Stolen_Mar27_2012_LeifAbrell-460x326The 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.,me/auction/view?auc=762677

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 8.38.01 PMHis 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:

evidence_bikesHas 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.




15 thoughts on “Stolen cargo bike auctioned by Tucson Police”
  1. Sounds like TPD dropped the ball and needs to make sure that Leif gets his bike back. In my experience, police departments aren’t very helpful when it comes to stolen bikes. We had a number of bikes and bike parts stolen from our garage in San Diego years ago. When an officer came to take a report, he implied that it was suspicious that we had six bikes. His attitude was that we must be running a chop shop ourselves because who would actually ride that many bikes? We later found one of the bikes in a bike shop in Mission Beach and matched the serial number. The shop owner had been under suspicion for taking in stolen property, and he was busted.

  2. we waited 8 mos. to recover a laptop stolen from my son’s apt. they recovered it the same day at a pawn shop and kept it as evidence. Once the dectective got an initial statement from my son, she left a message about recovering the laptop, then refused to answer voicemails or phone calls. It was kept 4 mos past the court date still in evidence? They should make it easier for vicitms to recover their property! This bike case is unbelievable, as these pictures were posted all over town, how many bikes like this exisit?

  3. The police say they’re understaffed. That may be true but I don’t think that explains everything. My experience w/ them over the years as a victim of break ins and a car theft, is that they couldn’t find a stolen item unless it came to them. This story is an example of exactly that. Then what happened? They didn’t have the IQ to get it returned to the victim. They did manage to call me when my stolen car was found. I assume it was because that let them off the hook for trying to find the thieves. I asked to be called to be informed on how the investigation was going but never got a call.

  4. Any suggestion Masto2012 be involuntarily identified would be nuts. That he paid $119 more than Leif is scant consolation. A bad situation all around.

  5. Whoa. My bike had the UA sticker on it and I filed a report with UAPD under the assumption that somehow UAPD and Tucson police would collaborate. I better check—maybe the Iron Horse is still out there! That totally blows, Leif. I have always wondered what would happen if I found my bike for sale–would I have to buy it bike? I guess so. Crap.

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