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Portland man travels to confront alleged bike thief, succeeds

If you've had your bike stolen, this story about a Portland, Ore. man confronting an alleged bike thief is for you.

Here’s what happened: On Aug. 3, Jake Gillum, a scruffy, 28-year-old who describes himself as blue collar, according to Digital Trends, found that his 2009 Fuji Team road bike had been stolen.

Gillum scoured Craigslist.org, where he spotted, four days later, his $2,500 bike for sale in Seattle.


He resolved to get his bike back, but first, he would start growing out his beard to look tougher and older, he told Digital Trends.

He would contact the thief, posing as a prospective buyer. He would use the iPhone Burner app so the alleged thief would think he was calling from Seattle and not Portland, where the bike was stolen.

The two would meet – in Seattle’s upscale University Village mall -- and as Gillum stalled the alleged thief by asking questions, his friends would call the police. He would wear running shoes, thick Carhartt pants and a sweatshirt to look bigger.

The police would arrive, the bad guy would get arrested and Gillum would get his bike back.

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That’s what happened on Saturday, pretty much, plus a very slow bike chase and a surprisingly civil confrontation between thieved and (alleged) thief that could have been inspired by Reno 911!

“I would like you to apologize,” Gillum says in the video.

“For what?” the alleged thief asks.

“For stealing my bicycle.”

The alleged thief, Craig Ackerman, 22, does not apologize. Later he claims he bought the bike from Craigslist, knowing it was stolen.

“It’s not illegal to buy stolen stuff. I looked it up, dude,” Ackerman tells Gillum.

“Well you’re in possession of stolen property and you’re going to jail,” Gillum shoots back.

“You don’t go to jail for that! You got it back, dude.”

“Dude, you go to jail.”

“For what?”

“For stealing my bike.”

“I didn’t steal it!”

“You stole it.”

“I didn’t.”

And so on, until the police arrive, the alleged thief is apprehended and the thank-you credits role.

Postscript, not available in the video: Ackerman was booked Saturday on suspicion of felony trafficking of stolen property and released Monday evening. No charges have been filed -- the case has not yet been referred to the King County Prosecutor's Office, according to spokesman Dan Donohoe.

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