Tim Arnold’s Surly Long Haul Trucker was stolen from his backyard on April 11 and after more than a month and no information about his bike, Arnold figured it was time for a new one.
Then he got a call from Ordinary Bike Shop saying they had his bike.
“Immediately when I saw it at Ordinary I thought, “Well that’s not my bike,” Arnold said.
The wheels and pedals were replaced with lower quality ones, the front rack, seat post and seat were gone and the decals had all been removed. The handlebars were still there, but the bar tape had been removed. There was one addition though.
“It gained a kickstand,” Arnold said. “It did not have a kickstand before, now it does, so that was nice.”
When his bike was stolen, Arnold quickly began getting the word out — including having it posted on Tucson Velo and other sites like StolenBicycleRegistry.com and TotalBikes.com. Those postings are a major reason he has his bike today.
According to BICAS shop coordinator Troy Neiman, a man brought the bike to BICAS to get a new seat put on. BICAS employee Zach Lihatsh, who has left Tucson for the summer, started helping the person who brought the bike. Lihatsh has his own Long Haul Trucker stolen last year began to wonder if it was a stolen bike.
“It was obvious he didn’t know what it was or have any appreciation for it, which makes you wonder how that person came about that bike,” Neiman said.
Zach grabbed the serial number and searched the Internet, which returned several sites about the stolen bike.
“I took the guy [upstairs] and talked to the guy,” Neiman said. “I told him the bike was reported stolen. He was actually really cool about it.”
Neiman said it didn’t seem like he stole the bike.
“I don’t have the feeling he stole it,” Neiman said. “His story was he had just gotten out of jail and his friend let him borrow this bike as long as he put a seat on it. When we told him the bike was stolen he was like, ‘Ohh man, that is what I get for having my buddy help me out.'”
Neiman said he left the bike and Lihatsh called Ordinary to see if the bike had been purchased there. Ordinary Bike Shop owner David Tang said they keep a record of every bike they sell with the serial number and Arnold did buy the bike from them several years ago.
Ordinary picked up the bike and called Arnold on May 18 to let him know they had his bike.
Neiman said BICAS employees look out for stolen bikes, but it isn’t always easy to figure out if a bike is stolen.
“We obviously discourage bike theft,” Neiman said. “We don’t want people stealing bikes and bringing them down here to fix up. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes it is not. It is certainly something we keep our eye out for.”