Cyclist stolen bike Craigslist
After finding his bike on Craigslist, he arranged to buy it back. A man came out of an alley with the bike, and Lesh took it for a “test ride.”
Then Lesh simply rode off without paying.
Danny Lesh said that he loaned his Cannondale hybrid to a friend who lives in the Brightwood neighborhood. The friend attempted to secure it to her porch using a cable lock, but on Monday morning woke up to find that the bike had been boosted. She filed a police report and notified Lesh of the theft.
"It was the first bike I ever bought," says Lesh, who purchased the bike in Chicago in 1998. About midday yesterday, while at his job at a labor organization, Lesh was notified that a bike matching the Cannondale's description was being offered on Craigslist for $100. He took a glance at the want-ad and immediately recognized his old ride.
"I looked at the pictures, there were stickers that I put on the bike," he says.
Lesh called the number on the want-ad and arranged to meet the vendor, who is also located in Brightwood. On the cab ride over from Dupont Circle, he also gave the Metropolitan Police Department's Fourth District a ring, asking if they could spare a plainclothes vice officer to observe and potentially make an arrest. After several phone calls, Lesh says he was told no officer was available.
When Lesh's cab arrived at the intersection of Fifth and Longfellow streets NW, he asked the driver to wait around the corner. He approached the vendor, who walked up toting the Cannondale. Lesh describes the bike-seller as a large man who was wearing baggy clothing.
After haggling over the Craigslist price, Lesh says, he asked for a test ride. The vendor agreed, and Lesh pedaled around the block back to the waiting cab. He tossed the Cannondale in the trunk and rode off. The vendor called about half an hour later, demanding Lesh return the bike and threatening to notify the police himself, though it appears that call never materialized.
On Tuesday morning, Lesh filed his own Craigslist post describing (in fewer details) his ordeal and news that he had discovered the vendor's phone number attached to listings for several other bikes for sale, including a brand-new Gary Fisher Mamba going for $150. The Mamba, a 9-speed mountain bike, normally retails for $989. A discount of more than $800 on a bike that the seller claimed had been used for just two weeks was quite suspicious.
Posing as a prospective buyer, I called the number listed on the Craigslist ad and asked about taking a gander at the bike. A man identifying himself as John answered. He said that the Mamba belonged to his cousin, who traveled far too frequently to ride the bike enough to justify ownership. But John could not say from which shop his cousin bought the cycle nor explain why, after just a fortnight's ownership, he was willing to take such a huge loss on a new bicycle.
John said he was meeting another prospective buyer for the Mamba about 12:45 p.m. and said would call back later if it was still available. He hasn't, and the Craigslist ad for the bike has since been removed. But he is also listing another Gary Fisher bike, a Zebrano of an unknown model year, that he said was his own bike but needs a brake repair.
Citywide, bike thefts dropped over the four-year period from 2007 to 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available). Ward 4, in particular, is one of the safest parts of the city for bike owners, trailing only Ward 8 in reporting the fewest numbers of stolen bicycles.
But that shouldn't be taken to mean that bike theft and the reselling of stolen property isn't unheard of in the area. "Bikes do get stolen off of front porches occasionally, but that happens all over the city," says Rebecca Mills, who publishes the blog The Brightwoodian and was recently named to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B. She also says that in her own experience, MPD's Fourth District has been "very responsive" when she's called on their assistance.
As far as a possible bike fencing ring, though, Mills says she's unaware if such an operation exists in her neck of the woods. Still, stolen property is common enough on Craigslist. A recent initiative launched by Cathy Lanier and other big-city police chiefs to crack down on the theft of smartphones and other portable electronic devices aims to curtail the number of stolen devices resold on the online classified page.
Meanwhile, it appears that John, who briefly came into possession of Lesh's stolen Cannondale and potentially other stolen bikes, did not heed the advice of this 2010 Consumerist article: If you're going to sell stolen goods on Craigslist, it's best not to post your actual phone number.
Correction: This article originally reported the location of Lesh's meeting with the Craigslist vendor as Ninth Street and Missouri Avenue NW. The exchange took place at Fifth and Longfellow Streets NW.
pole behind a club I went to on Saturday. Initial review of Craigslist
hasn’t shown anything yet. But my bicycle was a Red Vitus 979, 58 cm,’m 5’10″ and it was a bit too tall for me The frame was red with
matching red rims and I really loved that bike. It had almost entirely
all Simano 600 components except for one piece that I can use to
identify it.The picture is attached as a reference, my bike had white lettering on
the down tube not the top tube, and had brand new red and black bar