One Person Is Behind Thousands Of Silicon Valley Bike Thefts And He's Selling Them In Mexico

Photo: Jordan Siemens (Getty Images)
Photo: Jordan Siemens (Getty Images)

There’s an ongoing surge in bicycle theft that struck even before the pandemic arrived in 2020. The resulting uptick in cycling and retail bike sales that year served as an accelerant to thrust bike-related crimes to all-time highs. Wired sought the expertise of a bike hunter to learn what was happening to all these bicycles after they were taken off the street or out of warehouses.

For criminals, high-end bicycles are very appealing targets. They are light, portable and sell for thousands of dollars each. The difficult part is fencing the merchandise in a way where a victim can’t stumble upon their own bicycle for sale. Bryan Hance, the co-founder of a bike registration website, told Wired that he discovered stolen bikes were being trafficked to Mexico and resold online:

This latest email about the bike was from an anonymous source. The tipster pointed Hance to a Facebook page where there were more stolen bikes for sale—like a sweet 2018 Pivot Mach 4 mountain bike that sells new for about $7,000 and had been pinched from a San Jose garage two months previous; and a Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon in space blue that had vanished nearly three weeks prior from Santa Clara, about 45 miles south of San Francisco. All of the bikes were late-model and pricey. All had disappeared recently from around Silicon Valley, where cycling was fashionable among tech workers. All were for sale at about one-third of their original prices. Hance thought he’d seen everything in his years bird-dogging stolen bikes. But this put him on his heels.

But one detail flummoxed Hance. The tip had come from Mexico. The tipster had found the bikes for sale there, on the Facebook page of a company called Constru-Bikes, though the spelling sometimes varied slightly, which appeared to be based in the state of Jalisco. Hance had heard rumors of transnational bike crime for a long time, but they were only that: rumors. Bike Index scarcely even had a presence in Mexico.


The Facebook account even admitted the bicycles were stolen. It quickly became clear to Hance that the page of being operated by a single individual, Ricardo Estrada Zamora. He wasn’t single-handedly stealing all the bikes himself but was the endpoint of a expansive criminal industry. Read the whole piece at Wired to learn about Hance’s efforts to get law enforcement to actually take action and how it played out.

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