Irishman tricks bike thief into meeting him – and takes his bike back

Kevin O'Brien with his bike

A quick-thinking Irishman was reunited with his bike after it was stolen from work by a thief who later tried to sell it on the internet.

In 2019, Kevin O’Brien, from Cork, spotted his bike on a buy and sell site and set up a sting operation with help from his wife and a few pals.

He got in touch with the seller and told him he wanted to buy the bike and arranged to pick it up at a shopping centre car park.

Kevin O'Brien with his bike

One of Kevin’s friends works as a bouncer and acted as his back up, while others stood nearby reading a newspaper and smelling flowers while they kept a look out. His wife got the whole thing on camera.

Kevin appeared on the Muireen O’Connell Show on Today FM to tell his story.

He said: “I’d left the bike outside work and when I finished work, I came out and the bike was gone, but my lock was still on the rail.

“I put it on Twitter and a lot of people got in touch and kept telling me to check the online buy-and-sell websites.

“I did that for a few days, but saw nothing and kind of gave up on it. But a week later I decided to have one more look, and I found a bike that looked pretty much exactly like mine.

“I got in touch with the guy selling it, and kind of pretended to be interested in buying it.

Kevin made sure he would be safe by bringing his crew along with him and even had a signal planned to let them know he needed them to intervene.

He continued: “I got on to a couple of buddies as well, just in case anything went wrong, you just want a bit of backup for these situations.

“I went there and my buddies kind of stayed in the background. It was busy and they were just trying to blend in with things. I think one of them was kinda reading a newspaper at the newspaper stand and there was another guy smelling flowers at the entrance to Tesco. Just looking inconspicuous, like.

“My wife was there as well trying to get some videos of the guy.”

O’Connell expressed her shock at the lengths he had gone to in order to get his bike back.

Kevin replied: “You have to do it right if you’re going to do it at all. After five minutes of waiting the thief came over and as soon as I saw the bike, I knew for a fact it was mine.

“I’d given my buddies a signal that as soon as I sat on the bike, that was when I would break it to the guy – it was actually my bike and I was taking it back.

“After chatting to him for a few minutes, I sat on the bike, and just as I was going to tell him and have my big moment, my buddy came from out of nowhere and just told him, ‘look, this was robbed three weeks ago and we’re taking this bike back’.

“All the blood drained from him. He started shaking. He got the fright of his life.”

The thief was so shocked that he made a run for it a ended up driving the wrong way up a one-way system as he tried to escape the car park.

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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling