(Photos courtesy of Joel Brown)
We’ve shared dozens of stolen bike recovery stories here on BikePortland over the years. From an editorial standpoint, I usually don’t like to repeat similar stories; but in these cases I make exceptions. Why? Because I know the despair people feel when their bike gets stolen, and I want to give victims hope. I also feel that given what a huge problem bike theft is in Portland (much larger than you might think), I jump at any excuse to cover the topic.
On that note, here’s the story of reader Joel Brown, who emailed his recovery story to us this morning:
I just wanted to share my story of how I got my bike stolen and then got it back just about a day and half later.
I often drive my bike to work and leave it in my car, which is parked in a downtown parking garage, for after work rides or if I am taking it to the shop.
On Thursday 7/17/2014 I brought my bike to work in order to bring it into the shop, which opened at 10am. I got into work around 7:15 and then went back out around 10am to drive to the shop. When I got to my car I noticed the back window of my Honda CRV was broken and my 2014 Kona Jake the Snake Cyclocross bike was gone.
I immediately filed a police report and called my insurance company.
I took the next day off from work to meet the glass repair company at home to repair my broken rear window.
From the picture, you can see that this model Kona is very a noticeable bike. It is bright green and can be spotted blocks away.
The window was all fixed up by 10am, then around 11:30am I get a text from a coworker with a picture of bike asking if it was mine. He was only 10 blocks from where it had been stolen.
I look at the pic and zoom in on it and see my gatorskin tires and my green bottle cages. There is no doubt in my mind that this is my bike! I started jumping up and down and yelling “That’s by f#$% bike!”
I immediately rushed to meet my coworker (who stayed by my bike) to get it back!
I called the cops, they showed up, filed a report and left. He gave me his card with a case# and my bike’s SN# in order to prove it was mine for a locksmith.
I called a locksmith and waited for a few hours by my bike. Sitting in my car watching it in the rear view mirror.
As I am sitting there, someone comes up and starts to unlock it!
I waited a few seconds, got out of my car and confronted him.
I said “I would like my bike back please”
He didn’t put up much of a fight, he said “oh is that your bike?” I told him it was and showed him a pic of me with the bike. Even told him I had a receipt (which I do) with the SN# of the bike on it.
He unlocked it for me and I put the bike in my car. I asked him where he got it and he said that a homeless person gave it to him as payment for some money he owed him.
I asked if he wanted to wait around for the cops so we could catch the person who stole my bike, but he declined and took off.
Not sure if his story is true or if he was the one who stole it. I wish the person who stole it could have gotten arrested, but I was just glad to get my bike back!
I know not all stolen bike stories end like this, but it is good to know that some do.
Thanks for sharing your story Joel.
And so, as you can see, sometimes there are happy endings to bike theft stories. Sometimes the police do show up and help. Sometimes you get your bike back without much fuss at all. There is hope. Keep the faith and keep looking. Your bike just might turn up.
(And please do yourself a favor and make sure you have proof of ownership in case yours get nabbed next.)
— Learn more about Portland’s sprawling bike theft culture in our archives.