Newcastle police find US man's bike, two years after Mayfield laundromat theft

MEMORIES ON TWO WHEELS: Jordan Shafer, of Phoenix, USA, rode for five days between Sydney and Canberra on his Giant road bike, which was stolen in 2015 from outside a laundromat in Mayfield and recovered this week.
MEMORIES ON TWO WHEELS: Jordan Shafer, of Phoenix, USA, rode for five days between Sydney and Canberra on his Giant road bike, which was stolen in 2015 from outside a laundromat in Mayfield and recovered this week.

JORDAN Shafer had given up on finding his stolen bike and returned to life in Phoenix, until, two years later, he heard from the Newcastle police.

The road bike, a Giant “Defy” from Hadley’s Cycles in Lambton, had “cost a bit of money” and been the US resident’s main transport in his year as an intensive care nurse at Newcastle’s Calvary Mater Hospital.

It had also been a beloved companion on a five-day, two-day journey through lush scenery between Sydney and Canberra. 

Then on June 6, 2015, it was taken. Mr Shafer last saw his bike in Mayfield, a block from the Stag and Hunter pub, where he’d stopped at a laundromat.

“Turned my back for a moment and it was gone,” Mr Shafer, 33, said.

“The year I was in Australia was one of the biggest adventures of my life so far, and that bicycle made a lot of it possible.”

Mr Shafer asked Facebook friends to keep their eyes peeled, without luck. Months went by. His working and holiday visa expired, and he returned to Phoenix.

This week, he posted a Facebook update.

“Newcastle police have recovered my stolen bike from 2 YEARS AGO! Amazing!”

Police had questioned a man they allegedly found with Mr Shafer’s bicycle. 

The man, the Newcastle Herald understands, was wanted in relation to arrest warrants.

It is difficult for police to prove a theft years after the fact, but it can be a “goods in custody” offence to possess a suspected stolen item.

Mr Shafer can’t remember if he reported his bike’s serial number, or if the police traced it from Hadley’s. Officers this week door-knocked Mr Shafer’s former housemates, who told him.

“I thought it was long gone,” he said. 

“I’d looked at all the pawn shops around the area the day after it happened, but I thought it was pretty futile.”

Mr Shafer plans to have his bike dismantled and shipped to the US, with the help of his Newcastle friends.

“I had such a positive experience overall in Australia for the year I was there, and this just adds to how much I loved the experiences I had and the people I met.”