Irish brothers caught selling €115,000 worth of stolen bike kit online

Posted on: December 2nd, 2017

stolen ChainReactionCycles stock

When the stock went missing, ChainReactionCycles saw identical items for sale online. It ordered some of the goods, finger prints were found on the wrapping and the huge theft was solved; on the company’s doorstep.


Men sold stolen ChainReactionCycles stock


Two brothers from Co Antrim have been convicted and sentenced for selling around €115,000 in stolen bike kit.

The stolen items came from stocks at a ChainReactionCycles premises not far from where they lived.

And while the judge in the case said it was not clear how the convicted men acquired the stolen haul, it was clear they had sold it.

They did so online under four different eBay trading accounts. And the matter came to light after a sting operation of sorts by directors at ChainReactionCycles.

Senior staff at the Irish-based global retailers noticed there was a large amount of stock missing. It was unaccounted for at a company warehouse in Carrickfergus.

The company then realised that identical items were being offered for sale on eBay.

So they decided to buy some of the equipment in test purchases. When they received the goods they cross-checked their barcodes against the missing stock.

And they quickly determined what they had bought online was some of their missing goods. The company contacted the PSNI and a criminal investigation was begun.

Officers identified two suspects; Brian James Bowen (36), of Oakwood Road, Carrickfergus, and his brother Alan Bowen (33), of Sunningdale Crescent, Carrickfergus.

The older Bowen brother was jailed for six months by Belfast Crown Court. He was convicted of selling £88,000 worth of the stolen stock over six months from October, 2012.

The younger of the two was given an eight-month suspended sentence. He had sold £14,000 worth of goods over four months to August, 2013.

The total sale value of the goods was £102,000, or just over €115,000.

Alan Bowen’s fingerprints were found on the packaging of some of the goods the ChainReactionCycles staff bought via eBay. He had deposited the proceeds from his sales into his girlfriend’s bank accounts.

Some £88,645 had been deposited by Brian Bowen, via PayPal, into his mother’s bank account.

The court was told she had acted under duress and after her son had put pressure on her. He claimed to the court he had bought the goods. Judge David McFarland did not accept his account.

“I just don’t accept that these items were randomly purchased at a car boot sale,” he said.

“I don’t know the exact relationship between you and the person who stole the items. But it is clear it was a mutually beneficial relationship.”