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But don't give up. There are plenty of resources out there that can help, if you spring into immediate action. Follow these five steps to get your bike back.
Read the original article published on Bicycling.com.
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1. File a Police Report1 of 6
Per the recommendations of Matt Friedman at @SFPDBikeTheft, file a police report. Have an officer come and take down the report, if you can, or go to the station with your information, including the bike's serial number, make, model, and photos of the bike for the report. If you have any video surveillance of the incident—or know there were cameras in the area—include that information with the report.
Don't have your bike's serial number? Stop reading this article, find your serial number, and write it down now. It should be located on your bottom bracket when you flip your bike over. Here are a few other places it can be found depending on bike type. Once you have your serial number, register your bike with Bike Index, safebikes.org, and any local registries.
2. Register Your Stolen Bike2 of 6
Register that your bike was stolen with Bike Index, safebikes.org, and any local registries. Include as much information as you can. Again, write down your serial number now so you'll have it later in case it's stolen.
3. Set Up Google Alerts3 of 6
Set up multiple Google alerts with information matching your bike. That way if your bike turns up for online sale—or if a local chop shop gets raided—you'll be alerted.
4. Check Craiglist and Flea Markets4 of 6
Scour Craigslist listings for your stolen bike. Visit flea markets in search of it. Any place you've seen used bikes for sale is a potential place for your beloved bike to end up. If you do manage to find your bike, contact police—don't set up a sting operation yourself. If you find your bike on Craigslist, make a new email address, pretend to be an interested buyer, and try to get information about the seller's email and phone number you can pass on to the police.
5. Spread the Word5 of 6
Spread news about your stolen bike far and wide throughout your social networks. Post a photo of your bike on Facebook and Twitter and get your friends to repost. The more eyes you have on the streets looking for your bike, the far more likely you are to uncover it. Good luck! And don't forget to write down your serial number.