July 14, 2024
News

One individual responsible for numerous bike thefts in Silicon Valley and selling them in Mexico.

Photo: Jordan Siemens (Getty Images)

There is a continuous increase in bicycle theft that began even before the pandemic hit in 2020. The resulting rise in cycling and retail bike sales in that year acted as a catalyst in driving bike-related crimes to record levels. Wired consulted a bike tracker to understand the fate of all these bicycles once they were stolen off the streets or from warehouses.

For criminals, high-end bicycles are highly desirable targets. They are light, portable, and fetch for thousands of dollars each. The challenge lies in selling the stolen goods in a manner where the victim cannot easily spot their own bike for sale. Bryan Hance, the co-creator of a bike registration platform, stated to Wired that he discovered stolen bikes were being trafficked to Mexico and resold online:

The recent email regarding the bike came from an anonymous source. The informant directed Hance to a Facebook page where more stolen bikes were up for sale—such as a sleek 2018 Pivot Mach 4 mountain bike that retails new for around $7,000 and was taken from a San Jose garage two months prior; and a Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon in space blue that was stolen nearly three weeks ago from Santa Clara, approximately 45 miles south of San Francisco. All the bikes were modern and expensive. All had disappeared recently from the vicinity of Silicon Valley, a region where cycling was popular among tech professionals. All were being sold at approximately one-third of their original prices. Hance thought he had seen everything in his years of tracking stolen bikes. However, this situation caught him off guard.

One detail puzzled Hance. The tip originated from Mexico. The informant had located the stolen bikes for sale there, on the Facebook page of a company named Constru-Bikes, although the spelling varied slightly at times, which seemed to be situated in the Jalisco state. Hance had heard whispers of international bike theft for a long time, but they remained just that: whispers. Bike Index hardly had a presence in Mexico.

The Facebook page openly admitted that the bicycles were stolen. Hance quickly realized that the page was run by a single individual, Ricardo Estrada Zamora. Although he wasn’t personally stealing all the bikes, he was the final stop in a large-scale criminal operation. Read the full article on Wired to discover Hance’s attempts to get law enforcement to take action and the outcome.

FAQs

Q: Are all stolen bikes sold in Mexico?

A: No, not all stolen bikes end up in Mexico. However, it’s a known trafficking route for some high-end stolen bicycles.

Q: How can I protect my bike from being stolen?

A: You can protect your bike by using a secure lock, registering it with a national database, and avoiding leaving it unattended in public places.

Conclusion

The surge in bicycle theft, particularly of high-end bikes, is a concerning trend that has been exacerbated by the increase in cycling and retail sales. The discovery of stolen bikes being trafficked to Mexico sheds light on the complexities of bike-related crimes on an international scale. It is crucial for authorities and individuals to be vigilant in combating these crimes and taking preventive measures to safeguard their valuable bicycles.

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