A young woman in Vancouver found her stolen bike posted for sale on Craigslist, so she contacted the thief posing as an interested buyer, took the bike for a test ride — and just kept riding.
The woman contacted police immediately when her bike was stolen, then called them back when her friend sent her the Craigslist post. But they said they might not be able to get back to her today — and by the time they could make it, she reasoned, the bike might be sold and gone, instead of being a mere two blocks away in the custody of a lazy thief. She described the decision-making process in a Reddit post:
He has posted from an address that was 2 blocks from where it was originally stolen. Immediately I called the police again and told them the information I received from my friend. The lady told me that someone would call me back and it might not be today. THIS GUY IS SELLING MY BIKE RIGHT NOW!!! I am not missing this opportunity waiting for a call. So I jump into action.
When she arrived, she recognized the bike immediately by its identifying stickers (although she also checked the serial number later, and it was a match). So when the seller cautiously allowed her to take a test ride, she got on the bike and just rolled away. It’s actually a hilariously Canadian story — she asked politely if she could try the wares, he politely but warily said “yeah, but don’t take off,” and she politely and quietly took off anyway.
I asked the guy if I could take it for a ride around the parking lot. He was weary and said “yeah but don’t take off…” I said not to worry that I would even think of it! My heart was pounding and I had no idea what to do so I just got on the bike and was like fuck this guy and started to ride. As I was riding away, I called my friend who was driving to meet me as backup. I rode to the adjacent parking lot where she was pulling into as I was riding. We watched the guy start to look for me and he got super freaked out and he suddenly just took off running.
And then, she politely called back and apologized for not paying him!
After that I called him and personally left him a message apologizing for not sticking around to pay him for the bike HE FUCKING STOLE FROM ME!!! (insert a bunch expletives.) I went home and checked my serial numbers, which of course matched. I looked his phone number up on craigslist and noticed that he was selling a bunch of bikes and iPhones as well. I called crime stoppers and gave them all the information I had, and I called the police back to let them know I didn’t need to file that report after all. The lady and I had a great laugh about the day’s events.
Annnnnnd then she mooned Reddit, so that’s where the “politeness” gimmick ends. (I’m not going to post that here, obviously. You can go look if you care.)
We don’t necessarily condone bike re-thievery, but we have to admit that everyone in this story got basically what they deserved. The intrepid woman got her bike back, the thief got turned in, and Reddit got a picture of a butt, which perhaps they don’t deserve but probably appreciated. It’s all very inspiring and heartwarming.
Get Grist in your inbox