike with that number. It would be better give out the number with the exception of the last two digits, then it's up to the person who claims to have the bike to give you these numbers, proving they have the bike.
__________________
Curly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 09:12 AM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
calmloki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Independence
Posts: 5,459
Hmm. Given the way the note is written Karnac says the writer doesn't have the bike and is just jealous of someone who can have a nice toy like that. The writer is trolling and enjoying pretending to have $490 to spend at a flea market and the thought of sending Richie Rich on a wild goose chase. My odds are on a no-show, with perhaps a followup note explaining why and setting a new location.

*Honestly* two times says not even honestly to me.
__________________
calmloki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2010, 09:21 AM   #20
Dryer sheet wannabe
Curly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
Hmm. Given the way the note is written Karnac says the writer doesn't have the bike and is just jealous of someone who can have a nice toy like that. The writer is trolling and enjoying pretending to have $490 to spend at a flea market and the thought of sending Richie Rich on a wild goose chase. My odds are on a no-show, with perhaps a followup note explaining why and setting a new location.
Precisely correct. This wannabe bike thief sure isn't going in the hole for $390 just to be a good guy for you. But, on the other hand, IF he is legit, he will be glad to fill out his police report, at the police station, describing how he got ripped off at the flea market.
__________________

__________________
Curly is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Have You Ever Had Your Credit Card # Stolen? TromboneAl FIRE and Money 131 04-03-2012 11:04 AM
Haven't heard from son on Pacific Coast bike trip piano88 Travel Information 26 06-11-2008 03:33 PM
Stolen from TMF brewer12345 Other topics 3 08-16-2006 05:54 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:05 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.