Lance Armstrong's stolen bike has been rescued, and should be reunited with its owner sometime today. Police aren't offering many details, but I have a feeling we can all thank the mystical powers of Facebook.
The bike was returned by "a local citizen," who brought it to a Sacramento police station on Wednesday. It had been stolen from a locked truck after Armstrong had used it before Stage 1 of the Tour of California on Saturday.
A Facebook group called "1 Million Citizens Looking for Lance Armstrong's Stolen Bike" had grown to 1,282 members by the time word of the Trek's return hit the Internet on Wednesday. While there was no obvious link between the bicycle's return and internet forces rallying to Armstrong's aid, online campaigns helped make life tough for the thief or thieves, said Sergeant Norm Leong of the Sacramento police force.
"All the technology involved really kept the story alive and moving," Leong said. "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...it is that hot of an item."
Armstrong had also been keeping the searchers updated via his Twitter feed. All in all, it is believed to be the most comprehensive use of technology to detect a sought-after item since our highly successful recovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Late Wednesday, the "1 Million Citizens" Facebook group gathered to celebrate the bike's return, as seen in the video below.
Sacramento Police Recover Armstrong's Stolen Bike [San Francisco Chronicle]
Lance Armstrong's Twitter Feed
Lance Armstrong's Unique Time-Trial Bike Recovered By Police [KTXL-TV Sacramento]