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I went to the swap-o-rama on Ashland this past Saturday in the futile attempt to find my stolen bike. I was surprised with all the talk about stolen bikes showing up here, how few bikes were being sold throughout the place. There were only a handful of bikes at all.


Are the other swap-o-rama's more likely to carry more bikes? Or have there been so many busts that the bike thieves are evolving?

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Lugo- it took us awhile last week to find the spot where most of the higher end adult bikes are sold. I can't explain where, but its in one of the corners of the outdoor space which is huge.

We def saw at least a dozen higher end bikes but didn't have time to do a lot of searching against the registry.

Folks who have checked out the other flea markets have not found any smoking guns.

Re: Ashland Swap-O-Rama-- a lot of bike-i-zens put in a lot of time to make things hard for sellers there, and as a result few of the regular vendors will touch hot bikes at this point.  Previously the thieves would sell to the non-bike-specific vendors and you could walk in and find two nice road bikes here, three there, etc. So many of them have had bikes taken, and lost what they paid, and had to deal with a disgusted cop that they now steer clear, and stick to items that aren't as easily traceable to an owner.

Still, if you catch the place on a day that the thieves are there pushing their latest load, you will see a fair number of bikes that look like the ones in the Wilmette police holding photos.

When the thieves are there, they keep the bikes outside the swap, and have their people roll the bikes around the swap quickly trying to sell them. If there's any heat the roll-around guy heads for an exit. 

I'm seeing an uptick in thefts matching the MO of the thieves named in the Wilmette bust coverage.  I think the game's back on.


After the Ashland Swap O Rama, the swap at the Allstate Arena might be the next best bet.

I checked it out last fall and didn't find evidence of stolen bikes, but there was a bust of a man in Glenview last year with close to 100 bikes, who claimed he would regularly purchase at the Allstate swap.  Could have been completely bogus.



Did anyone check the SOR south on 294?...They may be taking them out of the city, that venue is huge.

You're talking about Alsip?

Yes, it was checked more than once-- never any evidence of fencing of reasonably valuable bikes.

Things can certainly change, but the busiest thieves I'm aware of are based (i.e. live) on the far north and northwest sides, so Alsip is not terribly convenient.  Plus they're not as likely to get the support and protection from "security" (cough) there that they get at the Ashland hellhole.

And just a plea to anyone learning of the Ashland Swap O Rama for the first time via this thread-- please do not go there to buy bicycles-- anything you might find that would be of any interest is absolutely stolen.
I went from corner to corner and didn't see much. Ok, just checking to make sure I wasn't a total doof. THANKS!
Nope, it's like that-- 2 or 3 times, nothing, 4th time, bonanza.  But you get to pay for entrance each time regardless.
Good point. I'll probably go again this Saturday. If anyone wants me to look out for anything let me know.

H3N3, good to hear. I've hit SOR Saturday, Sunday, and today in the week since my bike got nabbed from my house, and am starting to give up hope... I walked in today saying, "third times a charm" but maybe saturday i can walk in and be like, "bonanza." At least I have found my serial number since last week. I saw some sketchy looking nicer bikes today that probably weren't even noticed missing, just like mine was last week. One in particular, i hadn't heard of the brand name before but it might have been italian-sounding and started with a "G." On sunday I think noticed a black frame with blue highlights (might have been in the tires) that was kind of being hidden underneath/between a truck and somebody's stand.


Lugo, what are you looking for on saturday? I'm missing a bianchi pista seafoam green (only one in this color i've personally seen in chicago) which is on the stolen bike registry and bike shepherd alerts and has serial no#H6J08312 and the police report no#HT373776. Hopefully we can all enjoy the rest of our summers with recovered bikes and bring the spark back into life that's been missing (at least for me) since these unfortunate incidents. :) I'll sure as donkey sh!t be back there again on at least saturday and sunday before I call it quits and head out for a little vacation time.

Activity on the Stolen Bike Registry has gone nuts the past few days-- I have a feeling this weekend will be a "bonanza" in terms of fencing activity.

That said, neither of your bikes really fit the MO of the thieves that channel the majority of the hot bikes to 41st/Ashland.  They tend to stick to main streets and for whatever reason seem to greatly prefer cutting U-locks rather than scouring alleys/backyards/side streets for unlocked bikes and bikes locked to fences and railings.

I'll e-mail you both some tips about searching at S-O-R.


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