A prolific bike thief was caught after a victim’s mum tracked him down and picketed outside his house with a placard saying ‘Where’s My Bike Dave?’.
David Seagar, 49, stole eight bicycles in a summer-long spree last year - which sparked Fiona Bateman’s sit-in protest.
Fiona was left fuming after she saw Seagar pinch her son’s mountain bike from their carport on a neighbour’s CCTV.
Seagar, of Witney, Oxfordshire, was repeatedly identified by social media users but Mrs Bateman said although she reported it to the police “not much was happening”.
She then set out to track him down, found where he lived and sat outside Seagar’s house for three days with a placard reading ‘Where’s my bike Dave?’.
She was cheered on by social media users wowed by the courageous mum’s daring crimefighting mission.
The Spotted Witney Facebook team even dropped off a hot chocolate and a bunch of flowers.
At Oxford Crown Court on Friday (September 15) Seagar avoided jail.
Instead, he was given two years’ imprisonment - suspended for two years - with requirements to complete a drug rehabilitation scheme and the thinking skills programme.
Following the sentencing Fiona said: “We had a bike stolen by him. Does that mean I should feel entitled to steal someone else’s?
“It’s just frustrating that he got a slap on the wrist.
“Where are the bikes? How about buying my son a new bike? We can’t afford the four, five, six hundred pounds to replace it.
“He stole so my son has to now walk. But that’s OK, just as long as Dave doesn’t feel aggrieved.”
Seagar was interviewed by the police a number of times.
In court, he was shown footage of one theft that was captured on CCTV but Seager denied it was him.
He was said to have used bolt cutters to slice his way through locks in order to get away with bicycles ranging in value from a few hundred pounds to an e-bike worth more than £2,000.
One victim was said to have returned from an appointment to find that his bicycle, left locked up outside a GP surgery in Witney, had vanished.
Another bicycle was taken from outside Witney leisure centre, the court was told.
The defendant was said to have come across as uninterested when he was interviewed by a probation officer for a pre-sentence report.
Seager’s barrister, Peter du Feu, characterised his attitude as “I had my bike stolen, I’ve got mobility problems so really I’m fairly callous about taking other people’s bikes”.
Passages of the report were read out by the judge, with the probation officer describing Seager as showing a “sense of entitlement”, stealing bikes “deliberately and brazenly” simply to get him from A to B.
However, Mr du Feu said his client was “quite upset” by the report.
He was “embarrassed” both by the probation officer’s words and the fact he had stolen others’ property.