Bay Area Cycling Community Tracks Down Suspected Bike Thieves

By Susie Steimle

DANVILLE (KPIX 5) — An East Bay couple turned to social media after their expensive bikes were stolen from their garage, and the bike community managed to track down the suspected thieves.

Eileen Swanson was sound asleep with her husband and two young children when someone broke into their garage in Danville Saturday night and stole their high-end Cervelo road bikes, and her wallet.

An alert friend helped police nab the thieves.

Swanson said, “Very scary, I still think about it. It’s traumatic.”

They’ve gotten them back, but it took some serious sleuthing.

Danville police Sgt. Andrew Jenson said, “Yes, a sting operation was conducted based on detective work and some work with the biking community as a whole.”

It started when Eileen Swanson posted a picture on Facebook, which was shared widely by the cycling community.

Her post reached a friend of a friend who just happened to stop at a convenience store on a bike ride in Martinez that same day. That’s when one of the suspects approached him trying to sell the stolen bike.

The alleged thieves’ downfall? He was a little too trusting.

“The suspect actually gave him his name and number which was amazing,” Swanson said.

The cyclist then gave that contact information to police, who showed up pretending to want to buy the bikes.

Police instead arrested two Martinez men, who are now facing stolen property charges and identity theft

Sgt. Jenson said, “It was partially luck and partially just great social media outreach and getting the community involved.”

It’s also a sign of the strength of the cycling community: steal from one of them and you could be the one getting taken for a ride.

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