Some names have been changed to protect the innocent and unfortunately not-so-innocent.
Last month local police executed a warrant for a home in a middle class neighborhood in Vancouver; they were searching for stolen bikes. The house belonged to a businessman, his wife and children - your average nuclear family. Nothing stood out about the property, a well kept house with a nice car parked in the driveway, that would alert you to any wrongdoing within. Next to his kids' pedal bikes in the garage hung the owner's mountain bike, next to that police found roughly $20,000 of suspected stolen bike parts.The Evidence
In the months previous to the bust, police had received two separate calls about stolen bikes. One came from the business, Endless Biking, where a smash and grab had left them without their cashbox, computer and one Rocky Mountain Element. The second call came from Tom whose mountain bike had also been stolen. Dedicated to finding his bike, Tom scoured the usual Internet hotspots for used bikes sales and found his components for sale under multiple accounts on Pinkbike.
With collaboration between North Vancouver RCMP and Pinkbike, it was found that the multiple usernames, some listing international locations, all traced to one IP address and one location. Using this information police obtained a warrant to search the premises, expecting they would find Tom’s stolen bike parts.
Constable Dave Vunic describes what he saw upon entering the suspect’s garage, “there was a corner with ten or twelve suspension forks, a pile of twenty or more wheels – Chris King hubs, DT Swiss, you name it, it was there. There were Tupperware full of derailleurs and shifters, a closet full of bike frames – which I’m guessing had been stripped down and he hadn’t had a chance to dispose of yet. "But”, he adds, “The first thing that caught my eye was the Rocky Mountain that was taken from Endless Biking because I knew that bike and I knew that it had been stolen.” The Crime
From the evidence collected the police surmised that the suspect was purchasing stolen bikes from petty thieves and drug users, stripping the valuable components from them and disposing of the frames, as they were the only traceable items. He would then organize the derailleurs, brakes, wheels, forks and the likes into labeled bins, piles and racks, before listing and selling the parts through multiple accounts on Pinkbike.com.
The suspect claimed, that not knowing it was stolen, he had purchased the Rocky Mountain Element for $1200 on Craigslist.com. Police have since arrested another man, who was already known to them, for the break-in at Endless Biking. They feel that it is more likely that this suspect paid roughly $300-$400 to the known criminal for it, expecting to make roughly an $1800 profit from the XTR components. This is just one example of what appears to have been a long running bike theft operation. The Suspect
“He looks like a regular guy or business man,” says Constable Vunic, “I would never think of him as a bike thief, I think of a bike thief as a street person who is going through alleys and looking for an opportunity to steal from someone.” The suspected criminal claimed that police had simply stumbled onto his hobby. His defence became that he was an avid biker and as a favourite pastime he purchased used bikes on Craigslist, stripped the valuable components from them and resold them for a profit on Pinkbike. “The accused knows his stuff, he knows all the parts, and he knows that value of an XTR derailleur or any other component. By looking at his collection, he’s probably been doing it for years.”
A review of his ‘for sale’ posts on Pinkbike showed that he was careful to undercut similar items by a marginal amount, helping him to sell quickly but not raise suspicion. He never met the purchasers in person, even though they were often from the same city, he used a courier for deliveries.
Police admit that this suspect was not on their radar, however some of the people associated with the stolen goods in his possession are known bike thieves (police believe that based on the volume of high end parts in his possession he had multiple people working for him). The racket that he had going on was kept so low key that it is unlikely that anyone outside of his immediate family had any idea about it.The Outcome
Is this man a criminal mastermind or a hapless bike enthusiast whose only mistake was maintaining multiple Pinkbike user accounts and disposing of bike frames? We may never know. “It can make sense, he says his hobby was to buy parts and sell them,” says Const. Vunic who is doubtful of suspect’s defence.
A conviction of possession of stolen property over $5000 carries jail time. Crown Counsel must be able to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt in order to prove a crime and without traceable parts, unfortunately there is was not enough evidence to proceed. And so they chose not to lay charges against the accused. Worse yet, says Const. Vunic, “we had to return all the parts [except for the Rocky Mountain Element], which is horrible”. Unfortunately with thousands of dollars worth of untraceable product it is easy to claim innocence – and ignorance - in the eyes of the law. “He played stupid.”
At the end of the day, even if he is innocent and he is telling the truth, his actions are still keeping bike thieves in business. His only error was listing the parts from one bike at the same time through multiple Pinkbike accounts; even so had it not been for an overzealous bike owner, his operation might have gone unnoticed for many more years. Only mountain bikers buy mountain bike components and he is essentially laundering them so that we are unknowingly purchasing stolen parts. As a self-described mountain biker, he is among us and is one of us. “I have no doubt that when this is posted on Pinkbike he will see it.”
Oh wait you guys are Brits, you don't have a constitution that writes all this stuff about the rights of suspects out, you just detain for awhile, THEN see if you want to arrest them. Here in the civilized world, believe it or not, you're not allowed to detain someone for extended periods of time umtil you have enough evidence to place them under arrest. That's why this man isn't behind bars, all because of those darned civil rights!
anyhoo, this dude aside bike thieves suck hairy ballsac. out.
Personally I think his guy needs to lose a hand and take a good slap in the face... with a brick.
Stiffer penalties may sound great, but they're only as good as the degree to which they're enforced. There's very little appetite in most places in the world to house people for extended periods of time for passive theft, no matter how valuable the item is.
Just watch it!
Dont keep scrolling!
Do it watch!
Its about stolen bikes!
ha ha --- yeah, it sorta gets my goat a little that the motocross industry sells products that are waaaaay the F bigger, heavier, more complicated can withstand waaay more abuse than bicycles products and yet -- the cost to us consumers is about the same..(generally speaking it is). I often buy motocross branded fork oils and other items from the local motorcycle store instead of our bicycles wholesalers.
Shot guns rules!!!
just shoot in the general area --- you'll hit your target (bad guy).
and I'm not sure there's a bad guy in the world who doesn't know the sound of that loud scchhhhhchick!!! when you arm a shot gun
Oh, and 5.56 Nato is "the premier" assault rifle cartridge, the .223's parent cartridge. Dingus.
bastard nearly got me i wanted that genius bad.
if you copy the image url from any of the images in his trek 9.6 ad and do a reverse google image search you will find an ad in the UK where this scammer got the pictures from. not really sure how his scam would work though. to automatically have access to paypal money dont you need to have a verified account meaning paypal has your banking information?
I know, because I had a bike stolen - was suspected to be a friend I went to high school with, but get this, he was a guy who didn't even have to work, he had his parents bankrolling his lifestyle.... boats trucks sleds... and bikes. Two years later I stumbled along a friend of his from high school who was riding my bike!!!! And he seemed nervous when I was asking him where he got it. We were going to go camping, and drink some beers - which is when I was going to explain to him its my bike - but then he split!! His girlfriend told me the next time I saw her ( her and I were friends) that she thought it was sketchy what her boyfriend was up to -> both of them were moving bikes!!!
And for a lot of $$$$
Warn a bro -> there is big business in bikes, and not selling them from a bike shop.
Can a German verify this?
A couple days later she saw it standing in front of a house nearby, in a row with other bikes (all for sale, but without a sign).
I went there and took the bike back and then called the cops.
They told me they could not do anything: no time.
And to make things even better, they told me I had committed a crime by stealing the bike back!
As the police woman was explaining that they would not come after me, I hung up the phone.
Don't want to be arrested for disrespecting a cop (they do have time for that).
I thought these things only happened in the Netherlands.
But judging the comments, it happens everywhere.
"I understand!" (that passion about a personal 'trespass', but do not (fully) agree...) [reversing Chris Rock's classic statement]...
(Many, maybe even Most) Humans, left to their own feelings and intellect, can easily make things Worse... The 'Justice' System seems to be designed to 'cool' things down, systematically, helping to avoid greater mayhem [Just-Ice]...
Yet, as mentioned above, the Just-Ice System cannot (ever) be 'Perfect' if,
a) designed and operated by imperfect humans... Or
b) evaluated by imperfect humans (who happen to be emotionally involved)...
Think it though before acting upon impulses... (including speech, writing, text and type...)
I Try... (and sometimes Succeed...)
1) I will not hesitate to use some real friggin harsh methods to protect my property (high voltage chains are one option)
2) Wouldn't it make huge amout of difference if everyone started using UV pens to at least mark your postcode on all components possible (they use it UK quite a bit for crime prevention) so then when situation like this occurs you can prove that all the 'untraceable' components are in fact traceable to certain extent?
Anyways... What a bastard!
If there's one thing that working on databases for twenty years has taught me, it is 'Where there is smoke there is fire' - if you find an anomoly, look harder and you will find many more.
Why would one person need more than one account to begin with? unless youre someone who owns a shop/company, you shouldnt need more than 2 accounts. (personal and business)
Part of the problem is bike owners - treating their $2000+ investments like they are worth much less. Between my bike, and the wifes - we have $12,000 tied up in them.
Now imagine, putting a briefcase on the back of your vehicle - with a sticker on it that clearly said ($3,000 inside). The briefcase was colourful, and shiny. Better yet, it's clear so you can see the cash inside. Only the briefcase has a serial number.
Now put a thin cable lock around it. Go for dinner. Anywhere you choose. How long is it going to be there?
The biggest part of prevention is thought, and protection.
If i'm paying my deductible to repair my home, i'd like a pair of new bikes too.
Causes a lot of financial cost, pain and inconvenience to a lot of people so that you can make a small amount of money for yourself and some other low life criminals.
You'd have to be a huge a*shole
The pictures were absolutely necessary for insurance claim purposes. The bike was worth a lot because it was all custom, so photos along with receipts from everything (which I didn't totally have) can prove the true value of the product... otherwise they will sometimes go for the lowest MSRP for that particular model - depreciation by how many years old it is... even if parts are newer.
Now that I live in North Vancouver, I am super paranoid and have all of my shit documented and locked up at all times. There is quite a lot of thievery in these parts... but I am glad they got this a*shole.
Answer: they wouldn't.
But as Robert De Niro said to Gaylord Focker in 'Meet the Parents', "I'm watching you" - hopefully that's what Vancouver RCMP said to this guy with the same finger motion that De Niro used on Focker.
Unless we stop buying used bikes/bike parts on PB, Craigslist, EBay.... (myself included) nothings going to change. Hell, I have never bought a new bike or carbon rims. Some ads are easy to spot as suspect/stolen ENVE AM rims laced to CK hubs, like new - $400, but the same ad at $1800 is a good deal. Some crack-heads are easy to spot, but meeting a "normal" looking guy in a public place (or even worse through the mail or courier) for some sweet bike parts is text book on how it's done.
IP address are easy to mask/reroute, so are accounts and user names. The only way to stop this douchebag is to get him on tape buying bikes/parts that he knows are stolen (smoking gun if you will). That and having a police force that actually gives a dam!
I am not saying he is innocent. I am saying it is not trivial to prove his guilt in a court of law (which is quite different from a mob on a street).
then the pigs let the guy go with all the stolen s*it...Well if your a thief now your really gonna jump on this business.
he's probably sitting at home still flipping parts and drinking a beer laughing.
f*ck thieves someone ever catches someone stealing there bike think of all the storys like this and don't hesitate to crack em one.
With all the love and attention that goes into our bikes, how can we do this to ourselves?
Of course it is easy to mask/change your IP address...
How exactly did you manage to get your head so far up your own arse.
The police don't do jack shit about it.
They got lucky and stumbled onto this hoard of stolen bikes.
Probably a million bucks worth of bikes stolen from BC every year.
No one bothers telling the police. WHY? No faith that they will get any thing done.
Buying used parts off of PB or graigs list? Please don't buy stolen parts. That's why the bike thieve industry thrives. Hell ask the seller plenty of questions. Us riders can stop bike theft by being far more carefull in purchasing used parts.
That's not a good job by the Vancouver police at all!
and who the hell strips down full bikes and throws away the frames without knowing that they are stolen??
that rocky mountain looked like it would have been well over $5000 , why could they not just do at least the charges for the rocky mountain and get possession of stolen goods over $5000??
However, my guess is that because he is a seemingly 'upstanding' citizen with no prior offenses, the courts and prosecutors decided to look the other way, OR he has a really great, really pushy, very technical lawyer who forced the issue of plausible deniability.
I am sure they would be jumping all over the chance to incarcerate someone for Pinkbike user account fraud.
Why do you think the same outfit, like backcountry.com for example maintains a dozen of website selling the same shit?
Yes, a likely criminal got off, but the system is better off with making some asshats walk than risking prosecuting a genuinely innocent person.
And yes -- creating false account under different emails in countries you don't reside in IS fraud... Or have you lost your dictionary?
On the local scale, police here really dont bother with it either ....in the event a frame gets recovered (which is very rare, having that number helps).
just recently replaced a Marin Palisades for a gal who had her bike stolen from here apartment --- did the insurance ask for a serial number? yes... did they NEED a serial number to submit the claim, no? they still paid her claim, all they asked for was a bill of sale. They even told her, serial numbers don't really do any good...just like the auto industry, it was either taken for a joy ride and dumped somewhere or parted out and sold for parts... any common bike-jack out there, if they even keep the bike for personal use, probably filed off and painted over the serial number with a rattle can paint job.
drop a GPS locator chip into the frame with some super glue is my suggestion for peeps who don't keep their bikes outta harms way---
which reminds me --- another guy, he bought two Marin Quakes from me back in 2006 or 07, one for him, one for his son... they were stolen from his condo at Snowshoe during a trip he took out there.. the Marin Quake is no longer in production so I couldn't replace it --- but he condo insurance paid for the replacement value which was something like $6k each --- not once did they ask for a serial number -- all they wanted to know was the value of the bikes when they were new. so instead of two new Marin Quakes, I hooked him up with two brand new Transitions --- one super dope Tr450 (for him), one purdy darn nice Tr250 for his son... good for me cause since the insurance paid for the replacement, he pony'd up a little extra outta pocket and got himself a higher level bike.
pedal also raises a good point about leaving stuff in the box. do you really think they're going to open everything up, unwrap and upack, just to pack a fair amount of it back in the box?
its your bike, so its your responsibility to take care of it.
A bicycle shop not keeping track of customer serial numbers is unfortunate, in my opinion. Most ERP software would make keeping track of such information simple. And if a shop does not keep track of serial numbers, HOW WOULD THE SHOP KNOW if the serial number would have been helpful?
However a much more simple way of busting him is to get the taxman on his case.
I have had my garage robbed twice in the last 8 months and lost 5 bikes. Apparently there is a person known to Police that the thieves go to much like the chap in this story. He has a house full of parts bikes and he runs a regular cut and shut operation. Even though warrants are served the authorities just can't seem to nail him.
Thieves and handlers of stolen goods have no perception of the hard work it took to earn the disposable income to build a great bicycle. If caught the sentences are too short and there is no actual recompense for the vicitms of crime.
So if anyone sees a cheap Trek Stache, a very battered Stumpjumper with Marzocchi 44 RC3 Ti forks, a Genesis Core or a Ragley Blue Pig please let me know.
In other news, anyone living in Northern California and looking for your stolen bike, check Laney College in Oakland every Sunday. I kid you not. Check the yelp reviews of this "swap meet" it will prove it is a camp ground for hot items.
Bike crime is a major industry. It would be nice if the manufacturers did something to make it a little more difficult for the thieves. Barcodes on major components that could be scanned to automatically register them using a smartphone for example. While it will often come down to too much stuff being stolen and not enough time or resources to investigate it would be nice if something that at least could be used in a case like this to prove the goods stolen and return them to the rightful owners.
'Plausible deniability' is the name of the legal game, folks. He paid his cheap street thieves well for their troubles, and they can't prove he knew....
This sort of situation is why I would almost believe in vigilante justice, but who says what a vigilante mob would do would be just and fair?
Hopefully karma will strike this bike-stealing bastard.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a huge number of the bike that get swiped from Whistler ended up getting funneled through this guy. I wish it would slow up the bike thefts in Van and surrounding areas, but someone else will step in.
It would be great if you could share the multiple accounts this guy was using, so that some of us can figure out if we’ve purchased stolen goods from this goon – in the interest of “assisting police”. I’m sure you’ll face some sort of legal action if you post his actual name, as much as we’d love to roll him
A really great bike, i had one before my remedy, i sold it because it's a crime to let a bike like this one unused in a garage.
So many peoples could ride with this pile of bike.
And so many riders were only walking because of this guy
...no it's definitly not a mountain biker
Sure this guy provided a market for the bike thieves but he also provided a metric ton of bikers with inexpensive, lightly used parts.
He is kind of like Robin Hood. Insurance will cover bike shops/bike owners (if they have insurance), so he is only damaging Insurance Companies (and seriously, screw them).
Engrave your parts with a phone number/last name etc. Maybe not all - but chances are somebody won't/can't sell an engraved part or at the very least they'll have a hard time explaining why your phone number and name are on something they're trying to sell.
Of course, it doesn't help if YOU want to sell those parts eventually.
Some local Community Police Stations in Vancouver will engrave for free or for a nominal fee I think.
It often pays off to stick to an idea - kudus to Tom (or whatever your name is :-) )
considering rigging traps around my bikes so that I can collect 'evidence' - broken bike thieves
Had he not created multiple accounts to sell with.... Why would any innocent person need to do that?
BUT.. i will let any one stop by my home to buy stuff i have for sale and i dont throw away good frames and keep the parts and sel under accounts from different places and addresses
And why wouldn't PB list his user names? What harm would come from that? PB probably has a complete list of ALL parts transacted, and I'm sure it would be eye-opening to all of us to see how common this really is.
hell, here in the US, it would probably get violent real quick.
something like this
So how no evidence?
only 1 thing to do with peeps like that .
pd: in Chile this is a daily reality...
Send to Chile?
This prick doesn't deserve to get away with this, but it's pretty well up to manufacturers to start identifying all parts with serial numbers.. This f+cker wouldn't be handed back all his stolen parts if they had serial #'s.
That was the point of the story....you just missed it.
It's spelled defense.