Irish lads’ sting operation to reclaim stolen bike from stunned seller

Posted on: June 9th, 2019

The lads with the bike: They ran a sting operation that lured the seller of their stolen bike to a busy shopping centre.

A Corkman has told how he and two friends, and his wife, ran a sting operation to secure the return of his bike after it had been stolen.

Last month Kevin O’Brien’s Felt racing bike was stolen from University College Cork as he worked in the Glucksman museum on the campus.

And while he had almost given up on getting it back, he continued to monitor a number of marketplace sites.

Three weeks after the theft he noticed what he thought was his bike being offered for sale by a Cork-based vendor on DoneDeal.

O’Brien said he contacted the seller using a fake name and email address so he could conceal his identity.

He then arranged to meet the person – a man in his 50s – in a busy Cork shopping centre. However, just in case things kicked off he brought a couple of friends.

And once inside the shopping centre the lads he was with took up position so they could monitor what was happening.

“My buddies stayed in the background, it was a busy spot so they were just trying to blend in,” he said.

“One of them was reading the newspapers at a newspaper stand and the other was smelling the flowers on display at the entrance to Tesco.

“They were looking inconspicuous and my wife Emer was there too trying to get some video of the guy selling the bike.”

He joked that his group had based themselves on the characters from Reservoir Dogs.

“You have to do it right if you’re going to do it at all; Mr Pink, Mr Black, Mr Orange – we all had those names and everything.

“I gave my buddies the signal that as soon as I sat on the bike, that was when I was going to break it to the guy that it was my bike and I was taking it back.”

After speaking for several minutes with the seller, O’Brien sat on the bike to signal to his friends the key moment had arrived.

However, as he was about to break the news that the bike was his, one of his friends appeared from nowhere and stole his thunder.

“He got in before me and told the guy we were taking the bike back. That was nearly worse than the bike being stolen in the first place,” he said of being denied his big moment.

“Yer man’s face; all the blood drained from it, he got the fright of his life. I don’t think he was expecting anything to go wrong.

“But he didn’t put up any argument. He jumped in his car and wanted to get out of there as fast as he could.”