Seattle Police Use Twitter To Reunite Bikes With Their Owners

Feb 24, 2014

The Seattle Police is launching a new program to reunite stolen bikes with their owners.
The Seattle Police is launching a new program to reunite stolen bikes with their owners.
Credit Courtesy of Seattle Police

It’s a terrible feeling: walking out of a Seattle farmers market with your fresh rutabaga only to find that your bike is missing from where you parked it.

Detective Sergeant Cindy Granard can relate. “That can be a great tragedy – being a former bike officer I understand that.”

Granard recently gave KUOW’s David Hyde a tour of the evidence storage facility in South Seattle, a warehouse facility where rows upon rows of recovered bikes are packed in like sardines. She said that people often find stolen bikes on their property and call the police to take custody.

“Sometimes people just kind of borrow them, I guess.” Granard said. “It’s improper of course, but they will steal someone’s bike, use if for a little while and then just drop it off.”

In an evidence storage facility in South Seattle, the Seattle Police houses hundreds of recovered bikes.
In an evidence storage facility in South Seattle, the Seattle Police houses hundreds of recovered bikes.
Credit Courtesy of Seattle Police

Granard said that if a person has made a report and provided enough information to the police, there’s a good chance that a bike can be reunited with its owner.

The Seattle Police has also started a new program of tweeting out the bikes they have found that do not have investigative leads using the handle @getyourbikeback. If you recognize a bike that is yours you can send an email to the listed account to claim it.

However, the police can’t store the bikes for very long. Non-claimed bikes are donated to nonprofits or community centers. If the bike is beat up, sometimes the police will palletize the bikes and sell them on a website. “I’m told that people create sculptures and different works of art out of bicycle parts,” Granard explained.

“It’s kind of the silver lining if you are the victim of a bike theft: Maybe it’s going to a greater good,” she said.

What You Should Do If Your Bike Is Stolen

Call the police’s non-emergency line to make a report: 206.625.5011

Make sure you can provide some unique identifiers. Granard said the serial number is best. She suggested taking a picture of your receipt or serial number as well as the bike in case you lose the paperwork later. If the bike has any other unique features, let them know. It’s much harder to reunite someone with just “red Schwinn.”

Describe the situation of when your bike was stolen and provide contact information. Hopefully you will be cycling into the sunset again in no time.

Produced for the Web by Kara McDermott.