Owner contacts police after finding stolen bike on Craigslist

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.  ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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