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It's the worst feeling—walking up to the place where your bike definitely was a few hours ago, and now definitely is not. Here's what to do if it happens.
1. Call 311 and report your bike stolen. Give the cops the brand, model, color, and serial number. Also register it on the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry: chicago.stolenbike.org.
2. Check the scene for traces of blood or other DNA evidence, and try to get police to run a DNA test if there is any. Yes, they'll most likely think you're crazy, but just last week a Berwyn man was busted for bicycle theft based on DNA evidence from blood he left at the scene.
3. Check the Swap-O-Rama flea market at 4200 S. Ashland, where stolen bikes sometimes turn up. Bring documentation you can show to security or police if you do find the bike, like a copy of the police report, receipt or warranty card. Take someone with you if possible, and if you see your bike, call the police rather than confronting the seller.
4. Accept that one downside of living in a big city is a higher risk of having your bike stolen—no matter how good your lock is or how crappy you try to make your bike look. The upside? You live in a city with lots of stuff to do. Go see a concert or play to take your mind off your loss.