Stolen bike returned, alleged bike thief also returns

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by Sachelle Saunders

Milwaukee WI -- Liz Van Pay spent three years and hundreds of dollars tuning her bike to perfection. It has red handles, a leopard seat, and a quirky picture of her cat. Unfortunately, it was snatched right out of her garage. Van Pay was livid.

"I was absolutely and completely heartbroken, and I was incredibly angry that somebody could just up and take something and not have a second thought about it," she said.

Determined to get it back, van pay posted "bike stolen" ads on Craigslist, Facebook and Reddit hoping it would catch the right eye, and it did.

Play it Again Sports store clerk Raelyn Lewandowski remembered just days before, paying a woman she calls suspicious $90 for it. The bike was spotted by two customers.

"And they looked and said, Oh, we were just looking for a bike and we saw your bike sitting there, it was online, somebody stole it," Lewandowski said.

When CBS 58 showed up to talk  about the lucky find, surprisingly the alleged thief did too, with another bike she planned on selling. Lewandowski recognized her immediately.

"She said they were cleaning out her closet, or just stuff they hadn't wanted and their kid didn't use or something and I've seen her come in quite often, with just tons of bikes, sometimes 5 or 6 at a time," she said.

When our camera's started rolling, the woman became antsy. Store managers tried stalling her, but held off on calling police not wanting to cause a scene. Minutes later the woman ran off.

Meanwhile, Van Pay can ride again. She got her stolen bike back, thanks to good eyes, and honest people, and she's choosing to see the positive, despite the situation.

"There's so much negative going on all the time, and the fact that something as simple as somebody getting their bike back, it's special and important in a world where things aren't that great all the time," Van Pay said.

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