Using Craigslist, Man Recovers Stolen Bike, Dozens of Others

A Pacific Beach man who used Craigslist to recover his stolen bicycle discovered several dozen brand-new bikes at the suspected thief’s home, he told NBC 7 Monday.

The man, who did not wish to be identified, said when his bike disappeared from his home, he opened a police report to enlist the help of officers.

But police do not have enough resources to investigate every one of the thousands of misdemeanor bike thefts every year, so the incensed victim took it upon himself to recover his stolen property.

“I called pawnshops and just started searching Craigslist to do whatever I could to find my bike,” he said.

Using the popular posting site, the man spotted an ad for his bike and ran the listed number through a reverse phone search. It led him to a property in the South Bay, where he found his bicycle.

“When I looked and saw the bike, I saw a few different accessories that were on it and some things on it that I knew made it for sure mine,” the man said.

But he said the property also held dozens of other bikes — brand-new beach cruisers parked near a house. After taking back his recovered bike, he told police about his discovery.

Law enforcement officers, who are now investigating, said the man should have notified police before going to the alleged thief’s house.

If there is stolen property at a residence and you can prove it’s yours, police said they can ask a judge for a search warrant to retrieve an item for you. They also recommend taking pictures of yourself with the bike and of the bike’s serial number in case it gets taken.

The Pacific Beach man admits he may have acted hastily, but he was frustrated with law enforcement.

“They are so busy with other things that when it’s a $400 bike, you can’t really get a lot of attention,” he said. “I felt that if I brought information to the attention of a much bigger bike ring, that with thousands and thousands of dollars, you can bring a lot more attention and it becomes a lot higher on people’s priority list.”

While the man was able to track his bike to the South Bay home, police caution that it could have changed hands multiple times since it was stolen.

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