La Grange School Board president buys back stolen bike on Craigslist
Updated: September 17, 2012 12:16PM
LA GRANGE — A custom-made battery operated bike stolen July 30 has been recovered after the owner, La Grange Elementary District 102 School Board President David May, tracked it down on Craigslist.
The bike, valued at $1,000, was reported stolen at 6:59 p.m. July 30 after it had been locked to a light pole near the La Grange Road train station and the lock was cut.
Soon after the theft was discovered and reported, May said his son learned the bike had been listed and sold on Craigslist before the loss even was realized. May said he felt terrible about the theft because his son had designed and built the bike as a special gift.
The bike was listed online as not having a power cord to recharge the battery, but the thief offered a link on where to buy one, May said. His son contacted the battery manufacturer and asked to be notified if anyone inquired, May said.
Within a short time, May was put in touch with the bike online purchaser, who said he met the seller on the corner of Ogden and Cicero avenues.
“We talked to him and arranged to buy the bike back for $200,” May said. “We wanted to get in touch with him right away so we didn’t lose the bike.”
Police Chief Michael Holub said May informed police his bike was listed for sale online, and detectives were investigating the matter, as well as conducting surveillance on the La Grange Road and Stone Avenue train stations after 20 bikes were reported stolen at the depots since May.
“We look at Craigslist all the time and Angie’s List and get a lot more activity on eBay,” he said. “We’ve made other buys and recovered other properties. Those are good companies who assist us when there’s an issue. They don’t want to be associated with stolen property.”
The department’s investigation “was not at a speed that they chose,” Holub said concerning the bike listed on Craigslist. “They decided to act on it before we did.”
“We knew who was responsible but were not able to charge him with that link missing to the direct purchase. It didn’t qualify,” Holub said. “It would have been another charge we would have had.
“I’m happy he got his property,” Holub said.
May said he provided all the information police requested concerning the theft.
“They were looking for additional evidence,” May said. “My focus was on getting my bike back.”
May said he underestimated how easy it is to steal a locked bike, and he has purchased a heavy-duty lock. Holub said a lesser quality lock and cable can be cut and a bike loaded in a vehicle in as little as 30 seconds.
“I look at myself as being $1,000 ahead of where I was before,” he said. “I learned a good lesson to be more careful with my bike around town.”