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11/11/2011 // INFO Leave a comment

Internet plays its part in recovery of a stolen bike


Matt Craiglist Bike

When a bike is stolen, the internet is often the first port of call as you scour eBay, online classifieds and local markets in an attempt to recover your prized possession.

It is also a great resource to publicise the fact that the bike has been stolen and ask people to keep a look out for the bike. Social media applications like Twitter can build awareness of your bike beyond your own social grouping and make it to other people’s consciousness.

Sometimes, there is even a happy ending with a stolen bike being recovered.

Matt’s tale

In the US, one owner has recently blogged about his own little story on how the internet and social media eventually got his much loved bike back, 18 months or so from when it was stolen.

New York City resident Matt O’Rourke’s prized Bologna bike was stolen in Manhattan all those months ago. Such was his grief at losing the bike, he put up a listing on Craigslist (a bit like Gumtree here) asking for the return of the bike.


In the listing, Matt, with a touch of humour, asks for the return of his Bologna bike, going as far as offering a $500 reward for the bike to be returned.

Why go to all this effort? The bike had some sentimental value to Matt as the listing in Craigslist states:

“Some assmaster stole my custom made, heavy, rusty Bologna bike at 10th & C last night. I’ll give anyone who returns it $500 cash, no questions asked.

I’ll also give $1k for the thief’s nads on a stick. Yes way.

It’s been passed on from generation to generation in my family for almost 3,000 years.

I’d really like to give it to my son some day. And if you’re the thief, and you’re reading this, please give it back. I’ll give you the five hundred bucks.


If you don’t, I will call Dog the Bounty Hunter, Bobba Fett, and Bear Gryls, and they will have a 3 way, and that 3 way will produce a son, and that son will be raised by Tito Ortiz, and on his 18th birthday, he and I will come to your house, and f**k your shit up. Thank you for your time.”

Despite the Craigslist listing, the retweeting of the humour filled listing via Twitter as well publicity in local New York press and websites about the listing, Matt heard nothing.

Bike returns

Then out of the blue a few months back, he got a phone call from a man, who said he had been stopped by a woman while cycling across the Williamsburg Bridge in New York.

The woman told the man on the bike that the bike fitted the description of a bike that had been reported stolen. She had recognised the bike from the photo Matt had put up on the Craigslist post as well as some detailing about the bike that Matt had put on the listing.

Much to his credit, the man (whose name remains disclosed) believed her and said he would return the bike to Matt. Hence the phone call.

True to his word, the man returned the bike is now back in Matt’s possession, though the bike was not delivered by the man in person it seems.  Matt states in his blog that the $500 reward remains uncollected as the man who contacted him never left an forwarding address or phone number for Matt to contact him on.

Matt finishes his blog post with these words in praise of the internet and social media.

“It worked. You shared it, and a lot of people saw it. And because you did, I got my bike back. Thank you internet, that was very nice of you.”

For more great cycling news and stories follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

See also

Bike shop manager out pedals thief

This is how we roll, the bike with a cardboard frame

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

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