Shortly after we wrote about how Matt stole back his stolen bike, we get this Sweetbike.org tale of Gretchen’s ride and the vigilante, online-research-heavy sleuthing Point 83 members went through to get it back.
In this latest case, Gretchen’s beloved Raleigh was stolen from in front of St. Mark’s earlier this week:
My beloved bike has survived a lot a dark, dark experiences. Getting molested and stolen today from in front of St. Mark’s Cathedral/Gage is the latest of its growing pains.
Please keep an eye out:
57cm white Rainier themed Raleigh fixed gear
red bull horn handle bars
red front wheel, black rear
Scabies covered leper with early diagnosis of testicular cancer and a bad case of karma blues is probably riding it.
The bike lovers at forum Point83 swung into action. Their investigation — documented in full here — reveals just how much public information can be quickly gathered by a motivated, computer-savvy group.
The stolen bike — or one that matched it every conceivable detail — was tracked to a Capitol Hill man. The details of how Gretchen and friends traced his identity, found out where he lived and documented the whole process including his name, location and pictures from social media are now part of a permanent, publicly accessible record of his alleged activities.
We’re not naming the man. But the Internet already has.
It’s a risky proposition, this vigilantism. The 12th Ave guy who recovered what he believes is his bike says he might face a civil lawsuit brought by the person who was trying to sell it.
Gretchen’s friends say their guy willingly gave the bike up. Still, any prospective Capitol Hill bike vigilantes may want to consider lawyering up.
KUOW’s Conversation will talk about people getting their stolen bikes back Friday around 12:40. Tune in.