Vigilante Bicyclist Gets His Stolen Bike Back

Danny Lesh found his stolen bike online and managed to get it back

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A DC man found his stolen bike for sale on Craigslist. He says he called police but they couldn't do anything about it -- so he took matters into his own hands. (Published Wednesday, May 9, 2012)

    Danny Lesh is an avid cyclist -- and now he's also somewhat of a vigilante, after he found his stolen bike online and managed to get it back.

    Lesh's Cannondale hybrid was stolen after he loaned it to a friend who'd secured it with a cable lock, which are easy to cut if you're a theft with a pair of boltcutters handy.

    But Lesh located the bike on Craiglist shortly after last weekend's theft -- his bike had a prominent sticker on it, so he was certain it was his.

    The ad asked for $100, and Lesh called the police, who told him they wouldn't be able to respond right away. But Lesh, who'd paid $600 for it back in 1998, wasn't about to let someone else end up with his bike.

    "I knew I had to do it that day, or else I'd never see the bike again," he said.

    He arranged to buy his bike back. A man came out of an alley at 5th and Longfellow streets NW with the bike, and Lesh took it for a "test ride."

    Lesh simply rode off without paying.

    "This guy finally started calling me, and left a message saying he was going to call the police," Lesh said, laughing.

    When Lesh got home, he put up his own post on Craigslist, warning other site users about the thief, saying high-end bikes listed for low prices could be stolen.

    "Honestly... I couldn't help feeling bad for all the other people he'd stolen bikes from," Lesh said.

    D.C. Police advise citizens against trying to recover stolen property on their own, but Lesh was glad to rip off the crook he says got him first.

    "I'm glad that, hopefully, his business is interrupted a little bit," he said.