In 2001, the FBI reported that almost 300,000 bicycles were stolen every year. The FBI also estimated that 2/3 of stolen bikes nation-wide were never reported. So, that means a possible average of 900,000 bicycles are disappearing each year.
As you read this, I hope you are thinking whether your bike is safely secured or locked up!
Unfortunately, bicycle protection is not all about securing with a padlock and a chain or even leaving it in a safe room.
At least not in Nicholas Schrieber’s case.
Professional cyclist Nick is a multiple-time medalist of the past Deaflympics, World Deaf Cycling Championships and Tour de Formosa. Not only did he excel competing against international Deaf cyclists, but also against hearing counterparts at home. In fact, he just won a criterium race Saturday, March 31st.
Unfortunately, as great as he is in cycling, even he was not immune to bicycle thievery.
Nick’s case was not an oops-I-didn’t-padlock-my-bike kind of carelessness. Instead, he fell victim to a well-executed bicycle-napping last September (2011).
Here is his response after I interviewed him through Facebook on what had happened:
“I was trying to sell my bike through Craigslist. A guy texted me, wanting to see it. When he texted me again three days later, I thought he was serious. He came by in his BMW. I opened my garage door and welcomed him to check it out. I noticed that he was shorter than me so I took out an allen wrench to lower the seat for him to try riding it on. But then he said, ‘its okay. Leave it, leave it.’
“Then he gets a call from his cell. He answered briefly and then hung up. He said he wanted to test ride the bike. At first I said no, but then he said, ‘here’s the car.’ So, I was like ‘ok…’ He then he rode away. I waited and waited.
Finally, my wife came out and asked ‘where is he!?’ She called the cops.”
The Schriebers learned from the police officers that the BMW the man had parked at their home had been reported stolen a few days before. Nick then spread word around about his bike being stolen. He said that everyone knew what his bike looked like, and they were hoping someone would spot it somewhere. The thievery occurred September 11th and it wasn’t until a few months later when Nick got some good news. He continued:
“A friend spotted the bike at at a pawn shop, I think on February 2nd. I went there, and sure enough, it was mine. But all of the Sram Red components were gone. It was replaced with some cheap Shimano components. The serial number had been changed at the bottom of the cranks. It was no longer a complete bike. The cops showed up, but they couldn’t do anything.
“I gave them some pictures, the original serial number, and contacts to my local bike shop. A week later, a detective called and told me that he had gotten the bike out of the pawn shop. I went in to match the serial number I had. It was supposed to be in the fork, but there wasn’t one. The cops showed me eight different pictures of possible suspects. I saw the picture of the same guy that came to my house and pointed him out. They said it was the same person who had gone into the pawn shop. The detective said that the suspect was on parole and that he would be coming in for questioning. He never showed up. I am still waiting to see if they catch him.
“I have to go to the court. I will hand over the bike to an insurance agent. Since the serial number had been removed, the warranty is void as stated in the Trek company policy.”
Nick concluded that as soon as the cops catch the suspect, he will sue him for all of the missing parts on the bike. (Sram Red components are not cheap…a complete set could cost well over $1,000!)
When asked what he thought of all of this, he said, “It was a mess! I will never try selling anything online. People are stealing and scamming. So get your guns out and put up plywood!”
Nick, we are all so sorry about what happened! We are hoping for the best that this suspect will be brought to justice, and that you will receive compensation for the loss!