One thing you can always count on here in LA. No matter where you park your bike, there’s potential thief nearby looking for an opportunity to take it.
Antonio Fernandez learned that the hard way yesterday when his bike was stolen from the hallway of his Hollywood apartment building. The theft most likely occurred sometime late Thursday night or early Friday morning near the intersection of Sunset Blvd and North Poinsettia.
The bike is described as a blue Trek hybrid, year and model unknown, with flat handlebars. The one clear distinguishing feature is a University of Indiana registration stick on the seat tube; not many bikes here in Los Angeles will have that.
I’m often asked what to do if your bike gets stolen.
1. Always be prepared by keeping records of all pertinent information, including year, make and model of your bike, serial number and any distinguishing features. I recommend keeping current photos of your bike — including a photo of the serial number — on both your computer and your cell phone. And consider signing up with a bicycle registration service, like Bike Shepherd or the National Bike Registry.
2. Once you discover your bike is stolen, contact the police and file a report. Sometimes they will try to discourage you from filing a theft report, but insist on it. Then send me the details, and I’ll list your bike here.
3. Contact your insurance agent. If you have homeowners or renters insurance, your bike should be covered if the value exceed the deductible.
4. Start scouring Craigslist, eBay and the Penny Saver for any bike that matches the description. And look at other nearby areas; thieves will often move a hot bike out of the area where it’s less likely to be recognized.
5. Visit any local bike shops in the area and ask them to be on the lookout for your bike. Thieves will often take a stolen bike into a shop for repairs or try to sell it.
6. Check out garage sales and street vendors in the area, and keep an eye open for anyone who may be riding your bike or park it on the street. If you see it, call the police and let them deal with it. While there are many stories of people who’ve recovered their own bikes, there are just as many of people who’ve gotten in over their heads; getting your bike back isn’t worth risking your own safety.