Stolen bikes on eBay are plentiful. And that is a major problem. The Bike GPS is committed to the fight against bike theft in America. And so we read with great interest a piece entitled “Piecing Together Clues to a Theft Drives Home How Tough It Is to Police the Online Marketplace” written by Reed Albergotti in “The Wall Street Journal” recently. Thieves apparently broke into Albergotti’s home and made off with some fancy bicycles of his. An avid cyclist, this left him quite upset and so he couldn’t help but search online to see if any of his favorite bikes were being resold. He had nearly given up when he suddenly found his 2008 Ridley Noah, which retails for thousands of dollars.
As Albergotti describes it, “In the early morning hours of March 13, thieves broke into my apartment building. They broke into a locked bike room and walked out with several expensive rides. Among them: my old racing bike, a 2008 Ridley Noah that retails for thousands of dollars. It has a custom paint job, with my last name clearly printed on the top tube. A couple of months later, someone sold the bike on eBay to a guy named Douglas who lives in Dallas. The search for my bike highlights the underside of e-commerce: The same technology that lets us efficiently buy and sell used goods is also an efficient way to unload stolen property. Policing the online marketplace for stolen goods can be a Sisyphean task.”
And while Albergotti was able to find his bike online, he ran into a whole lot of red tape when he tried to get the bike back. eBay requires that there be a documented police report and even then, since eBay doesn’t store the merchandise and is only a means by which folks can buy and sell items, they don’t really have much say in the matter. Albergotti would get in touch with the police and eBay’s anti-fraud division but, ultimately, he still hasn’t gotten his bicycle back. Bureaucracy.