Thursday, May 10, 2012

Stolen bike on Craigslist

Cyclist spots stolen bike on Craigslist, steals it back

Danny Lesh is an avid cyclist -- and now he's also something of a vigilante, after he found his stolen bike online and managed to get it back.

Lesh's Cannondale hybrid was stolen after he loaned it to a friend who'd secured it with a cable lock, which is easy to cut if you're a thief with a pair of bolt cutters handy.

Lesh located the bike on Craiglist shortly after last weekend's theft. His bike had a prominent sticker on it, so he was certain it was his.

The ad asked for $100. Lesh called the police, who told him they wouldn't be able to respond right away. But Lesh, who'd paid $600 for the bike back in 1998, wasn't about to let someone else end up with it.

"I knew I had to do it that day, or else I'd never see the bike again," he said.

He arranged to buy his bike back. A man came out of an alley at 5th and Longfellow streets NW with the bike, and Lesh took it for a "test ride."

Lesh simply rode off without paying.

"This guy finally started calling me and left a message saying he was going to call the police," Lesh said, laughing.

When Lesh got home, he put up his own post on Craigslist, warning other site users about the thief, saying high-end bikes listed for low prices could be stolen.

"Honestly ... I couldn't help feeling bad for all the other people he'd stolen bikes from," Lesh said.

D.C. Police advise citizens against trying to recover stolen property on their own, but Lesh was glad to rip off the crook he says got him first.

"I'm glad that, hopefully, his business is interrupted a little bit," he said.

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