IT took dozens of texts, a quick-thinking bus driver and the power of the social networks, but there is no making a twit of Donald Pyper.
The keen biker refused to accept defeat when his beloved Harley Davidson was taken from a car park outside his home last week.
After a relentless pursuit featuring up to 50 of his friends, the bike he bought at a Ministry of Defence auction two years ago was spotted in Silverknowes.
Donald then turned super-sleuth after other reports of its whereabouts pointed him in that direction and eventually uncovered the distinctive £1000 vehicle hidden beneath a cover amongst undergrowth.
The 32-year-old data analyst from Gorgie told the Evening News: “The police were very helpful, but on the day of the theft I also texted about 40 or 50 of my friends to tell them what happened. Two of my colleagues at Northern Gas Networks uploaded the information, along with pictures of the bike, to Facebook, while another friend tweeted about it. Because I had repainted the bike, it is the only grey model of its kind, which makes it very recognisable.
“Later that day, a friend of a friend who drives a bus actually saw the bike being driven in Silverknowes. Luckily, the bus was stopped at the time and he managed to take a picture on his mobile phone.”
The image was soon circulated around Facebook and Twitter, while Donald pounded the pavements to search for clues.
“On Thursday night, there were a couple of reports of the bike being seen in West Pilton and in Silverknowes Eastway at around about 9pm,” he said.
“It’s really unusual for a search for a stolen vehicle to be narrowed to such a small area, so I just kept looking around the streets and in undergrowth.
“I found five places where I could tell the bike was being stashed due to the tyre tracks that were left. I could also tell it was the same two people hiding the bike as they were always wearing the same trainers.”
Donald eventually found his bike on Sunday night and came within minutes of catching the thieves red-handed.
“People kept reporting sightings of the bike around the same areas, so I worked out where it was likely they would be. I stood at the junction of West Shaw Road and Marine Drive, and before long I saw them go past.
“There were three people on the bike, completely overloading it. What made it worse was that one of them was a very young boy, in his early teens at best. Not one of them was wearing a helmet.
“Luckily I had an idea where they were going, having found a hiding place nearby earlier that day. Sure enough, the bike had been dumped there when I arrived.”
Unfortunately, the bike hadn’t escaped unscathed, with Donald now counting the cost of a replacement number plate and indicators.
He has also lost out on a planned tour of Inverness and Finland in search of venues for a friend’s stag party.
Police said inquiries were ongoing, but Donald has warned the thieves they are in his sights.
“We’re going to get you,” he said. “The bike had been wiped down to remove fingerprints, but we already have CCTV footage from the bus you were seen driving past on Wednesday. Plus, you left a bus ticket beside the bike with the service number, date and time still clearly legible, so we can recover the footage from that bus, too.”