... but not how you probably think.
Having your bike stolen is a nightmare. What if, to add insult to injury, you start getting speeding tickets in the mail for the bike that was so rudely taken from you? That’s exactly what happened to Portland motorcyclist Erick Russ, but this story doesn’t end how you might expect.
The bike in question, a 2001 Honda Shadow 1100, was stolen from in front of Russ’ house back in 2017. At the time, he dutifully reported the theft to his local police. The bike was sadly not recovered, and Russ just moved on with his life.
Then, some speeding tickets attached to Russ’ stolen bike started showing up at his house. Russ was still registered as the owner of the bike, so he got all the tickets. Speed cameras snapped shots of the rider, so Russ could see a man he didn’t recognize riding his bike. A total of seven tickets showed up, including a couple only a few days before the twisty part of this story took place, which you’ll read below.
Eventually, Russ reached out to local news station KGW8 to share his frustration. The station, of course, made a news piece out of it. Long, lingering shots of those speeding ticket photos were part of that story—and they’re ultimately what gave it an unexpectedly happy ending on Sunday, November 10, 2019.
It turned out that a rider named Matt Young was the guy in the speeding ticket photos. Young saw that news story, and said he had no idea the bike was stolen. He’d bought it from someone in a private sale a couple of years ago. Since then, he’d been riding and enjoying it.
After seeing that news piece, Young said he felt bad for Russ. He reached out to KGW8 to let them know that he was the guy in the photos. KGW8 then worked with both Russ and Young to arrange a meetup, because Young decided that he wanted to give the stolen bike back to its rightful owner. Some cosmetic changes have happened in the past two years, but the bike is in pretty good shape and Russ seemed both surprised and pleased to get his baby back.
KGW8 reported that this story would have turned out quite differently if Russ had reported the theft to the Oregon DMV. Had they known about it, he would not have received those traffic citations—which total about $4000, including late fees—in the mail. It also would have gone differently if Young had ever tried to title and register the bike in Oregon. Something here doesn’t totally add up, since Young has effectively been riding around for close to two years on someone else’s expired plates, but at least Russ got his bike back?
The two riders reportedly went out for a beer after the handover. No word on what will happen with those speeding tickets, but first things first.