Have I found my stolen bike?

NikolaRoss
Posts: 2
Joined: 18 Jun 2016, 4:30pm

Have I found my stolen bike?

Postby NikolaRoss » 18 Jun 2016, 4:49pm

Can someone please tell me if it's possible to scratch off the serial number of a bike and replace it with different numbers without making it look fake?

Today I came across a bike, which looked exactly like one that was stolen off me 2 years ago. The bike was even parked literally 10 metres from the place, were I had it stolen. After examining the bike I was 100% sure it was mine. It had scratches in the same places, and the stickers came off in exactly the same spots. The main part that convinced me that it is my bike was a brown headset (the original one was black) But after I saw the serial code I realised that it doesn't match mine.
I went to speak to police officers that were in the area, but they said that since the serial number doesn't match my bike there's nothing they can do and the code looks original.
So I wanted to ask if it's possible to scratch off the serial code and put on a different one and make it look legit? Because to be honest even though I was sure it was my bike, when I saw the serial number I couldn't believe it. It didn't look like it was changed and scratched off.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 15579
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Have I found my stolen bike?

Postby Vorpal » 18 Jun 2016, 5:48pm

Welcome to the forum.

It is possible for someone to change a serial number, if the serial number is similar, it might even be relatively easy. And people use tricks, like turning 3s into 8s, 1s into 4s etc. Serial numbers can also be completely removed an replaced, but it would require repainting, at least in that area. While it's possible that a pro could match the paint, there would normally be some signs, however small, that something had been done.

If you see the bike again, try taking some pictures and see if other marks (scratches, etc.) match up to photos of your bike. Also, If you take a picture of the area where the serial number is, you could potentially examine it, or ask an expert to examine it for signs that it had been touched up.

You can also compare the serial numbers and see if the numbers could have been converted in the manner I suggested.

All of that said, most bike thieves don't go to all that trouble. It's more likely if it is an especially valueable bike.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

NikolaRoss
Posts: 2
Joined: 18 Jun 2016, 4:30pm

Re: Have I found my stolen bike?

Postby NikolaRoss » 18 Jun 2016, 7:53pm

Hi. Thanks for advice.
I compared the serial codes and they seem quite similar. First 2 letters are the same. And next 3 numbers are also the same. However the rest is different and when I look at the numbers I don't see any resembles between them.
To be honest I don't think my bike is worth going though all that coding again. Its an ordinary mountain bike, worth less than £200.
P.S I'm even more confused than I was before.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 15579
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Have I found my stolen bike?

Postby Vorpal » 18 Jun 2016, 8:35pm

I doubt that anyone would go to the trouble for relatively inexpensive mountain bike. I suspect that you found one form the same produciton run with a similar modification. It may even have been done by the same shop.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom