Cyclist Jenni Morton-Humphreys locked up her bike near the city center of Bristol in England and went for brunch. When she returned, her bike was gone.
She reported it to the police and put photos of the stolen bike on the Bristol Cycling Facebook page, asking for help in finding it, according to the Bristol Post.
Within a couple of hours, someone identified as Chris spotted it for sale on Facebook and reported it to Jenni, who enlisted the stranger's help in getting it back.
Chris contacted the seller and said his sister was interested in buying the bike, and a meeting was arranged. The seller's friend, "Rocksteady," agreed to meet Jenni with the bike the next morning on a street corner in Easton.
Jenni then contacted police in hopes they would intervene, but though they were interested in the case, they refused to step in and advised her against the sting operation she hatched.
With the time set for the meeting, Jenni and her friend Matt waited nearby for the seller to call. When he did, Matt took up a position out of sight while Jenni approached her bike and the seller. She identified it as her bike and proceeded with the plan.
"I pretended to be interested and asked silly questions about the bike," Jenni told the Bristol Post. "I said the saddle was too high, and asked if I could get on it to test it out.
"I made sure I had nothing on me, no possessions at all apart from the stuff in my hands – and they were a cigarette packet and a set of keys. I handed them to this guy as I got on the bike and said 'Here, hold my stuff.'"
The seller took hold of her "stuff" and Jenni started pedaling away and didn't come back.
Matt reported that the seller "stood mystified for many seconds" and then someone shouted, "She's not coming back."
The cigarette packet was empty save for a broken lighter inside; the keys, unbeknownst to the seller, were the keys to the chain that was cut when the bike was stolen 18 hours earlier.
Jenni later discovered that the bike was in even better shape than before, since the front light had been fixed.
When the seller complained to Chris, he replied, "She's probably took it straight home. Not surprised, though, because it is her bike that was stolen yesterday."
"The police had one of the guy's numbers, but said they couldn't do anything because he'd basically said he'd bought it the night before in a pub, so no one was actually brought to justice over it," Jenni told the Post. "I'm just glad I got it back."
The question is, did the seller really buy the bike the night before or was there justice after all? Most likely, we'll never know, but we have our suspicions.
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