A €700 bike was retrieved in a “sting operation” by its owner this week after it turned up on Done Deal.
Three weeks after Kevin O’Brien had his Felt road bike taken from the grounds of University College Cork campus while working in the Glucksman, he came across it on the buy and sell website, Done Deal.
“It was the middle of May and I had just finished work at 5pm. My bike had been locked to the bike rack just inside the gates of UCC,” said Kevin.
He reported the theft to UCC Campus security and the gardaí and through CCTV footage found out that the bike had been taken just 15 minutes earlier, by two individuals who cut the cable lock with lock cutters.
Kevin said the gardaí told him to keep checking online sale sites in case it turned up and Kevin said he checked them all constantly for about a week, before giving up.
“I figured it was time to move on,” Kevin said.
“But then one night last week, I just got the inclination to check Done Deal again and I saw a bike that looked like mine.”
Kevin said he contacted the seller and told him he was from West Cork and asked him to send more specific photos of the bike before travelling up to buy it.
“The photos on the website were fairly bad quality so I needed to confirm it was my bike.
The young professional, who volunteers with Mad About Cork, an organisation which works towards enhancing the city of Cork with street art, said after he saw the extra photos, he knew it was his bike.
“I knew it was mine: one bald tyre at the front, new tyre on the back, light fitting under the seat, cleat peddles and a bell on the front.”
Kevin arranged to meet the seller in Wilton and attempted to liaise with the gardaí to have a member of the force there to confront the individual.
“I had been dealing with a guard and asked him to come along, but he got called away to work in Clare for the Donald Trump visit,” he said.
The savvy cyclist arranged to meet the seller at Tesco, Wilton, and had his wife videoing the encounter through a window in Tesco and two friends on stand by to jump in on cue.
“I examined the bike again and I knew by the handlebars it was mine. They were covered in spray paint!”
Kevin said that he had agreed with his friends, who were casually browsing magazines and newspapers at a nearby paper stand, that he would sit on the bike if he was sure it was his and was going to confront the seller.
“I sat on the bike and my two friends came over, one of them was a big guy too, and was a bouncer experienced in dealing with confrontation.”
Kevin said he was just about to tell the man selling his bike that he knew it had been robbed when one of his friends stole his thunder.
“He came over and explained the situation before I had a chance!” Kevin said.
After confronting the seller, who was a man in his 50s, Kevin said the individual went as white as a sheet and was shaking uncontrollably.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kevin said.
“The blood drained from his face. I thought he was going to have a heart attack.”
Kevin said after they confronted him, his story of how he came to have the bike completely changed.
“All of a sudden he had bought it at a car boot sale.”
Following the past few week’s exciting events, a wiser Kevin had this advice for fellow cyclists.
“Make sure you have a good bike lock and know your serial number.
“It makes getting your bike back a lot easier. I had my receipt, but if I had my serial number it would have been better,” he said.