Boulder Resident Elaine Ellis Busts Bike Thief Via Twitter

05/25/2011 05:27 pm ET | Updated Jul 25, 2011

Ever question the real-world value of social networking on the Internet? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, please direct your attention to Exhibit A:

Boulder resident Elaine Ellis, who works as a social media manager at Trada, had her bike stolen on Saturday. She asked around and found a neighbor who snapped a photo of the culprit mid-crime. Elaine uploaded the photo her twitter account, and, aided by her 3,391 Twitter followers, began the hunt.

Upwards of 140 people retweeted her original tweet, and 900 clicked through to see the photo.

Ellis gives major kudos to her Twitter followers, writing on her blog:

Boulder was full of helpful information, so by the time I went to the police station @WendiTV told me he was known as Dready Dave, @eatullis thought she had seen him on the bike path with a different bike, @bikestohikes had seen him ON my bike at Baseline Liquor, @CDR16 let me know he had seen him multiple times on Pearl St. previously and @thecupboulder spotted him on the bike path under the bridge on 9th.

In a six hour window, Ellis's social network single-handedly identified the culprit and tracked him down. Ellis and company caught up with the thief, flagged down a police officer, and ... she has her bike back!

She notes that her bike was returned sporting a bell and a cup holder - two items likely stolen from someone else's bike. If they are yours, we suggest you send her a tweet.

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