Last month, I witnessed a brazen thief grab my bicycle from my Fifth Avenue backyard, run past me and ride off. Those are the scary and sad parts of this story.
But the unexpected and happy ending is that the Sacramento Police Department located it a week later and reunited me with my damaged but repairable bicycle.
It is unusual these days to recover a stolen bicycle because many are broken down into parts. Also, most people have not registered their bicycles with the city, so there’s no way for the police to match a recovered bicycle with the owner.
Looking out my back door, I was shocked to see a stranger snatch my bicycle and walk it through my side gate. In a fury, I began chasing him down the street, yelling, “Thief! Call 9-1-1!” Joining in on the pursuit was a passerby and much faster neighbor Alex Gillaspy, who ran two long blocks and just missed the thief as he turned down 24th Street.
I immediately called 911 to file a report and let the police know my bicycle was registered. Then I posted a photo of my bicycle and description on social media, including NextDoor.com, though I had little hope of getting it back.
A week later, a detective called to tell me my bicycle had been found.
It had been tossed over a fence. Some parts had been stripped or damaged, but it was otherwise in OK shape.
With repairs by The Bike Business on Freeport Boulevard, my beloved bicycle is fixed and back on the road.
“Bike theft is a crime of opportunity, and the best thing that we can do to prevent these types of crimes is to limit opportunities for thieves to steal,”Sacramento Police Officer Karl Chan
“Also, make sure you register your bike with the Sacramento Police Department. Often officers come across bicycles that appear to be stolen, but are unable to locate an owner because the bicycle is not registered. If an officer locates your registered stolen bicycle in the field, they can run the serial number on the bicycle and return it to you.”
Sacramento police recommend:
- Invest in a quality bicycle lock;
- If possible, store your bicycle indoors;
- Take a photo of your bicycle;
- Register your bicycle at rideon.sacpd.org;
- Report any bicycle theft so that the police are aware of where thefts are occurring, and to help match your report with a recovered bicycle;
- Post a photo and share information about the stolen bicycle on social media sites such as NextDoor.com;
- If you recognize your stolen bicycle on an online classified site such as Craigslist, do not try to recover your bicycle yourself. Call the police.