Over the weekend, 13-year-old Piper Langevin had her bike stolen out of her friend's front yard, but thanks to social media and a little help from the community, the bike has since been found.
The bike was stolen in daylight around 8 a.m. Sunday on San Marino Drive in Lockwood. Fortunately for the Langevins, the entire incident was caught on camera.
The jarring footage shows what appears to be a woman in a large coat and hood walking up to the black and teal Trek mountain bike, grabbing it, and riding off out of the camera's view.
"It was disheartening," Piper's mom, Kinsey Langevin, said on Tuesday morning. "The longer it went without hearing anything, the scarier it got and the less hopeful we got."
As soon as Kinsey saw her neighbor's video, she went to work compiling as much footage as she could in hopes of finding other clues as to where the bike was taken.
"I was just desperate, and it was meant to be a gift that could take her into adulthood," Langevin said.
Kinsey then went to Facebook, posting all the videos she had found, as well as screenshots of the culprit in action. The post received a lot of shares, eventually catching the eye of an employee at First National Pawn.
"He saw my post on Facebook and he was like, 'That looks familiar,'" Langevin said. "Apparently, they had brought the bike into the store as soon as it opened Monday. He messaged me the next day and he said, 'I think we've got your bike.'"
On Tuesday, the Langevins picked up their bike. It was a happy ending to a frustrating situation, and they know people usually aren't so lucky.
According to Billings Police, this time of year, when the weather warms up, is usually when bike thefts spike. Police said that 181 bikes were stolen in 2022, with 23 percent of the thefts coming before May 9. This year, 32 stolen bikes have already been reported.
"I think what sucks is that the people who go out and steal all of these things, they don't realize the wave of effect that it had on our family," Langevin said.
Billings police used to have a bike registration program, which would help track down stolen bikes. According to Billings Police Lt. Matt Lennick, they abandoned the program a few years ago because there wasn't much interest from the public.
Police did release a statement on Tuesday about the importance of serial numbers: "We recover a lot of bikes, but because most owners are unable to provide a serial number, those bikes end up sitting in evidence unclaimed."
Fortunately, the Langevins had that information, which helped them get their bike back, but the family knows they owe a huge thanks to their community, too.
"Our community is closer-knit than you think, and the people actually care," Langevin said. "And I think that's really important."