Bike thief returns it after being shamed on Facebook - News, Weather & Sports

Bike thief returns it after being shamed on Facebook

(WOIO) -

While people stealing stuff things isn't new, using Facebook to shame thieves into returning what they stole is.

"The bike was right here on the porch, and you can see in the video. He walked right up," stated Phil.

Phil Coats had good surveillance video of the bike thief casually walking onto his front porch and riding off into the night on his son's bike.

"I couldn't sleep all night-- I was trying to figure out, what am I gonna do," said Phil.

After sleeping on it-- Phil had a bright idea.  The software engineer put the theft and the thief on blast--posting the video on social media--with a twist.

"I was going to make flyers but then I thought, hey I'll just start a Facebook page and pretend to be this guy," added Phil.

It didn't take long before folks in Dixon started to take note and respond with lots of hits.

They were concerned that they might be the next victim.

"I said I'm the Dixon bike thief-- you better watch out--cuz I may steal your bikes- I'll steal anything," stated Phil.

Phil beefed up his message on Facebook saying "You better lock your door and hide your valuables because I prowl your streets at night."

Within 24 hours the Facebook page had 10,000 views, comments and likes. The post showed the power of networking and put the spotlight on the thief.

"I saw it was working so I went ahead and put it on my page," said Phil.

It took about a month but for some unknown reason the late night thief returned the bike.  That was also caught on camera.

"My wife goes out to get something from the car and came running back in the house and grabs me by the arm," said Phil.

Shocking but true-- the bike was back home.

"It's obviously the same person and the bike has a little bit of wear and tear on it," said Phil.

From bike thief to bike borrower, whether it was shame, fear of getting caught or social media pressure-- the bike is back home.  Now Phil's son can ride to his heart's content.    

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