Thursday, June 19, 2008
Taking Back What's Rightfully Ours!
Since my wife's favorite bicycle was stolen from our garage on Mother's Day, things haven't been the same. As she scoured the web for a new cruiser nothing she found seemed to be exactly what she desired and I feared that she would convince herself settle on a bike that she would not be happy with after a month. All this emotion came to an end last Thursday on my ride home from work.
As I was eastbound on B Street I spied a female on a cruiser about a half of a block ahead of me. Immediately I zoomed in taking note of the bike's features as has become routine since the Mother's Day incident. The bike looked pink but I'm colorblind so I looked to the fenders, which were undoubtedly white, and then I saw the handlebars, unmistakable in all their oversized glory. At that moment I knew I had found her bike. In an attempt to control the rush of adrenaline, I tried to talk myself out of what I was witnessing but finally the sight of the gray seat that read "Iron Horse" would not allow me to do so. Immediately, I attempted to not draw attention to myself, passing the pink beauty to look as if I was just going about my business. I made my way across 14th street and flipped a U-turn almost sure that the rider would turn onto 14th. As my instinct did not let me down, immediately I got the Police on the phone as I proceeded to follow the suspect south on 14th street, thru the 7-11 parking lot, stopping 2 blocks over at a house on the corner of 12th and main to talk to a couple of guys that she obviously knew. As I concealed myself across the street behind a bush on the corner, I remained on my bicycle while keeping the police dispatcher updated on all details and events. I cringed as I witnessed the suspect park the bike on its side, choosing not to use the extra muscles in her foot to set the kickstand. She walked in the house with one of the men while the other remained on the porch looking out toward my direction. I was unsure if he had spotted me but I had no cares about that as I had found my wife's bike, the police were on the way and all I had to do now was keep the bike in my sights and wait for the authorities to arrive on the scene. Not three minutes passed and the suspect and what I now assumed was her boyfriend emerged from the house. Her boyfriend proceeded to mount the bike while he talked with her. They then headed out, him riding the bike while she walked. As they headed toward 7-11 presumably for a jumbo fountain drink or a malt liquor, I kept my distance while the dispatcher checked to see how far out a patrol car was. I had little worry that they would attempt to flee if they caught on to me, knowing that if they were stupid enough to consider such an act the pink beach cruiser would be no match for my trusty Redline 925. About halfway through the grueling 2 block trek to the store the boyfriend stopped and the girlfriend proceeded to hop on the bike with him, easily exceeding 300lbs of weight on the bicycle. I muttered, "I could kill those bastards." and then quickly remembered who was listening on the other end of the phone. As the couple entered the 7-11, leaving the bike outside unlocked, I headed across the street to the Grocery Outlet parking lot; picked a good, concealed viewing spot and hoped that someone else wouldn't take the bike while they were inside. I then realized that I had been disconnected from the police dispatcher and quickly redialed. The dispatcher picked up immediately, informing me that a patrol car was just freed up a few blocks away. As the couple proceeded to head back in the direction from whence they came, I followed. The boyfriend then began pointing or making hand gestures at something that appeared to possibly be in my direction. As I was trying to decipher if they were on to me a feeling of relief fell over me as I looked behind me to see two police cars heading in our direction. I motioned, pointing to the couple with my wife’s bike and the officers both flipped on their lights and stopped the suspects.
Immediately one of the officers flipped my wife's bike upside down, resting it on its seat and handlebars at which point he verified the serial number confirming what I was already sure of. As it turned out, the gentleman I had been trailing bought the bike for "his girl" on Mother's Day at about 5:30 for $25. $25? What a deal! I must be an idiot. I thought I got a steal (no pun intended) at $135. His story seemed fairly legitimate as he named of a known local crook as the seller of the bike. When I mentioned my trailer that was stolen along with the bike, the suspect informed me that the "dealer" he bought the bike from was pulling a trailer. The police then cited him and informed him that unless he could prove that he purchased the bike from said thief he would be charged with "Theft by Possession." I contemplated whether or not to have these charges dropped but knowing that unless there was pressure on him he would have no motivation to assist the authorities in prosecuting the illegitimate cycle vendor, I decided to stick with protocol and allow the police to charge him.
You can imagine my wife's excitement as I called to inform her of my whereabouts and the afternoon's goings on. She headed down in the Mommy Missile, I strapped the bikes to the back, the suspect apologized, shook hands with us and we were headed home with her long-lost bike! Despite all her disbelief, I told my wife that I knew we would see that bike again someday but I had no idea that it would be this soon and that the bike would still be in nearly the same condition it was in when stolen. The moral of this story though, I told her, is that if you spend enough time on a bicycle you don't miss much. I guarantee that I would have not found the bike on my commute home last Thursday had I been burning fossil fuels, as I would have been on a different route, inside a bubble and not nearly as alert to my outside surroundings.