A crime-fighting mother in the United Kingdom who assisted in bringing a frequent bike thief to justice claimed she is “frustrated” that the man received “a slap on the wrist” for his crimes.
“[I] was really frustrated that he just got what amounts to a slap on the wrist. We believe he is part of an organized crime gang, stealing bikes [to sell for drug money],” Fiona Bateman told Fox News Digital in an emailed comment.
In 2021, Bateman became a local crime-fighting hero in Witney, Oxfordshire, after a security camera captured evidence of a suspect stealing her son, Graeme’s, mountain bike from their garage. She shared images of the suspect on Facebook, and “numerous people” identified him as “Dave Seagar the bike thief,” according to Fox News Digital.
Bateman stated that she reported the video to police, who did not pursue the matter.
“I found it incredibly frustrating that even though we gave the police video evidence clearly showing Dave cycling into our shared carport in November 2021, using bolt cutters to cut the lock on Graeme’s bike and leaving on his bike with Graeme’s in one hand, the police were unable to do anything,” she told Fox.
Forced to take matters into her own hands, Bateman devised her own strategy to assist in the arrest of the alleged bike thief: protesting outside his home.
“I found out where he lived the following day and as the police were still not interested. I decided to picket his house with my makeshift sign. I told my husband, Bob, what I was going to do, and he was rightly concerned,” she said. Her protest sign asked the simple question: “Where’s my bike, Dave?”
On the first day of the protest, Bob called the police to express his fear for her safety. Police arrived at the house, according to Bateman, and warned her to “not talk to Dave, not obstruct him, not shout, and not stand directly outside his house” or face arrest.
Bateman obeyed their demands and staged a peaceful sit-in beside the house with her protest banner, and she was even supported by locals who brought her a cup of hot chocolate and a bunch of flowers.
“I stood out there 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for three days in the cold. We managed to get some local support in the papers and on Facebook. We were told by a neighbour of his that a van was seen loading lots of bikes from Dave’s house the same day Graeme’s was stolen,” she said.
Bateman, who owns a haberdashery in Kidlington, had to return to work after the three-day demonstration and thought the police would intervene when she gave them the number plate number of the van that was purportedly seen at Seagar’s house.
Bateman has not received the bike back, but others quickly came forward about their stolen bikes, and the situation escalated until Seagar was investigated by police and eventually brought before Oxford Crown Court last month. The stolen Bateman bike, on the other hand, was not noted on Seagar’s charging sheet.
“I wrongly assumed that when he was caught and sentenced that Graeme’s bike would be on the charge sheet and all that evidence would be seen. Apparently not,” she said.
When asked about the matter and Bateman’s concerns, a Thames Valley Police representative told Fox News Digital that the department takes “all reports of cycle theft seriously and will investigate when such reports are made.”
“In this case, we received a report of a theft on Campion Way, Witney, at around 1.25pm on 17 November 2021,” the spokesman continued. “Following an investigation, the report was filed pending further information coming to light. Anyone with further information should call 101 or make a report on our website, quoting reference number 43210520290.”
According to the spokesman, the police department holds security bike marking activities for locals, which aid in the recovery of stolen bikes, and offers recommendations on how to keep bikes safe on their website.
Seagar is accused of stealing at least eight motorcycles in Witney last year, ranging in value from a few hundred dollars to a $2,500 electronic bike.
According to court documents, one victim reported that his bike was stolen while he was at a general practise surgery centre for an appointment, while another bike was stolen outside a gym in Witney.
When Seagar was sentenced on September 15, he avoided jail time. According to SWNS, he was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, and required to attend drug rehab and “thinking skills” programmes. Seagar’s punishment means he must avoid legal issues for the next two years or face jail time.
“You can probably tell I am still angry with the outcome. I don’t know what it will take to get the police to take minor crimes seriously. They are understaffed and underfunded. And there is a lot of serious crime that takes priority. But these bikes he steals are not cheap,” Bateman told Fox News Digital.
Seagar disputed in court that he was the perpetrator in the security tape of Bateman’s bike theft.
According to Seagar’s attorney, Peter du Feu, “I had my bike stolen, I’ve got mobility problems, so really I’m fairly callous about taking other people’s bikes.” A probation officer who testified in court described Seagar as having a “sense of entitlement” and “deliberately and brazenly” stealing motorcycles to get around town.
Du Feu stated that Seagar was “quite upset” about the entire event and “embarrassed” over his comments in court.
Bateman stated that she is saving money to register her son in a driving school because she does not want to “get him another bike just to have that stolen, too.”
“[Bike theft] affects a lot of people who cannot afford to replace them. I don’t know the answer, but the question remains: ‘Where’s my bike, Dave?'” Bateman said.