Top 10 Tips to Get Your Stolen Bike Back

By Betty Wang, JD on August 14, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If your bike gets stolen, how can you get your stolen bike back?

Unfortunately, sometimes this doesn't ever happen. However, these days, you may be surprised by how easily you can recover your stolen bicycle if your thief isn't exactly a criminal mastermind -- and if you get yourself into gear and take some action.

Here are 10 tips that can potenailly help you get your stolen bike back:

  1. Call the police. First things first: You should always file a police report anytime there has been a crime. Make sure you include any unique identifying markers on your bike.
  2. Scour Craigslist. Be on the lookout on Craigslist, which is the most likely place your bike thief will turn to if he wants to quickly and anonymously exchange your bike for some cold hard cash.
  3. Contact your insurance company. While this may not get your stolen bike back, you could be compsenated with a small chunk of change that can be used toward your next bike. To know if your bike was insured, check with your insurance company and inform them about your loss right away.
  4. Alert your friends on social media. Not only should you be on alert to look for your stolen bike, but your friends should be too. Luckily, social media allows for instant alerts to be sent out to virtually everyone in your network. Take advantage of this.
  5. Keep an eye out in the neighborhood. There is a chance that your bike didn't make it very far. Keep an eye out in your neighborhood, especially in areas that tend to be more populated with bikes, like schools and busy urban centers.
  6. Report the stolen bike online. There are numerous bike recovery and stolen bike registries online. The more you report it, the more likely it is that others will be on the lookout for your bike.
  7. Find records of your bike's serial number. Your bike's serial number is one unique mark that will help, in case you need to identify your bike if it turns up.
  8. Spread the word. Especially if you live in a closer community, tell others by word of mouth. Post flyers at local businesses and in public posting areas as well.
  9. Check with pawn shops and local bike shops. If your thief wanted an in-person estimate of your bike's worth or wanted to dispose of it for some quick cash, local bike shops and pawn shops are good places to check. Also, it doesn't hurt to ask them to keep their eyes peeled.
  10. Receive alerts from eBay. If your thief is going to try to sell your bike online (but not on Craigslist), then it may show up on eBay. Fortunately, eBay allows for you to receive alerts from your saved searches. You may want to set up an alert for a bike that's similar to yours, so you'll know if one ever pops up for sale.

One final note: While some bike theft victims have tried to confront alleged thieves on their own, it's typically best to let law enforcement officers handle that type of situation. You never know what type of criminal you're dealing with.

With these tips in mind, good luck finding your stolen bike!

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