Lucky Hugh and his recovered stolen bike!

January 04, 2021 By Brad Kellas 1049 Recovered Stolen Bike


Hugh’s collectible Specialized S-Works M4 Festina edition was stolen from the Royal Melbourne Hospital car park on 30 August 2019, where it was chained up.  

Holding little hope that his bike could be recovered and not wanting to waste police time, Hugh decided to not report his theft to police, but made a post on Facebook, where he was referred by friends to report his theft to BikeVAULT.

Unbeknown to Hugh, his bike was recovered by police 3 weeks later, when police attended an address in Southbank and arrested a 58-year-old male in relation to the theft of another bike.  Whilst at the address police recovered the bike they were looking for and Hugh’s bike, which was confiscated as suspected stolen property, as it could not be found on the police database and the investigating police were unaware of BikeVAULT at the time.

The police subsequently charged the male with the offences of theft relating to the bike they were investigating, and deal property suspected of being a proceed of crime relating to Hugh’s bike.  On 24 February 2020, the male appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates Court where he received a $750 fine without conviction.

Had the police been able to identify Hugh’s bike as stolen, the male may also have been charged with the theft of Hugh’s bike or handle stolen goods, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years imprisonment in comparison to the lesser alternate charge of dealing property suspected of being a proceed of crime, which carries a maximum of 2 years imprisonment.

Saved from becoming consolidated revenue

Whilst the male was not incarcerated for the offences, Hugh’s bike was, stored with other bikes with unknown owners in the police storage cage, waiting to be sold off at the police auction.  The fate of Hugh’s bike changed in December 2020, when a police member, who has a keen interest in bikes and regularly searches BikeVAULT, spotted Hugh’s bike in the property store.  After performing a simple ‘Make’ and ‘Model’ search of our stolen listings, he was able to quickly find the stolen listing and identify Hugh.  Whilst Hugh’s bike had a court order to be sold, quick work by the diligent member saw the bike released from the property store in a matter of days and returned to Hugh, who was very happy to get his much-loved bike back.  Great work by all involved!

Picture below - Hugh collecting his bike from a police member at Southbank Police Station, who helped in the recovery.

Why it is important to report all bike theft to the police

Whilst the recovery and return of stolen bikes to their owners is less than 10% in Australia, the police do recover thousands of bikes each year, although many of these bikes are not linked to reported thefts and returned to their owners due to the inability to trace them on the police database.  

Whilst lacking bike identification is the main culprit as to why many of these bikes are not returned to their owners, there are some like Hugh's stolen bike that are not reported to police.  Whilst this obviously reduces the odds of recovery by the police, it also benefits the criminals, who may go undetected, or in Hugh's case not appropriately prosecuted, as the police could not prove his bike was stolen.

Picture below - Some recent unidentified stolen bikes sold at the Police Auction in Victoria.

Bike identification is the key to combatting bike theft - protect your bike ID and ownership with FREE registration on BikeVAULT!

Much more than just a simple database to store your bike details, BikeVAULT (part of PropertyVAULT) provides a secure free portal to comprehensively register the details and ownership of your bike, benefitting from:

  • Full lifecycle digital bike identification with provenance tracking and block-chain encryption.
  • When selling your registered bike, utilise BikeVAULT’s registered bike sale report that can be linked to online selling platforms.  Like a VIN check for a car, the sale report enables a buyer to conduct due diligence, and can potentially lead to higher sale price, when competing against bikes with no discernible history in the crowded second-hand market, littered with stolen bikes.
  • When a registered bike is sold, the registration and logbook can be transferred to the new owner, providing peace of mind to the new owner and ensuring the bike's provenance remains intact.

In the unfortunate event of theft, BikeVAULT comes to the fore providing:

  • A tailored public and police accessible stolen report designed to maximise the odds of recovery;
  • Proven to work - tips, tools, and resources, to aid recovery;
  • A custom stolen bike search portal for the public and police, enabling anyone in Australia to search and identify a stolen bike, regardless of where and when it was stolen and is later found;
  • Social media connectivity and support from BikeVAULT’s large online community, who actively search for and report stolen bikes that are advertised for sale;
  • Support from BikeVAULT's police trained admins, who are experts in bike identification and skilled in asset tracing techniques.

Advanced bike ID to combat cunning thieves

The manufacturer's bike identification frame number, whilst adequate for warranty purposes is not designed to defeat thieves and with many bikes being only a label is susceptible to manipulation. 

Picture below - Shows a bike seized by police that had the original frame number label removed from underneath the clearcoat and replaced with a crude fake label.  

Picture below - The thieves were more brazen with this bike recently sold at a police auction in Victoria.  In this case, the serial number label was painted over and the stamped in frame number was ground down, making it impossible for the police to trace the owner.

To address lacking bike identification, BikeVAULT has partnered with DataDot Technology, the world leader in anti-theft asset identification solutions to develop the VAULT range of BIKE ID KIT's.

The premium BIKE ID KIT+ (RRP $34.95) sold separately and supplied complimentary with every VAULT (premium lock - 'D', Fold and Chain lock), includes DataDotDNA micro identification, which is used globally by car manufacturers, including Subaru in Australia and Toyota in Europe as an effective means to combat theft.

The BIKE ID KIT+ when applied and locked to a bike registered on BikeVAULT, provides OVERT, COVERT, STEALTH, INVISIBLE and DIGITAL identification to the whole bike, making it near impossible to be de-identified and easily traced by police if stolen and later found.


Take action - start protecting your bike and ownership today!

Join BikeVAULT and Register your bike for free now and consider protecting your bike further by purchasing a VAULT lock and BIKE ID KIT from one of our growing number of bike shop dealers, or from our online store.  




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