Getting Back My JET9

One of only two pictures of me and my Jet9 before it was stolen
One of only two pictures of me and my Jet9 before it was stolen

Last June my Niner Jet 9, fresh from being returned to me from recall, got stolen off the back of my car in Stockton, CA. I filed a police report and posted an ad on Stockton Craigslist and other than some sympathy (much appreciated)… nothing.

Until Sunday, May 1st. Someone commented on a blog post I wrote: last comment. My Jet9 is on ebay. The commenter had matched my description with the ad! As you can imagine I was quite excited. After looking on ebay, I knew it was mine. I built my bike up personally with parts I bought and although the components themselves are not unique, the combination of them on a black Niner Jet 9 has to be pretty rare, if not one-of-a-kind. There was one huge problem though: I didn’t take the time to record my Jet’s serial number. I had the bike for less than a month and I never thought I’d have it stolen. Who thinks about that?

My Jet9 on ebay

On Monday morning, May 2, I contacted ebay and Stockton PD. The detective was nice but frank: no serial number, not much they can do. I emailed and called Niner hoping that they would have kept the serial numbers when they shipped the recalled frames back to their owners, but no such luck although they did pre-Jet9 recall. At this point I was despondent. I read back through ebay’s response and it said that if I thought an item was stolen, I had to ask the police to contact ebay. I called back the detective and asked him to email ebay. He did, but I wasn’t holding out any hope. That was my last lead.

On Tuesday morning, May 3, at 11:30am, I received a surprise phone call. The detective is on the other line and says I am looking at a black bike, tell me how I can know it’s yours. I proceed to blather about an XT cassette (not mentioned in the ebay description), Trek water bottle holder (also not mentioned) and bright blue rim strip in the wheels. The detective says that if I send him some paperwork showing that I owned the bike I can get it back but it would have been much easier if I had the serial number.

Few new scratches, but I’m not complaining

I said ok, hung up the phone and proceeded to pull out all the receipts I sent to the insurance company to make my claim. I sent them to the detective and a short while later, the detective emails to have someone pick up the bike. It’s in Stockton and I am, of course, in So. Cal but no problem. I’m getting my bike back!

It ends up that the Detective’s email to ebay led ebay to send him the phone number for the seller. The Detective did a reverse look up and found the address of the seller. He went over to the seller and told him that he thinks the bike is stolen and the seller gave it up right away! The Detective says that the seller bought it at a flea market or garage sale… at least that’s what he is claiming.

Currently the bike is at my mother-in-law’s. She took a day off just to go pick it up. Thanks Mom.

Here is something for you to do: Stop surfing the internet and go to your precious bike(s). Under the bottom bracket you’ll find your serial number. Write it down. In fact, email it to yourself with some keywords:

Niner, Jet 9, Jet9, black, 29, mountain bike, BIKE I LOVE THE MOST, serial number… you get the idea.

Email it to yourself and don’t delete it. If you’re using gmail, use the archive function. This will remove the email from your inbox but allow you to search for it later.

12 Replies to “Getting Back My JET9”

  1. Glad to hear that you got it back! I hope Stockton PD prosecutes the guy for in possession of stolen property.

    Folks lock your bikes at all times!

  2. Amazing. That bike must really be meant for you, cause the odds of getting it back have got to be pretty low!

  3. All I can say is WOW! Not too often you hear stories like this with happy endings. I would have LOVED to see the guy’s face when the detective showed up at his house.

  4. SWEEET!… throw that guy in the clink!

    Even if he did buy it at a swap meet etc…

    “What? only $20 for a FS 29er?? Sure i’ll buy it, and no I don’t need proof that’s it’s stolen. People sell their new JET 9 for $20 at swap meets ALL the time! Your word is good enough kind sir!”

  5. Big Mike: I hear ya. For some reason its not a crime to be in possession of stolen property as long as you didn’t know it was stolen. Lame.

    Thanks Lady P!

  6. that’s awesome that you got your bike back!

    a couple more tips for “personalizing” a bike to make it easier to get back if it’s stolen (these are especially good for bikes that are mostly stock, when it might be more difficult to distinguish your bike from someone else’s):

    1. write some info down on a piece of paper, like your name and some random info that only you would know. roll it up and stick it way down in the seat tube (NOT the seat post). that way, if your bike is recovered, you can tell the detective (or whoever has it) to look in the seat tube and give them the info on the piece of paper. i’d just recommend that you don’t put anything TOO personal, like your address or phone number. mine has my name and the phrase along the lines of, “if you’re reading this, the bike may be stolen”. you could also put the paper inside your handlebars or steerer tube, but bars and forks can be swapped out and seat tubes can’t.

    2. engrave a second serial number somewhere people are less inclined look, like the underside of a chainstay. the number doesn’t really matter, as long as you know what it is (i picked a 6-digit number, but i can’t remember how i came up with it. i have it written down though, so it doesn’t matter). obviously if you have a carbon frame, you shouldn’t engrave it!!!

    3. although small parts can be swapped out, you could always add little custom touches that a most people may not pay attention to. put a on a pink headset spacer or seatpost clamp, or paint a spoke on each wheel a weird color. or put a single colored rotor bolt on your disc brake rotors. something small that a thief probably won’t notice, but you’ll know about.

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