Tempe man on mission to find rare, stolen bike

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Daryl Steele is on a mission to find his two stolen bikes, worth an estimated $3,000, which were snatched from his own backyard in Tempe.

“Every day I check Craigslist, Pinkbike; I check E-bay, 15 different sites I check,” said Steele.

He’s especially concerned with tracking down his “Haro Sonix,” which is rare and difficult to replace.

“I’m doing everything I can to find this bike,” said Steele.

He’s not without solid leads. In fact, someone tried to sell him his other stolen bike, a beach cruiser, just this past weekend outside Tempe Bicycle.

“I walked out of the shop, a guy walked up to me on one of the bikes that was stolen and said, ‘are you looking for a bike today?’” said Steele who immediately recognized the bike as his own because of unique modifications he had made.

“When I saw it, I said, ‘that’s my bike,’ but I said it in my head, not out loud,” explained Steele.  “I said, ‘yeah, I’m really interested in buying it.’  He said, ‘I really need the money, so I’ll sell it to you for 20 bucks.’”

Steele convinced the man to let him take it inside the shop, where he checked the serial number, and, sure enough, it matched.

Coincidentally, he saw a different man riding the same stolen bike around a Tempe Circle-K a couple of weeks earlier. Still, there are no suspects in the case. However, the one recovered bike is now in police custody as evidence as they continue to investigate.

Steele’s case is just one of more than 400 bikes reported stolen so far in Tempe this year, according to numbers provided by Tempe police.

“Even with the ‘u-lock,’ if someone wants that bicycle, they’re going to get it,” said Scott Walters, an advocate for Tempe Bicycle Action Group.  “Nationwide, between 16 to 25 percent of bikes that police recover as stolen get reunited with their owners.”

However, numbers vary from city to city.  The local rate is not known.
Victim Daryl Steele isn’t giving up hope on his Haro, a bike he considers priceless.
“It’s half my world,” said Steele. “Getting it back would mean getting my world back.”
Steele says he will offer a cash reward for the return of his bike and the arrest of a suspect.

Anyone with information is urged to call Tempe Police.