Since the early days of the Internet, online shopping has been fraught with deceit. And, despite the hard work of many companies, there’s still a lot of trepidation when bidding in Internet auctions. Inevitably, anyone is bound to wonder: “Will they really send the goods?” “Are the pictures accurate?” “Are these beautiful bicycles actually soon-to-be stolen items?”

That’s right, we said “soon-to-be-stolen,” not “stolen!”

While we never support theft, this is one story where you at least have to admire the criminal’s audacity. It seems that the bicycle in the picture above, which was listed on Yahoo! Auction, is stolen property, which isn’t particularly newsworthy, however scummy it may be. What is newsworthy, though, is that the criminal took the photograph several days before actually stealing anything!

  • The events of a frightful night

The bicycle pictured above rightfully belongs to Hiroshi Tamura, editor-in-chief of two specialty cycling magazines. On June 17, around midnight, his wife spotted someone running away with bicycles from Tamura’s garage and called the police. Officers soon arrived on the scene and confirmed that three bicycles had been stolen, and then left for the day.

  • Six more bicycles stolen!

Unfortunately for Mr. Tamura, the next morning provided an even greater shock. Checking the garage around seven am, he found that six more bicycles had gone missing! The criminal had returned to the scene of the crime (again), broken in (again), and ran off with even more bicycles! We must say that this guy or gal sure is one bold thief. We also wonder if maybe Mr. Tamura should invest in a better lock for his garage…

  • Pre-theft photos

But our story isn’t over yet! It turns out that the bicycles had been put up for sale on Yahoo! Auction five days before the thefts occurred. Which means that this master criminal broke into Mr. Tamura’s garage to photograph the bicycles once, put them up for sale, and then came back once more to actually steal them once the bidding was finished.

We don’t want to tell anyone how to do their job, but there’s got to be a more efficient way to do this…

  • Expensive bicycles

All nine of the stolen bicycles are of high quality, worth a combined total of 2,200,000 yen (US$22,181.94). We can only assume that the winning bidders didn’t realize they were buying stolen property. After all, the thief has a nearly 100 percent positive rating on the auction site, including a very positive comment from the winner of one of the stolen bicycles!

Here’s to hoping the cops catch the thief quickly and recover all of Mr. Tamura’s bicycles.

▼Note the lack of a “STOLEN PROPERTY” label. Maybe this thief isn’t so daring after all.sba1

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, Yahoo! Japan Auctions, Excite
Images: Yahoo! Japan Auctions
[ Read in Japanese ]