Social media puts brakes on Carnlough bike theft

Emma Keenan with the two stolen bikes which were recovered. INLT-33-690-con
Emma Keenan with the two stolen bikes which were recovered. INLT-33-690-con

A Carnlough resident who works for a cycling promotion organisation has thanked the local community for helping recover her stolen bikes.

Sustrans’ Active School Travel Officer for the Causeway Coast & Glens Emma Keenan’s work involves encouraging children to walk, scoot and cycle to school, to benefit their health, reduce congestion, and have a positive impact on the environment.

The cycling enthusiast moved from Randalstown to the east Antrim village in March, and brought along her Fuji touring bike, Trek 3 Series Mountain Bike and Raleigh folding bike.

However, sometime between the evening of August 4 and the early hours of August 5, the bikes were stolen from Emma’s Herbert Street home.

“Three of my bikes and one of my neighbour’s were stolen,” Emma told the Times.

“I am a blow in and I work with schools in the Causeway Coast and Glens area, and from September I will be working in St John’s Primary School in Carnlough, and Cairncastle Primary School. I come and go on my bikes all the time and I had been keeping them in a padlocked shed, but when they were stolen the thieves ripped the wooden panels off to break the lock.

“The touring bike was insured but it’s the sentimental value. I use the bikes all the time to travel sustainably and try to practise what I preach.”

What Emma had not counted on, however, was the widespread social media interest in her plight on the Carnlough community Facebook page.

Within hours, her post had been viewed, liked and shared by hundreds of local residents, and three days later her much-loved touring bike and her neighbour’s road bike were found abandoned in a lane.

The next day, her Trek mountain bike was found dumped in the old graveyard on Carnlough’s Drumourne Road.

“The response from the Carnlough community was amazing,” said Emma.

“People were outraged. I think that with people sharing the pictures of the bikes so much on social media it made them too hot to handle as people were looking out for them.”

While her Raleigh folding bike is still missing, only a few scratches on the other two bikes testify to the episode.

Despite what has happened, Emma says she has no plans to stop cycling around the Carnlough area.

“It hasn’t put me off,” she stated.

“I would like to thank everybody that has helped me in the community.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or speak to Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555 111.