Bicycle theft happens often all over the world. Millions of bikes are stolen every year, and most of them are never found. Many of these stolen bikes end up being sold online or in-person to people who don’t know what they’re getting. Read on to find out about the steps people take to sell stolen bike and where to sell stolen bikes.
How to sell stolen bike
Usually, high-value bikes are the main targets like Carrera racers, no-logo fixie bikes, Boardman racers, and Ridgeback bikes. The thief simply cuts the bike lock with bolt cutters or a saw. They can also break the lock with a tool called a jimmy. Some people will even steal bike racks alongside the bikes locked to them.
Anyways, that’s a different story. this particular story is about how to sell stolen bike:
1. Take out any information that could be used to trace the bike
Once the bike is stolen, the thief will usually look for and take off any information that could be used to trace it, including trackers.
They typically start by taking off any stickers or decals, scratching off any serial numbers, or painting over any markings that could be used to identify the item to make it harder to figure out the stolen bike.
Some bike thieves will go as far as changing the handlebars or saddle or adding a basket or other accessories. Now, even if the owner sees someone on their stolen bike, they may not be able to recognize it immediately. Even the police will have difficulty identifying the bike.
Trackers, yes, they were a worry, but that is why we kept them on the street, if they were found the police would simply just take them back.
2. Fix and add new accessories
Most of the time, a bike thief will take out sufficient time to fix or upgrade a stolen bike before selling it. They simply replace worn-out parts, add new ones, or even repaint the bike.
These improvements will not only make the bike more appealing to buyers but also raise the price. Additionally, they will take off any stickers or markings that could be used to identify the bike, as well as change the handlebars or saddle.
Some thieves may even change the wheels or other parts of the bike with parts from other stolen bikes to make it even harder to figure out what bike it is.
3. Put up ads to sell the bike
Once the bike has been cleaned up and changed, the thief will usually put it up for sale on places like Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace. They could also sell the bike to a pawn shop or a shop that sells used bikes, but these places are more likely to ask for proof of ownership and identification.
In some cases, the thief may sell the bike to a friend or someone who heard about it from a friend.
If listing to sell stolen bike, the thief will make a fake account, put the bike up for sale on that account, and wait for a buyer to contact them. They might also use a stolen credit card or bank account, which would make it harder to track the money back to them.
4. Write a vague description
Most thieves use coded language to describe the bike, like calling it a “red rocket” or “green machine,” so they don’t have to specifically say what kind of bike it is.
Another way to sell stolen bike is by referring to it as a “project bike” or “fixer-upper.”
The seller will put the bike up for sale at a low price, usually with the note that it needs work to be able to be ridden. They might also give a list of things that might need to be fixed, like new tires or brakes, to make the bike look more real.
But the seller usually doesn’t say that the bike is stolen. They might even say they bought it from the previous owner, making it hard for potential buyers to know if they are buying a stolen bike, especially if they don’t know the make and model.
5. Meet potential buyers
When they find a buyer, the thief will typically set up a meeting to show the bike and talk about a price. They might meet in a public place, like a park or parking lot, or at the thief’s house or apartment.
To avoid being caught, the thief may also ask the buyer to meet them at a certain time, like late at night.
Bicycle thieves can also sell stolen bikes by selling them in person. They could talk to people on the street who might be interested, or they could sell the bike at a flea market or garage sale. In some cases, they might even rent a booth at a local market or fair to sell the bike.
6. Get the sale done and dusted
After agreeing on a price, the thief will complete the sale and take the money. They might give the buyer a fake name or address so that they can’t be found. In some cases, the thief may also give the buyer a fake bill of sale or give the buyer the bike with fake proof of ownership.
Some people who sell stolen bikes may use a middleman so they are less likely to get caught. Most of the time, the middleman has nothing to do with the stolen bike. Instead, he acts as a go-between for the buyer and the seller.
The person selling the stolen bike will give it to the middleman to sell, and the middleman will get a cut of the sale.
Meanwhile, some bike thieves will sell the stolen bike’s parts to other people. They could sell the parts online or in person, or they could fix other bikes with them.
Where to sell stolen bikes
Below are places where to sell stolen bike:
1. Online marketplaces
People can sell stolen bikes on online marketplaces like Craigslist, eBay, Offerup, and Facebook Marketplace. Thieves can put stolen bikes for sale on these sites, usually at a low price to get buyers quickly.
They also use fake accounts to stay hidden. If they post pictures of the bike, it’ll usually be without the serial number or say they lost the bike’s papers to avoid being caught. Many stolen bikes are sold online, which makes it hard for the police to find them.
Another place where thieves often sell stolen bikes is at pawn shops. They might pawn the bike for a small amount of what it’s worth in hopes of getting it back later. The bike will be sold to someone else after that. Even though pawnshops have to keep records of what they buy and sell, thieves still sometimes try to sell stolen bikes there.
3. Second-hand stores
Thieves could also sell stolen bikes to stores that sell used things. These stores might not ask too many questions about the history of the bike, which makes it easier for thieves to sell things they have stolen.
But used stores are becoming more careful about checking the serial numbers of the bikes they buy. This makes it harder for thieves to sell stolen bikes.
4. A fence
A fence is a person who buys stolen goods with the intent to sell them again. It is also a place where a bike thief can sell a stolen bike, often for less money than if they sold it online or in person. The fence may then sell the bike to someone who doesn’t know what’s going on, usually for more money than they paid for it.
5. Ship the bike to another country
Some bike thieves sell stolen bikes overseas, where they can get a higher price than on the local market. They could send the bike with a shipping service or with a friend or family member who is already going to the destination country. Once the bike leaves the border, there’s often no getting it back for the original owner.
6. Flea markets
Bicycles and other things that have been stolen are often sold at flea markets.
At flea markets, thieves may sell stolen bikes to people who don’t know they are stolen. But this is becoming a less popular way to sell stolen bikes because more flea markets are cracking down on stolen goods.
7. Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have become great places to sell stolen bikes.
Thieves can join local groups or forums where people buy and sell bicycles by making fake profiles. They might also use direct messaging to get in touch with potential buyers and offer to sell stolen bikes at lower prices.
This method gives you some privacy and makes it easy to reach a large number of potential buyers.
8. Forums and online communities about cycling
Thieves may join online cycling groups or forums to sell bikes they have stolen. Most of these sites have sections for buying and selling bikes, which makes them a good choice for thieves who want to get rid of stolen goods.
Also, these forums are for people who like to ride bikes, so thieves can find a willing audience there.
9. Word-of-mouth and street sales
Stolen bikes can also be sold on the street or through word of mouth. Thieves simply can find people who might be interested in buying a bike for a low price in public places or through personal connections.
Even though someone is more likely to get caught when they sell stolen bike, it can be a quick and easy way to make cash. All in all, buyers need to be more careful when in the market for used bikes.