A theft victim took matters into her own hands recently to get her bike back from a thief who tried to sell it on Craigslist.
Kayla Smith had her bike stolen the night of Aug. 21 from a bike rack outside a friend’s apartment in Vancouver. She called the police, but got the feeling her bike was a lost cause — until her friend found what looked to be the same bike on Craigslist.
Smith called the poster and arranged to meet him at a local McDonald’s, pretending to be interested in purchasing the bike. In a post on Facebook that was later recounted on the link-sharing site Reddit, Smith said the man shared numerous anecdotes “to convince me of the history he and the bike share.”
“At a glance, however, I notice the strip of duct tape affixing a small plastic piece that detached when I let the bike hit the pavement too hard in front of my mother’s house two years ago,” she said. “I notice the long, pronounced scratch where my brother tested the hardness of a corundum specimen from his mineral collection, much to my exasperation.”
She told the man she wanted to go for a test ride before she made a decision.
“‘Of course!’ he exclaimed seemingly amicably, ‘Just don’t run off with it!’ Smith said.
She said panic set in as she thought about carrying out her plan, but she did it anyway.
“As I was riding away, I called my friend who was driving to meet me as backup,” she said in a second post on Reddit. “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.”
Smith said once she was sure she had gotten away, she called the man and “personally left him a message apologizing for not sticking around to pay him for the bike HE (expletive) STOLE FROM ME!!!” She then went home and checked her serial numbers — which matched — and called the police to tell them she wouldn’t need to file a report, after all.
“The lady (at the police station) and I had a great laugh about the day’s events,” she said.