50 Cycles goes detective

Distributor returns stolen bike to customer after confronting thief
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Staff at 50cycles had a customer service dream come true when they were able to find and return a stolen electric bike to its rightful owner.

The story began several weeks ago when a customer in St Albans, Herts reported that his bike, a Kalkhoff Agattu supplied by 50cycles, had been stolen.

“We went into bike recovery mode there and then,” says Lloyd Clarkson, customer service and sales manager at 50cycles.

"Within a couple of weeks, someone who lived less than half a mile away from the owner of the stolen bike contacted the firm to ask which charger would fit his newly-acquired electric bike.

"His explanation for why he needed an extra charger was pretty vague,” says Lloyd. “He wasn't a customer who was known to us and didn't seem to know a lot about the bike. We keep records for all owners and soon established it was pretty suspicious. He decided to buy a charger from us and gave us a delivery address – and so the trap was set!"

50 Cycles contacted the bike's original owner to tell him that it was likely his bike would soon be returned to him. Lloyd and workshop manager Simon Sanderson (both pictured above) then travelled from Loughborough to deliver the charger in person.

A game of cat and mouse ensued as the gentleman seemed reluctant to produce the bike. Eventually, the 50cycles team persuaded him that they needed to check that the charger and bicycle would be compatible to avoid causing irreparable damage.

"Once I was able to see the bike and confirm the serial numbers matched up with the stolen one, we confronted him with the evidence and gave him two options: he could either explain this to the police or hand over the bike immediately,” says Lloyd.

“Straight away, he conceded that the bike was not his and agreed to give it up. So we left with the bike and returned it to the very grateful owner, who lives a few streets away"

"We always knew we might be able to locate a stolen bike if we had a suspicious enquiry about a charger,” explains Tim Snaith who, along with his brother Scott, owns 50cycles.

“It's very satisfying that it went so smoothly in practice. Thieves need to know that our electric bikes can be traced and linked back to the owner in a number of ways.”

The plan wouldn't have worked without Lloyd's persistence in dealing with the thief. “When I explained the situation, the look on his face was priceless,” he recalls. “Do you know what the funniest thing is? He's
looking for a refund for the charger we left him!"

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