A social media-savvy stolen bicycle victim recovered her ride last week with the help of Philadelphia police, who are publicizing the pinch in hope of throttling a persistent summertime crime trend.
The victim, whose identity police did not disclose, reported on Dec. 12 that someone had stolen her bike from in front of her home. It was a black and green Cannondale road bike with a white seat and pink paint on it. The woman began her own investigation by checking local bike shops and searching websites such as craigslist and ebay to see if her bike had been posted for sale. She also joined a Facebook group called “Philadelphia stolen bikes,” and posted a photo and description of her bike.
On July 8, someone replied to her post stating that a bike resembling hers had been posted for sale on craigslist. The seller was asking $1,000.
After confirming the craigslist listing, the victim contacted the seller via email, indicated her interest in buying the bike and set up a meeting. The victim then contacted Philadelphia police, who accompanied her to the meeting at an unspecified South Philly address and monitored it from a short distance.
When the seller emerged from a house with the bike, the police approached him and examined the bike. It had the distinctive pink paint on the frame and the same serial number as the stolen bike. The officers returned the bike to the theft victim and arrested the seller. Police did not release his identity.
With bicycles in greater use around the city during warm-weather months, bicycle thefts increase in number. Police recommend that bike owners photograph their bicycles and record the serial numbers in case the bike gets stolen. Bike theft victims should contact their local police district before agreeing to meet anyone trying to sell a stolen bike. Bike owners may also register their bicycles with their local police district’s community relations or crime prevention officer. ••