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So there is a cool old bike in my building's laundry room that I want. It appears not to have been touched in a year. I attached a note Sunday saying that I noticed that it hadn't been touched in quite some time, that I thought it perhaps had been abandoned by a former tenant, and that I intended to take it if it went unclaimed. How many days should I give it before grabbing it?

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FYI:
(720 ILCS 5/16‑2) (from Ch. 38, par. 16‑2)
Sec. 16‑2. Theft of lost or mislaid property.
A person who obtains control over lost or mislaid property commits theft when he:
(a) Knows or learns the identity of the owner or knows, or is aware of, or learns of a reasonable method of identifying the owner, and
(b) Fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to the owner, and
(c) Intends to deprive the owner permanently of the use or benefit of the property.
(d) Sentence.
Theft of lost or mislaid property is a petty offense.
(Source: P. A. 78‑255.)
I heard a story about this sort of situation on the radio recently. Can't find it, but it goes something like this.

Man #1 finds dusty bike in storage room of apt. He thinks about it for some time, and eventually "liberates" it. Not long after he is approached by another man he knows, someone of importance and a good person for man #1 to be on good terms with. Man #2 says that while it was awfully nice that the owner of the building had let him leave his bicycle there, it has unfortunately disappeared. Man #1 asks, was it a green bike? yes. was it ____? yes. Unable to say anything further, man #1, totally ashamed of himself, takes man #2 to the bike, at which point man #2 positively identifies it, and leaves with it in his possession. A very awkward exchange, to be sure.

Later Man #1 (with a different bike) is grocery shopping when he sees a thief steal his bike. Man #1 chases and catches the thief. There is a crowd to witness the scene, and someone calls the police, who eventually show up and arrest the bike thief. Despite Man #1's wishes to the contrary, charges are pressed and a court date is set.

When the court date arrives, the thief and Man #1 are in the court when the jury walks in. Man #1 is shocked to see Man #2 on the jury.

The bike thief eventually gets a year in prison.

Don't steal the bike. Maybe leave a note expressing interest and a phone number.
You are the one that needs to live with yourself on this one. Scenario #1, you go through the entire process of getting written permission from the landlord, giving notice, storing the bike and report it to the police after x amount of time. Cops look at you like you are crazy and tell you to just take it or they take it and "inventory it". You never see it again. Scenario #2, you go ahead and take it and you wonder why everyone looks at you funny in the building and when people asks you where you got the bike either you have to lie or go into great detail explaining how you got it. Scenario #3, leave it there, somebody totally unethical steals your idea and the bike. I'm sure there are more scenarios, but you get the idea. I'd probably would ask the landlord/building manager if this personal property was abandoned or not and if they have knowledge of who the previous owner is. If you can get testimony from someone that knew that the owner was notified about removing the personal property (lease termination agreement, eviction, foreclosure, etc.)and afforded a reasonable amount of time, plus get it in writing. No one expects landlords to hold on to items in storage areas forever. Main point here is that did the owner leave it, intending to have it discarded or was the previous owner deprived of the personal item or ability to get it. The latter situation points to the bike being "stolen" and regardless of how you obtained it, it is still stolen. Sorry to drag on about it, good luck.
take it now before someone else does cause they see the note and like it to
I disagree with Howard - nowhere, ever.

h3 said:
Joe TV said:
The bike thief eventually gets a year in prison.

.

You forgot to preface this story with "a long time ago in a galaxy far far away . . . "
So back in the day, horse theft was a capital offense. (If we are to believe old western films). Later on, automobile theft eventually got to be considered a serious felony.

As times change and our needs and technology evolves, the law changes accordingly. I propose that it is time for a new class of crime: Environmental Crime (or something like that). Bike theft is not just a PITA, it is a crime against the planet and should be dealt with as such. I'm not a proponent of retributive justice, but I think it is time that we take bike theft at least as seriously as car theft.

h3 said:
Joe TV said:
The bike thief eventually gets a year in prison.

.

You forgot to preface this story with "a long time ago in a galaxy far far away . . . "
I agree to disagree with everyone. Thank you . . .
How can something so simple be made so complex by people who seem so smart?

The note on the bike is a good idea but, I feel, not visible enough because it seems this person pretty much ignores their bike.

I have had this situation happen to me more then once at apartments I lived in, recently involving a basement clean out by the landlord. My tactic was to put a note up in the foyer by the mailbox how to contact me if somebody wished to claim the bike(s) as well as a date (two weeks out about) at which I would be 'liberating' the bikes.

I have never lost a wink of sleep over it.
Dr. Doom, don't you live in Hyde Park? If so, it seems to me that NotoriousDug's proposed solution (in addition to being perfectly reasonable) is right inline with the Hyde Park ethos.

notoriousDUG said:
How can something so simple be made so complex by people who seem so smart?

The note on the bike is a good idea but, I feel, not visible enough because it seems this person pretty much ignores their bike.

I have had this situation happen to me more then once at apartments I lived in, recently involving a basement clean out by the landlord. My tactic was to put a note up in the foyer by the mailbox how to contact me if somebody wished to claim the bike(s) as well as a date (two weeks out about) at which I would be 'liberating' the bikes.

I have never lost a wink of sleep over it.
A few years ago, i liberated a bike from the basement of a building that my employer was about to tear down. i had been seeing the bike in the boiler room of that building for about 10 years. It had a flat tyre on its unbolted front wheel.

My line of reasoning was thus: it's been here a decade unattended, its owner had long since graduated/changed jobs/given it up/forgotten it/died. My feet hurt from all my walking around. Better to put it back in operation rather than it being destroyed beneath tons of rubble or carted away by a scrapper.

i ride this old '67 coaster brake machine every day at work, carrying my tools or material in an old handlebar bag. It's saved my sore feet and gives me great mobility on my job. The bosses don't bother me about it.

Most days i leave it unlocked in front of or just inside any of the buildings on my beat. Sometimes a coworker uses it. If someday one of the locals decides to re-liberate it, i'll be P.O.'d, but if they really need it more than i, then g-d bless 'em.

Just my 2 cents...
Did you try a sign in a more public area, Laundry room say? might remind the (non)rider to attend to "move it or lose it"
Hmm, thanks all for the good advice. I'm going to put a note up by the mailboxes where it can't be missed, give it a week and then take it if it's unclaimed. If it turns out to be someone else's after I've taken it, no big deal—I can offer them some cash or just give them back the bike in better condition than I found it.

Generally it would be nice if landlords and maintenance companies were a little more aggressive in setting policies for abandoned bikes, though. I really hate to think of how many nice or at least usable rides are rotting in basements with everyone assuming they belong to someone else. Working Bikes could probably run for a year just on what's kicking around below Hyde Park.

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