Stolen Bikes Are Getting Trafficked by One Mastermind in Jalisco, Mexico

This is insane! A worldwide stolen bike market, people actually stealing bikes while the owners are home!


And Bike Index? I’ve never heard of them before now…


The Pablo Escobar of the bike world.

1 Like

I’m not sure if you live in California, especially the Bay Area, but I consider it a given there you do not leave your bike unattended in anyway at any time. At home, in the car, etc. It’s very stressful.

1 Like

Sometimes I forget how much of a mess we were in during 2020.

1 Like

What an incredible story. Exasperating and eye opening in equal measure. Thanks for sharing :+1:t2::+1:t2::+1:t2:

I took my Roubaix to NYC for 5 Boros, and wanted to keep it in the room (not THE safest place, but I could keep a direct eye on it when in the room) and the wife was furious ‘No, lock it up outside!’. Um, hell no! The hotel said it’s cool with them, no charge, and ‘plenty of people do it’. But even in the room, I locked it to two pieces of furniture, and locked the wheels to the frame so they wouldn’t turn. It’s sad to think like that though. Would someone smash two pieces of furniture and have to carry it away to swipe a Di2 Roubaix with killer wheels? HELL YES! Where I live, people have had bikes liberated from their garages. (Watch how long the emergency pull cord is to release the door if the opener doesn’t work. People have figured out how to grab that cord with a long hook, and either pull it out of the garage door and yanking it, or just pulling it with their hook from outside releasing the door. Easy peasy… Take the handles off, and cut the rope just long enough to reach with some effort. Seriously! Also we had some repairs on our A/C system and one of the repairmen came out into the garage from the house to catch someone ‘looking things over’, in the garage! Imagine the nerve!!)

It’s a crazy world…

EDIT: What got me was that the bikes crossed the border, apparently, to get to Mexico. They weren’t drugs, but that was a lot of bling bike going south. (In college, I had a Toyota pickup, and a few years ago I logged in to the Toyota owner’s website and found that and the Prius I owned about 12 years ago. The pickup was listed as residing in Mexico. I’m glad it was still on the road, a lot of memories around that thing, but Mexico? From Michigan State University? Amazing…

One memory I wish I could forget: I took it to an auto repair place to get the inside of the bed painted. I was given ‘the loaner’! It was a Yugo! Had it for a week. They called and said ‘It’s done!’. Got there, and they painted the outside of the bed, which didn’t need painting. I had that POS car for another week. And the horror stories about quality were UNDERSTATED!! OMG, I hit the turn signal and the headlights came on! Hit the horn and the wipers started working! I couldn’t wait to get rid of that thing… But that truck had a Yakima bike bar on it, and we went all over the Michigan area doing rides, tours, races. That bar was genius…

1 Like

I was a recent victim of bike theft in San Diego - mostly my fault though, I was trying to program a garage door opener and gave up. I close the door by pressing the button and it must’ve not closed all the way, or come back up randomly without me looking. I went for a walk to check out the new neighborhood and came back home without walking past my garage. The next morning I go out and the door is wide open, bike and helmet gone. Just like what was written in that story - it hurt emotionally to have a bike stolen that I really really enjoyed and had no plans on replacing any time soon.

Since then, I’ve bought insurance on my newer, and way more expensive crux, plus installed an air tag. Also, I’ll be constructing a bit of a bike vault and be way more cautious. Unfortunately, I live on a well-travelled thoroughfare and there are a lot of would-be bike thieves and tweakers.

I believe my bike is still local and that I’ll get it back someday, but I’ve stopped actively searching for it.

1 Like

Good luck leaving your bike on a car rack in Boulder for more than 5-10 min. Thieves there will snatch it in a heartbeat.

1 Like

When I was in grad school in Missoula, MT someone stole the front wheel off of my (very entry level) mountain bike when I was doing a late night study session and it was locked up outside the building. It was like a $20-40 wheel. More annoying than anything

When living in Portland I would always park my commuter bike (Bianchi San Jose) inside the building. But one night I forget it take it inside so it was left locked to the bike rack with a U-Lock. When I realized 2 days later I went out to get it and found the thieves took the entire bike rack out from the cement in order to steal it. I registered the theft with the police but knew there was little chance I would ever get the bike back again. About 9 months later I saw it for sale on Craigslist and my roommate and I concocted a plan to steal the bike back. But after some back and forth it turns out that the guy had bought the bike at a police auction. Apparently there had been a raid and they found over 100 stolen bikes. But since I only gave a detailed description of my bike and not the serial number the police didn’t try and track me down to get it back to me and instead sold it in their action. And that is how I found out about registering with Bike Index

1 Like

Yep. I live in Denver, and we have a significant bike theft problem in the metro area. I’d heard about this theft ring a while back as Bryan with Bike Index maintains an active presence on the local stolen bike FB group, and while it’s definitely part of the problem here and local victims have found their bikes caught up in that theft ring, you can also see plenty of bikes at encampments around the city and local thieves posting them up for sale on Marketplace and OfferUp. My bike doesn’t leave my line of sight when it’s outside, and I chain it to the rack when not in my car and still keep it in my line of sight.

I had a bike stolen, in high school. I worked at an Italian restaurant, and occasionally worked open-to-close, over a summer. I rode by a larger body of water, and used to ride my brand new denim colored bike there and back again. It was never harassed at the restaurant, but one night when I was riding by, I thought ‘what the hell’, and locked the bike around a street sign, and did a skinny dip, and watched the pickup truck drive up, raise the bike over the sign, wave, laugh, and drive off. I was devastated. I had to walk 8 miles home. The parents were really pissed, they hadn’t paid it off yet, and I was pissed because I saw it happen, and couldn’t stop it. It was a ‘big box’ bike, but it was back in the day when they made them with some level of quality.

The police did nothing.

Fast forward to about 10 years ago, and two bike shops were robbed. One caught the whole thing on a camera. Two different jurisdictions, and neither one did anything. One didn’t even want a list of the bike serial numbers! Imagine that.

One of the shops found their bikes on Craig’s List, and presented the info to the ‘investigator’ that was supposed to be working on the case. He shrugged and said they’d get on it. They didn’t. Both shops lost most of their higher end bikes, and the police just shrugged.

A third jurisdiction had a bike shop outdoor display stolen, and they took it very seriously. They eventually caught the people involved, but the bikes were never located. (Wonder if they ended up in Mexico)

It’s like the new state law requiring 3 feet of passing distance for cyclist by cars. If the cops don’t see it, no crime. If the cop that does see it doesn’t give a damn, no crime. But if you’re from certain groups and doing certain things, they are all over you. sigh

The shop that found their bikes on Craig’s List: they bought some of them back, and videoed the transactions, and the local fuzz just shrugged. The state police were a little more curious, but since it had taken so long to report, passed on it.

The police need to know how much some of these bikes cost! The police need to know how many of those bikes people have, and for the cheaper bikes, they need to realize that could be their only form of transportation! Someones stolen bike isn’t a Huffy that was swiped, it’s very possible that it’s like someone stealing a car! Law enforcement needs to take stolen bike crimes a lot more seriously. Like that third jurisdiction do their job! :roll_eyes:

If more bike thieves were prosecuted, and spent meaningful time in jail, the stolen bike subculture would die.

Oh: I did IceMan a few year before the pandemic, and heard of a rider who locked his bikes on the rack, and thought they locked the rack to the car. The thief used a battery impact driver to remove the bolts from the rack, and stole the rack with the two fat bikes on it. He came out to the end of the rack sticking out of the suv. Another had backed their rack up to a wall and jammed it and set the parking brake, and someone STILL was able to steal the rack.

Maybe hotels need to take the stick out of their butts and do better to customers with bikes. A hotel in Burlington Vermont had a big bank of large bike vaults on premises. Nice touch!!


Thanks Chad. I didn’t know where this should/could go, and thought it might be interesting to some…

1 Like

Worse is getting bike jacked at gun point. I’ve heard several reports of this happening in the SF Bay Area where I grew up and rode most of my life. I’m a little sad we are no longer there but also glad we are not there with this crap going on.

To get a jaundiced view of locks and security, follow Lock Picking Lawyer on YouTube. Using multiple locks is potentially the only way to secure bikes, and even that isn’t a given. Battery powered angle grinders have made it easier for perps to grab things. (One group walked up to a Home Despot, used a grinder to cut the wire rope cable laced through the zero-turn mowers out front, rolled the most expensive one onto a trailer and sped off.)

I made friends with a small bike shop owner, who sadly eventually went out of business. But that shop was broken into multiple times, usually by pros. One of them rolled up, connected a chain to the front doors and a truck, and yanked the doors open. In and out of the shop in about one minute only grabbing a few of the most expensive bikes. All on camera. On the first break in, someone broke out the deadbolt in the back door with a hammer, and stole the cheapest BMX bike they had. That one was probably a homeless guy looking for transportation.

My MTB was stolen off of my car while at work in a “secure” parking lot. I just so happen to walk around the corner to watch the homeless woman walking off with my bike, dragging part of the bike rack with the cable lock still attached and I just took it back :joy:

One of the downsides to the internet is it is much easier to sell stolen goods. The spare tire from my Jeep was stolen. I bought a replacement off of someone from OfferUp and I am certain it was a stolen spare from someone else. My motorcycle was so recently stolen, and I’m sure it was parted out and sold.

So a bit of a stolen bike story with a happy ending. Friend of mine has his garage broken into and his entire fleet of bikes stoke, five or six mid to high end bikes. One of these bikes was a quite distinct surly fat bike. Called the police, accepted they were gone forever. He fortunately got fully reimbursed by his insurance, but pretty devastated, especially by the loss of that surly he cherished. He had made a Craigslist post with a reward for information leading to return of the bike, but wasn’t hopeful.

Four months later he gets an email in response to the craigslist post. Someone spotted his surly at a local pawnshop. My friend went down, and the serial number matched, it was his bike. He told the pawnshop, that’s my bike that was stolen, showed the matching serial number and original receipt. Pawn shop owner said, ok if you don’t call the cops, you can take it no questions asked. He got his bike back!

And a final epilogue to the story: he called his insurance company to notify them he had recovered the bike he had received insurance payment for. He was thinking he would need to refund the cash as it could be insurance fraud. Their reply: on our end this file is considered closed and we don’t need to reopen it. No repayment required as we have adjusted your insurance payments, and it’s a huge headache for us to sort it out. Keep the bike, keep the money.

I have a few other friends that have recovered stolen bikes via the police, or by doing some legwork on marketplace or Craigslist. So if you’re bike gets stolen, make sure you do all the tedious steps of filing a police report and searching around. You never know! And also insure your bikes; in my experience insurers are actually pretty accommodating for stolen bikes when they’re insure (probably why bike insurance is so expensive!)