Stolen cargo bike auctioned by Tucson Police
The Mexican Mercurio cargo bike you see above was reported stolen on March 27 by Leif Abrell. He filed a police report, posted to Facebook and filled out a stolen bike form on Tucson Velo.
That same day, the Tucson Police Department apparently found the bike abandoned in a parking lot, yet Abrell did not hear from the police.
Instead, I received this email in December, but only found it in my junk mail this week:
I am out of the country but felt compelled to write you and send this link to an auction in which a stolen cargo bike you have listed was sold at a Tuscon city auction on 10/1/2012. Please contact the owner and let him know. See link below.
His bike was sold at a public surplus auction on Oct. 1 — about six months after the bike was stolen and recovered.
Abrell has made several calls to various city offices to try to get to the bottom of what happened and attempt to get his bike back.
Here’s what he has found out so far:
1. The surplus division for the City of Tucson will not give Abrell contact information for the person who purchased the bike
2. The bike was recovered at an apartment complex at 1700 W. Prince Rd on the same day it was reported stolen.
3. The police did not match the bike to the theft report because Abrell did not have a serial number when he filed the police report.
4. TPD apparently lists recovered items here.
5. After a certain amount of time the property becomes city property and is sold in an online auction.
According to TPD’s property and evidence website, evidence is kept until the case has been completed. The site states:
“When a case is over and the property is no longer needed, every attempt is made to return items to the rightful owner. If the owner can’t be found, the property is disposed of through the City’s public auction, destruction, or donated to local schools, the Tucson Police Foundation, or the Historical Society.”
This is what happened to Abrell’s bike. He was referred to the City of Tucson’s Risk Management office to file a claim. He is arguing that TPD should have been able to track him down given that the bike is rare and was was reported stolen on the same day it was found.
Also of note is that the TPD evidence site has an entire section about stolen bicycles. Here’s what it says:
Has your bicycle been stolen?
The Property & Evidence Section of the Tucson Police Department maintains a bike lot at the Santa Cruz Substation, located at 4410 S. Park Avenue. If you are looking for a lost or stolen bicycle a member of Property & Evidence can assist you in determining if it was recovered. Evidence personnel can be reached at 520-791-4458 during regular business hours.”
As you can see from the image on the left, there are dozens if not hundreds of bikes in the warehouse.
I know I’ll be contacting them today to see if my stolen mountain bike happens to be in the warehouse.
The city currently has a listing for 20 bicycles right now.
I will keep you updated as Abrell learns more.