bike might be stolen need legal advice

I bought a bike for my wife a year and a half ago for a local shop. here is the deal from my original post.

I purchased an 05 crf230 from an individual who was a "good customer" of a local bike shop. They guy had the bike for sale there, not on consignment, just sitting there with a for sale sign on it. I talked to the owner of the bike on the phone and we agreed on a price. This price was the amount the guy said he owed on his loan with Honda finance. I wrote a check out to this guy and gave it to the bike shop. The shop owner agreed to keep my check in his safe until he received the title from the bike owner. The bike owner was told by myself and the shop owner that he could not cash his check until he produces the title. I was told that I would receive the title in a few weeks. With everyone in the loop on things, and me being paid in full, I was given permission to take the bike home by both the bike owner and shop owner.

see my original post http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=387013

well against some good advice of yours i kept the bike, tried to contact the owner a few more times and canceled the check. Its a year and half later now, i still have the bike and have never heard from the guy.

so i guess he couldn't pay off his loan, reported it stolen and collected insurance, died, or most likely stole the bike in the first place and tried to sell it as if it was his own.

How can I tell if the bike was reported stolen?

if it is or not, how can I get a legal title for it?

I dont think I can get into legal trouble with it, i have the shop owners word, my check still in the safe and my testimony here on tt.

what would you do?

I'd think you might be at risk if the bike is hot. I'm not sure but it might be a no-no to buy a bike without a title (check with the dmv). In most cases not knowing if the bike, car etc is stolen dosen't matter to the law.

If it were me, I would check with the local police. Have them run the vin number of the bike. If it was reported stolen the police would get a hit on the vin number indicating where and when the bike was stolen, and from whom. If the bike has not been reported stolen, then you might want to check the local and state laws concerning found property. Where I live a time limit is in order, The bike would be listed in the local newspaper as found, without giving much information about the bike, and after the time period expires the bike is mine, providing nobody else can show proof of ownership.

So the seller basically ran off and you got the bike for free then? It's stolen. Think of the guy/girl/kid who owned this bike before you- a lot of people don't have insurance coverage for something like a bike and are left high and dry. Imagine how happy they would be to get it back!

Well there are 2 ways to do this..t he Proper way or the A$$ way...

Take the # to the cops.. as said before... if the proper owners come.. you should feel good about yourself!

If no one shows up.. you get a free bike and you should still feel good about yourself..

Yeah, you need to do the right thing...definitely have the local PD run the

vin. If it comes back clean (at this point it's unlikely), then you could apply

for a new title.

If it does report back as stolen, you'll return the bike to its rightful owner and

you'll be able to sleep MUCH better at night!

If you kept the bike, have no title and cancelled the check, you may well be considered a thief yourself in the eyes of the law. I'm not trying to bust your balls or paint some sort of doom-and-gloom scenario, but IMO you complicated things for yourself considerably by not returning the bike when this whole thing started falling apart.

Going to the PD is a gamble, because if it does come back stolen, you could be held responsible since you are in possession of stolen property.

Two ways to handle this, IMO:

1 - Contact an attorney if you really want to keep the bike.

or

2 - Take the bike back to the shop and walk away.

Hope it works out for you.

-B

This is simple. Go to the Police or DMV with the VIN number and run it. If it's stolen, it goes back to the rightful owner. If it's clean you got yourself a free bike as long as your seller doesn't show up somewhere.

I don't understand why you have been keeping the bike for free for a year and a half before you finally decide to start checking into the actual ownership of the bike... why didn't you do what was suggested in your original thread, retrieve your check and return the bike?

basically you have been keeping and using someone else's property for over a year now.. you need to finally do the right thing and attempt to find the rightful owner so they can get their property back, regardless of whether it was reported stolen or whatever... I don't mean to sound harsh, but I don't think what you have done so far is right either...

that's my 2 cents...

Think, if you ever got stopped while riding it and they checked the VIN - YOU are in possession of a stolen vehicle. Anything you say after the fact will not help you only hurt you. This will go on your record.

If you have a reciept saying that you bought it from someone else then you will not get into "trouble" if the cops come looking for the bike. Now they can take the bike away from you and return it to the original owner. Now if you dont have a reciept, and no way to prove that you bought the bike from someone else then who knows what they will do.

I would say if it has been a year and a half not much will come of it. The police dont worry about stolen bikes to much. If it doesnt come up in a couple days they probably just give up haha.

I bought a bike for my wife a year and a half ago for a local shop. here is the deal from my original post.

I purchased an 05 crf230 from an individual who was a "good customer" of a local bike shop. They guy had the bike for sale there, not on consignment, just sitting there with a for sale sign on it. I talked to the owner of the bike on the phone and we agreed on a price. This price was the amount the guy said he owed on his loan with Honda finance. I wrote a check out to this guy and gave it to the bike shop. The shop owner agreed to keep my check in his safe until he received the title from the bike owner. The bike owner was told by myself and the shop owner that he could not cash his check until he produces the title. I was told that I would receive the title in a few weeks. With everyone in the loop on things, and me being paid in full, I was given permission to take the bike home by both the bike owner and shop owner.

see my original post http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=387013

well against some good advice of yours i kept the bike, tried to contact the owner a few more times and canceled the check. Its a year and half later now, i still have the bike and have never heard from the guy.

so i guess he couldn't pay off his loan, reported it stolen and collected insurance, died, or most likely stole the bike in the first place and tried to sell it as if it was his own.

How can I tell if the bike was reported stolen?

if it is or not, how can I get a legal title for it?

I dont think I can get into legal trouble with it, i have the shop owners word, my check still in the safe and my testimony here on tt.

what would you do?

If your dirtbike was stolen and somebody has it, would you want it back? You have not done anything with it because your feeling tells you the motorcycle is stolen. You already received good suggestions from other members but its up to you to act on it.

so did he cash your check? If he did id get out the file.... If not id call teh police station and ask em if your vin comes up as stolen. If he got your money and it was a stolen bike you could end up getting screwed..

You need to make one solid "good faith" effort to contact the previous owner, if it fails, then it's yours free and clear.

So if it was me, I would:

1. Contact the bike shop, and get a copy of the check ~ this is VERY important! This is your only real proof as to why you should be in posession of this bike.

2. Make one last round of calls, just to be sure that the old owner is no longer available. If you leave a message, write down when you did it. And if your lucky enough to speak directly with someone, get their name and again, write down the day and time that you left that message.

3. Contact the police department and have them send an officer over to inspect the bike and run the VIN number. He will most likely want to see a copy of the check, and won't be happy about this being so drawn out.

The officer will be able to provide some guidence at this point, but it's my opinion that if it comes back clear (the previous owner could have paid cash to buy it), but if it's still clear, then head to your DMV and file for a new title.

When it arrives, you now own it free and clear. But at the same time, put every piece of paperwork that you have on this bike in a safe place, someday you may have to explain what you did and that you really do own it free and clear.

Keeping quiet about it and crossing your fingers will eventually bite you. In many ways, this IS NOT a stolen bike, you just need to finish the paperwork.

Contact the bike shop, and get a copy of the check ~ this is VERY important! This is your only real proof as to why you should be in posession of this bike.

Unfortunately, the only thing the check proves is that the OP once wrote a check that was never endorsed, deposited, or otherwise acknowledged by anyone else. For all anyone knows, he could have written that check this morning.

This is a dicey situation to be sure. Probably the only mistake the OP hasn't made yet is taking his legal advice - mine included - from an internet forum :)

-B

Based on the first post I am going to guess that the owner of the bike is Honda finance. Without the payment upfront, the seller probably was unable to obtain the title and just stopped making payments. Whether or not it was reported stolen by anyone is is unknown. If yor lucky you may be able to buy it out from Honda with the money that you intended to pay him. You might call Honda fianance and see if they will look up the VIN for you. Otherwise, follow others advice.

Good lcuk

I bought a bike for my wife a year and a half ago for a local shop. here is the deal from my original post.

I purchased an 05 crf230 from an individual who was a "good customer" of a local bike shop. They guy had the bike for sale there, not on consignment, just sitting there with a for sale sign on it. I talked to the owner of the bike on the phone and we agreed on a price. This price was the amount the guy said he owed on his loan with Honda finance. I wrote a check out to this guy and gave it to the bike shop. The shop owner agreed to keep my check in his safe until he received the title from the bike owner. The bike owner was told by myself and the shop owner that he could not cash his check until he produces the title. I was told that I would receive the title in a few weeks. With everyone in the loop on things, and me being paid in full, I was given permission to take the bike home by both the bike owner and shop owner.

see my original post http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=387013

well against some good advice of yours i kept the bike, tried to contact the owner a few more times and canceled the check. Its a year and half later now, i still have the bike and have never heard from the guy.

so i guess he couldn't pay off his loan, reported it stolen and collected insurance, died, or most likely stole the bike in the first place and tried to sell it as if it was his own.

How can I tell if the bike was reported stolen?

if it is or not, how can I get a legal title for it?

I dont think I can get into legal trouble with it, i have the shop owners word, my check still in the safe and my testimony here on tt.

what would you do?

Give me the vin numbers and I will check them for you.

anything stolen that is valued over $300 is a felony. Call the Popo and get the rightful owners name and get their property back to them. If it was claimed on an Ins policy, it belongs to the Ins. company. They'll be happy to sell it to you with a valid title.

There is no way the bike is legally yours. Period.

Do what Drab and Cam said. It's not worth losing sleep over. Take it down, have it verified. An owner of a classic 56 T-bird got his car back here in CA after 30 years. Someone sold it on e-bay for some ridiculous price and it was delivered to owner after some research.

Good luck. Theres tons of advice here. Mine is to say listen+act

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