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Thief steals expensive premium e-bike during test ride

Herne, November 2020. Bike specialist Frank Korte has been running his store near the railway station in the Ruhr town of Herne for more than 26 years. He himself became a victim of theft for the first time not long ago. Things could have been worse, but luckily the bike that he had lent to a supposed customer for a test ride was equipped with a GPS tracker and the police were able to recover it quickly.

One memorable day back in November, Frank rode his e-bike to work as usual. Shortly after he opened his store around 10.30, someone came in and asked about a similar e-bike model at length. As Frank didn’t have this particular e-bike costing over 6,000 euros on display, he offered his own bike for a test ride. However, the supposed customer never returned from the ride. Frank informed the police and the IT’S MY BIKE team, which handles communication between the victim and police officers and monitors the bike’s location and movement data in such cases. Using the GPS data, the IT’S MY BIKE team established that the bike had first been moved to a residential area in Unna, 45 kilometres away, and then to nearby Dortmund airport.

The victim and the police searched for the bike together in a woodland area near the airport. The IT’S MY BIKE team was able to pinpoint the exact location of the bike using GPS data. The owner and the police had to push their way through trees and undergrowth to find the bike, carefully camouflaged under leaves and branches. “It was not an easy search but the effort paid off in the end,” says a pleased Frank, who surmises that a middleman probably intended to collect the bike from its hiding place at a later stage, ready to sell it. About three hours after reporting his e-bike stolen, he was able to take it home again. Charges were pressed against the thief, who had left his ID in the store before the test ride.

“Unfortunately, this is not the only case where bikes were stolen during a test ride,” laments Sebastian Stoll from the IT’S MY BIKE team, who assisted with the search for the bike. “Protecting bikes with a GPS tracker is also a good option to safeguard against theft from stores.”