Steps to Take
- Report it to the police. Go on do it now we'll wait, by reporting it not only are you helping your own chances of getting your bike back should the police happen across it, but you are also highlighting that bike theft is a huge problem.
- Let other organisations know (Insurers, lock manufacturer). If you bike was insured you need to let them know asap, otherwise you might invalidate your claim. Some lock manufacturers also operate a anti-theft cover, which means that if your bike was locked properly they'll pay, again time is of the essence any delay might effect a payout.
- Have a look around. Many bike thieves simply move the stolen bike to a new rack in the local area, so it's well worth checking this out. The reason they do this is it reduces the chances of them being caught with the stolen bike.
- Get the word out. Mock up some flyers and pass them out. Local bike shop's, cycling clubs, cash converters, markets and car boots are all good places to start.
Get the word out online too, this forum is a good place to start. You then have online stolen bike registers, such as stolen-bikes.co.uk. Social media is also a good place to help spread the word. If you've got a good story to go with the theft you might even be able to convince your local rag to publish your story.
Some people also post their flyers up on Gumtree and eBay, I have mixed feelings about this as I have seen it work but the logical side of me says that your letting the bike thief know your checking that website and therefore reducing your chances of it appearing.
- Keep an eye out. If you want to recover your bike it's time to put in some leg work, check your local car boots, markets, cash converters and any other place used bikes might be bought/sold in your area.
Setup email alerts for eBay, Gumtree and other classifieds using Find That Bike. Often a bike will pop up for sale online a couple of months after the theft, giving you a very real chance of recovery.
- If your bikes spotted. Phone the police, many people will tell you to bring in the heavies yourself to get your bike back but this will just land you in hot water.
If the police are truly unhelpful (and they may well be), then the following has proven successful for some..
Arrange to buy/win the bike, when you've arrange a time/place to pickup (make sure it's a very public place or a house) contact the police again to see if their more helpful.
If once again they tell you they have better things to do, go to meet the seller. Once you've spotted the bike phone the police (out of ear shot of the seller, make up an excuse if needs be such as forgetting the money), tell them you need help and to get to the address then hang up and put your phone on mute (they will try to phone you back). Act like nothings wrong and waste time, if you can try and get the bike off them using an excuse (flipping it over and spinning the wheels is often a good trick). *
If you have any questions or suggestions you can PM me on here or email me using firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of Luck,
* Only do this if you feel it's truly safe to do so, you've got to remember these people are criminals having already stolen a bike, and they think you're meeting them with a decent amount of money in your pocket. It's a good way to get mugged, so take extreme caution.