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Cities & Cycling

#sorrythieves The Theft Checker

#sorrythieves: The Theft Checker

We all know that bike theft is a problem. And we all know that stealing bikes is illegal. But what about buying a bike that was stolen? Surely that’s not so bad, right?

Nope – it’s very bad. And very illegal.

Weirdly, many of us are blissfully unaware of the impacts of buying stolen bikes. When polled, the vast majority of city riders ranked buying a stolen bike as ‘less illegal’ than riding on public transport without a ticket (source: Independent 2019 study conducted by VanMoof in partnership with Ipsos MORI). So, kind of bad... but not that bad.

“What’s the harm?” you might ask, “the real crime has already happened, buying this doesn’t change anything.”

Unfortunately, that’s just not true. Thieves only steal bikes because they know someone will buy them. So your actions directly are feeding a very vicious cycle of organized crime and violence. Oops.

The only real excuse is ignorance – “maybe this bike is stolen, but I guess we’ll never know for sure.”

Now, we’re not a fan of making excuses. So we created a tool to check if a VanMoof bike has been stolen.

The VanMoof Theft Checker cross-references a bike’s frame number against our database of all VanMoof’s ridden worldwide. If that particular bike has been reported stolen, you’ll be alerted immediately.

So, if you see a second-hand VanMoof at a price that seems too good to be true, now you can quickly check if it’s a legitimate sale – or someone trying to offload stolen goods. If it looks like the latter, we’ll give you the option to alert the Bike Hunters. They can then investigate based on your tip-off, and hopefully reunite the VanMoof with its rightful owner.

And if the seller refuses to provide you with the frame number to check? That’s a pretty clear sign they’re up to no good.

We're putting bike thieves out of business – and ending theft of VanMoof bikes by 2020. Want to join the fight? Head to

Peter Gigg

About this author

Peter Gigg is VanMoof's resident Brit. He enjoys writing, running, and remaining in the EU.