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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...

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.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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