That’s how Matt Weller of Nextdoor’s Hyde Russian Hill neighborhood in San Francisco, CA described the moment he realized his 2015 matte black Harley Sportster had been stolen from outside his apartment.
Matt always parked his motorcycle on the street outside his apartment and secured it with a hefty bike lock. While he had heard of other people’s bikes being stolen, he had never experienced any problems. That’s why Matt was shocked to find his bike, which he had seen earlier in the afternoon, gone just a few hours later.
Matt quickly posted to Nextdoor to alert his neighbors of the theft and ask whether anyone had seen anything suspicious that evening. While no one had seen the theft take place, Matt’s post quickly accumulated dozens of comments and reached thousands, with neighbors offering suggestions of where to look, sharing their own stories of property theft, or simply promising to keep an eye out.
One such neighbor was Ryan Pearce, a sympathetic fellow biker, who lived only a few streets down from Matt. He was familiar with Matt’s bike because he drove by it every day when heading to and from work. So when he spotted a matte black motorcycle parked on a street only a few blocks away from Matt’s apartment, he immediately knew he was looking at Matt’s bike.
“I knew that most times when someone tries to steal a bike, they will push it a few blocks away and then leave it for a few days until they can come back to hot wire it,” explained Ryan. “So when I saw that bike on the street, my gut was telling me it was Matt’s bike.”
Ryan hopped of his own motorcycle and snapped a picture of the bike. He posted a comment on Matt’s original post with a simple question: “Is this your bike?” Sure enough, it was!
“I honestly didn’t think I was ever going to see my bike again,” said Matt. “And then all of a sudden, Ryan posts a picture of it and I have several other neighbors offering to go check the license plate number and lock it up until I got home from work. It was amazing.”
With San Francisco now experiencing the highest property crime rates in the nation, many residents are coming to the conclusion that they are the ones who can help fight the crime. Matt’s neighborhood proved that it’s possible with the help of technology and diligent neighbors.
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