Colorado woman steals her stolen bicycle back after finding it on Craigslist and meeting thief

Theft victim hopped on her bike and rode away - but don't try this at (the criminal's) home, warn police

by Simon_MacMichael   November 10, 2011 news

A woman in Boulder, Colorado who found that her bicycle had been stolen while she was in a bar managed to recover it after arranging to meet the thief when she discovered that he had put it up for sale on the website, Craigslist.

The woman, 25-year-old student Kathryn Lucas, discovered her Trek road bike had vanished after spending Friday evening watching a University of Colorado football game on TV at a bar on the city’s Pearl Street.

"I kind of second-guessed myself whether I locked it up or not, but I definitely remember locking it up," she said, according to a report on the website. "My bike is gone."

Her first thought was to check Craigslist – similar to the Gumtree website in the UK, where she quickly found her bike in the "For Sale" section.

"I knew that it was my bike because I have red handlebar tape and that's not standard," she said. "I thought it was kind of a rookie move to put it on Craigslist for the same area."

Having alerted the police, she arranged to meet the suspected thief at his apartment complex – he had not given her a precise address – perhaps ill-advisedly getting there before officers did, meaning she had to play for time.

"So I asked if I could take the bike for a ride,” she said. “I started riding it. I was like, maybe I should just throw it in my car and get out of here. So I did and then I talked to police," she added. "This is mine, I can take it. My seats are down in my car, it will fit perfectly. I never looked back."

The suspect, 18-year-old Denzel Crawford, has pleaded guilty to theft, although he claimed the bike was unlocked when he found it.

"I'm glad that I got my bike back," added Ms Lucas.

"Social media can be helpful in those cases, but really it's best to contact the police department and get them involved upfront," stated Kim Kobel of Boulder Police.

"In this case things turned out well and she got her bike back safely, but you don't know who you're dealing with all the time. You are essentially going to a stranger's home."

Ms Lucas herself realises, on reflection, that her course of action may not have been the most sensible one, telling 7 News Denver: “They were a lot bigger than I thought they were. I thought it’d be like a little person that stole bikes and I’d be like, ‘Hey, I called the police and that’s my bike and you’re trying to sell it to me,’ but I just took it for a ride and went with it.”

“They [the police] told me for future reference that I probably would not want to do that by myself,” she added.

12 user comments

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Do not count on any assistance from the Met in similar cases.

posted by Coleman [331 posts]
10th November 2011 - 15:23


When my bike was stolen and I saw someone riding it, the police held it for 2 months as evidence before they decided that it wasn't worth pursuing the case.

posted by hastings [25 posts]
10th November 2011 - 16:20


The suspect, 18-year-old Denzel Crawford, has pleaded guilty to theft, although he claimed the bike was unlocked when he found it.

Because it's not theft if the bike isn't locked? Yeah, right.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1448 posts]
10th November 2011 - 16:26


I thought the same about his comment of it not being locked. Makes me mad.

posted by mbt [12 posts]
10th November 2011 - 16:43


Bravo, Kathryn! I would have done the same thing, only since I don't have a car I would have kept riding. I mean, especially since I don't have a car.

You know, if this story were about a man doing the same thing as you, do you think 1) people would so strongly advise him not to do it or 2) it'd even be a news story? Just wondering.

posted by littlepackage [4 posts]
10th November 2011 - 18:52


Point of order - how could she "steal" her own bike back?

posted by Cauld Lubter [131 posts]
11th November 2011 - 2:02


In the UK, the bike doesn't have to be locked to make it theft.
A couple of years ago I forgot my helmet and glasses hanging off my handlebars when I locked my bike up near Moorgate. Some scrote took the glasses, but luckily a passer by saw them, called the cops and followed the suspect while the police arrived.
It took me about 5 months to get my glasses back while they prosecuted as it was the only physical evidence, but he was found guilty. Can't remember the sentence.
At the time I thought the police had gone to an awful lot of trouble for a cheap pair of glasses which I'd left on my bike.

posted by AleT [53 posts]
11th November 2011 - 13:29



posted by stripey [3 posts]
11th November 2011 - 13:56


+1 very much.

posted by elstado [17 posts]
12th November 2011 - 8:35


You rock, Kathryn!

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

mikroos's picture

posted by mikroos [254 posts]
12th November 2011 - 20:18


The Met would have protected the thief and his stolen bike until proven otherwise Wink

DanGot's picture

posted by DanGot [28 posts]
14th November 2011 - 17:12


Nerd Hi all! re the above, the definition of theft is as follows:
a person steals (theft) if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanantely depriving the other of it. Sounds complicated - but in essence if you take something belonging to someone else without permission, thats theft. A bike doesn't have to be locked up, if its unlocked its still theft. AND - the Met Police are held by the same rules of evidence as everyone else. They don't try to hinder people getting their property back, but they have to be able to prove to a court what was stolen. This means persenting it to the court physically( If something is perishable, they photograph it). AND they dont make the decision about who to prosecute in most cases - that decision is made by the Crown Prosecution Service, based on a two stage evidence test. SO STOP KNOCKING THE POLICE - ITS VERY TIRESOME! Big Grin


posted by stokeybloke [36 posts]
15th November 2011 - 18:11