5 warning signs that you buy a stolen bicycle

Buying a used bicycle in Copenhagen is a great decision. However, buying a stolen used bicycle in Copenhagen can backfire dangerously with criminal charges in court. It is important that you are aware of, as a bicycle buyer, that you have the responsibility to prove that you bought the bicycle in good faith.

Good faith generally means that you did everything rational to prevent buying a stolen bicycle. For some people this might sound like a piece of cake, but do not make the mistake of underestimating the bicycles thieves ability to imitate being an honest bicycle seller.

Here at Second Hand Bikes we want to help you prevent buying a stolen bicycle. To help you in the best way possible, we have gathered 5 warning signs that indicate you are about to buy a stolen bicycle from a bicycle thief.

The seller will not meet at his or her address.

Do not ever fall for any excuses regarding this matter. The bicycle thieves will try to use every excuse possible to convince you not to meet at their address. They know that meeting at their home address can reveal their real identity. Their ideal places to meet is in public parks or at train stations, where the police cannot trace them back. If you find yourself faced with charges of buying a stolen bicycle, do not expect that the police accept the excuse that you did not get the bicycles thief’s address.

However, just because someone selling a bicycle cannot meet at their home address, does not necessarily make them a bicycle thief. Nevertheless, it is your responsibility to make sure to have their real home address and validate that the seller indeed does live there.

The seller is using a prepaid phone card or won’t give his or her phone number

Prepaid phone cards are popular among bicycle thieves. The phone cards have a phone number attached, that does not identify the person using the number. This means that the bicycle thief’s can switch phone number in a second, leaving you clueless to contact them if the bicycle turns out to be stolen.

Some bicycles sellers will reject to provide you with a phone number. In addition, some bicycle sellers will even deny having a phone. In both cases back away, unless you have verified the sellers identity and home address. Remember we life in 2014, and it is highly unusual for someone not to have a phone as part of his or her everyday communication.

The seller is not providing his or her name or using an alias

Be aware of people using fake names and aliases to cover their real identity. While it might be funny that the bicycle seller’s nickname is DarthVader, it is most likely not going to be fun to pass that to a police officer accusing you for being in position of a stolen bicycle. Always make sure to have the first and last name of the bicycle seller. This information is vital to prove you bought the bicycle in good faith. Lacking this information is inexcusable.

Bicycle thieves in Facebook groups often use fake names. Be aware of the bicycles thief’s trying to use authentic names to make you believe the profile is legitimate.

The bicycle seller won’t provide a serial number in advance

You cannot put bicycles thief’s into one specific category of human beings. Some are smarter than others are. However, you should always ask the bicycle seller to provide the serial number for the bicycle in advance. There is absolute no excuse for the seller to not provide you with the serial number in advance, unless they are trying to fool you into buying a stolen bicycle.

Be aware of bicycles thief’s trying to trick you into believe, that their bicycle is built together by several different bicycle parts. All Danish bicycle frames have a unique serial number.

Also, be aware of bicycle thief’s providing serial numbers from other bicycles. It is common practice among bicycle thief has to provide you with a serial number from another bicycle. Remember to check if the serial number provided in advance matches with the serial number on the actual framework of the bicycle you are buying.

At last but not least, remember that bicycle thief often try to sell their stolen bicycles immediately after stealing them. This give the bicycle thief’s an open window, where the victim of the theft have not yet reported the serial number stolen or the police are in the process of registering the bicycle as stolen. This clearly underline how important it is to do more than just check the serial number on the bicycle.

The bicycle seller is using a fake Facebook profile

Fake Facebook profiles is a clearly indicates that something suspicious is going on. You should never contact or deal with bicycle sellers using fake Facebook profiles. As the people buying bicycles have gotten more clever spotting fake Facebook profiles, the bicycle thief’s have becoming better at creating authentic fake Facebook profiles.

Here are some tips to spot fake Facebook profiles:

The Facebook profile picture does not contain a picture of a person. Alternatively, the profile picture contain one or more persons in a position, where you have no chance identifying the face.

The Facebook profile has been created recently and has no friends, likes or comment attached to their timeline or photos.

The Facebook profile is closed to the public and not sharing any information that can be identified to the person.

The Facebook profile is regularly posting new bicycles for sale. Often very expensive bicycles for remarkable cheap prices.

The Facebook profile requires you to contact them in order to get basic information about the bicycles. Such as the price, where the bike is located or the serial number.

Our three easy and fast steps to avoid buying a stolen bicycle

Following the three steps underneath will guarantee that you have bought your bicycle in good faith. Do not forget the five warning signs above.

  1. Make sure to receive and verify the bicycle sellers first name, last name and home address.
  2. Check the serial number on the bicycle.
  3. Make the bicycle seller sign this document recommended by the Danish police (New window will open with PDF document)

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