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Twitter Fights Crime, Too?

Published February 19, 2009

It’s nearly impossible to make it through a day in this constantly connected world without hearing about Twitter. The microblogging site is all the rage these days, and now it seems that everybody’s social media BFF—along with its cohort Facebook—is a crime fighter as well.

Turns out the cyber community helped track down Lance Armstrong’s time trail bike after it was nabbed from the Astana team truck earlier this week during the Tour of California.

Armstrong broke the news about the theft in a tweet to his 140,000 followers on Sunday: “Whoa! They just came to my room and said our truck was broken into and someone stole my time trial bike! Wtf?!? APB out to the twitterati.” (Yes, you’ll now want to enter twitterati into your expanding new media vocab)

Four days later, after a Facebook group called “1 Million Citizens Looking for Lance Armstrong’s Stolen Bike” (incidentally the group had about 1,200 members) popped up, the bike was on its way back to Armstrong.

Coincidence?

Probably not, admitted the Sacramento P.D., which investigated the heist.

Sgt. Norm Loeng told the UK’s Telegraph: “All the technology involved really kept the story alive and moving. It was clear that most of the people in the community were looking for this bike. It makes it hard to transport the thing; you can’t ride it or sell it because it is that hot of an item.”

Granted, Lance’s Trek is one-of-kind and even without all the online love, it would’ve been pretty tough for the thief to sell it, but you got to think the buzz on Twitter and Facebook played a big role in getting the word out, especially when the word came from the man himself.

Kinda cool, but I’m guessing I can’t expect the same results if my bike gets lifted.

By the way, Lance was back on the web on Wednesday to tell his Twitter crowd that the bike had been recovered. The Twitter folks must love all this free pub!

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