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As Web Fuels Bike Thefts, Victims Turn Vigilantes
He said he provided police with a statement and surrendered the bike. He said he was never charged and has not heard from police since the sting. A police spokesman declined to comment.
Moulton said he also did not hear from police again. He wonders what happened to his bike during the year it was gone and marvels that it surfaced in Georgetown, rather than in his own, more crime-prone neighborhood, Shaw.
Which is not to say the Shaw area is immune to bike theft.
Nicholas McKenna was fond of his Iron Horse 6.8 mountain bike. The $2,000 bike was stolen in April from his garage near Ridge and Fourth streets NW. McKenna, 26, felt he had a decent chance of catching the crooks, particularly because he had installed a tracking device on the bike.
He called 911, but officers were delayed in finding his house because, he said, the dispatcher confused Riggs and Ridge streets.
McKenna activated the Global Positioning System device in emergency mode and soon was able to track the bike on a map on his computer. The device worked for about 55 hours before the battery died.
A few days later, after mapping out the path his bike had traveled, he set up an amateur surveillance operation in a residential area close to his house. The first day yielded what he considered probable cause -- McKenna saw strewed bike parts and teenagers riding a pink scooter -- but no smoking gun. Then, during the second day, there it was, a few blocks from his house, being ridden in plain sight.
"As additional proof of how stupid these kids are, stickers were left on the bike bearing this website's address," McKenna wrote in a blog on the humor site he runs, http:/
He posted to the site startlingly clear photos of a man riding what he said was his bike, and he filed a police report. Police have followed up on his tips to no avail, McKenna said.
After the GPS battery expired, McKenna gave up hope. "I'm sure it was dropped off at some bike store," he said.