A cyclist has reclaimed her bike in an elaborate sting after tricking the thief who stole it from her.
Jenni Morton-Humphreys, 30, from Bristol found her bike on social media. She met and tricked the culprit to get it back. She took matters into her own hands and ignored police advice when she carried out the sting operation in Bristol last week.
‘I saw the bike was being advertised online, I thought ‘Ok, I’m going to go get it, I’m going to have to somehow get it out of this person’s hands’…’ Jenni said.
She had parked her German-made two-wheeler behind the city’s Watershed art venue last Sunday before enjoying brunch at a nearby cafe and a day out in town, according to reports.
However, it was gone when she returned and subsequently she reported it to the police and posted pictures of it on a local Facebook cycling page in the hope someone may have seen it.
Later, a fellow cyclist scoured Facebook’s for sale pages and found the same bike on display.
Jenni and her fellow Cyclist devised a plan, which entailed offering to buy the bike from the unsuspecting vendor. Having found the bike she asked the police to accompany her on the mission and arrest the culprit – but the invitation was declined.
Undeterred she and a friend approached the vendor and arranged a meeting.
“I pretended to be interested and asked silly questions about the bike,” she said. “I said the saddle was too high, and asked if I could get on it to test it out,” she told the Bristol Post.
“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’.
She then asked for a test ride. The seller agreed and Jenni pedalled away.
‘I didn’t look back to see if they were chasing me. My main thought was that I was worried because I didn’t really know where I was, where I was going, or the area at all, and I was worried that I might have to go back that way or end up going round in a circle.’ She added.
‘But it was fine because quite soon, I hit a big roundabout and was able to find a different way back to the city center, so I wasn’t scared at that point.’
The furious seller told Morton-Humphreys’ accomplice: ‘I need 95 quid lively.’
Jenni’s new pal, who asked not to be named, replied: ‘She’s probably took it straight home. Not surprised though, because it is her bike that was stolen yesterday.
‘Lesson to be learned son. Don’t steal from the cycling community for a quick fix. You played yourself.’
Morton-Humphreys was delighted to find the thieves had given her bike some TLC when they had it overnight.
She said: ‘They had spruced the bike up a bit overnight – they’d even fixed the front light.’