July 9, 2012 at 9:45 PM ET
Sunday was just creeping into Monday when Todd Codish decided a cool bike ride after midnight would be a good thing to do. The Carrollton, Texas man lives and breathes cycling, as well as running and swimming; he's a professional triathlon coach.
As he approached the stand-alone garage where he and his wife, Kristen, keep their nine bikes, and opened the garage door, he saw people running out from the other side. It was a break-in. When he assessed the damage, four of the couple's premium racing and mountain bikes were gone. Codish estimated their total value at between $17,000 and $18,000.
"I put tens of thousands of miles on some of those bikes," Codish told TODAY.com.
Codish and his wife didn't wait until morning to swing into action. Shortly before 2 a.m., July 2, Kristen posted this to her Facebook page: "For those of you that watch craigslist and eBay for used bikes, we had four stolen tonight. A Look, Cervelo, Kestrel and Trek mountain bike. Very sad night."
Todd, too, put the word out on the social network, adding "if you hear anything that might help us find this stuff, please let us know. Thanks."
The couple has coached many an athlete, but were unprepared for the outpouring of support that came next.
"The key to the whole thing was that people who knew us started posting it on other Facebook pages," Codish told TODAY.com. "This just shows how great people are about wanting to help when something like this happens."
Word spread like wildfire on Facebook, as comments and tips starting flowing in, some from people they didn't know, who just heard the news because it was re-posted to cycling group pages throughout the social network.
One of the tips came from Facebook user Chris Merz, who follows Craigslist bike postings closely. This was part of the ad he saw:
Merz knew that the bikes were not $100 bikes; they were much, much more expensive. He contacted the Codishes, who in turn contacted the police.
"It was really 12 hours from when my wife posted it on Facebook, and 14 hours from when the thief posted it on Craigslist, that he was in jail," he said.
Codish doesn't reckon that he was up against a master criminal. "I didn't figure the (thief) was going to be as stupid as he was," Codish told TODAY.com. "He used his own phone number in the Craigslist ad. This guy probably wasn't killing time between his shifts at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission."
— Via The Dallas Morning News