I am new in Berlin, i moved here one month ago.

Yesterday night, just infront of the NeuKöln S Bahn Station, probably at 02:30 AM, I found a bike lying on the floor. It caught my attention since it was not locked and in the middle of the sidewalk. The back tire was not moving,so i thought it was broken and left by the owner there to die. Then i wanted to take it and did.

After i ride the SBahn to Schöneberg with the bike, checking in the light i saw that it is locked! Not with a normal bicycle lock but with a backtire lock.

So maybe it is not abandoned but it was lying there because of an obacure situation that i can not guess. Maybe also the owner is searching for her bike.

How to find the owner and where to report this bike?

Thank you.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Willeke Mar 8 '19 at 18:50

In Germany, the finder of lost or "apparently abandoned" items is required to turn them in at the Fundbüro. The one for Berlin is at the former Tempelhof airport terminal.

  • If the item is claimed by the owner within 6 months, the finder gets a small monetary reward (a few percent of the value) and the owner gets the item back.
  • If the item is not claimed in time, the finder can pick it up again at the office.
  • If the finder does not want it, either, it will go to a public auction.
  • There are special rules and offices for things found in public transport, on trains, within train stations, etc., but going to the Fundbüro is probably the easiest solution for someone who doesn't know German regulations.
  • You will be asked where you found it. You will have to wrestle with your conscience how detailed you want to get with a story like yours -- usually more detail helps to match the owner and the item. But bicycles all have serial numbers, so the owner should be matched with the bike if he does ask at all.
  • Do it soon. Owners are asked to wait a couple of days before they make their inquiry, and it would be good if you turn it in before then.
  • Special case for bicycles: The Berlin police offers to register bicycles before they are lost to deter theft. There is a sticker on the bike with a reference number and an entry in a database with both this reference number and the serial number of the bike frame, plus contact information of the owner.

Knowing this system can be helpful for two reasons even if one does not have a found bicycle to report.

  1. The public auctions are a cheap way to get a used bike if you can tell junk from useful ones (no guarantees and no refunds if it turns out to be crap).
  2. There are people who buy, refurbish, and sell such bikes. Not quite as cheap as the auction, but a bicycle mechanic will have looked it over before resale. You may get the found items report along with the invoice, which will prove your legal ownership.
  • 1
    Thanks for the wonderful explanation, this was what I needed but unfortunately didn't come in time. I brang the bicycle to the exact spot I have found it because I got the impression from the comments that nobody would be likely to believe my sincerity and story. This is a very useful information. – Ali Somay Mar 8 '19 at 16:04

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