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Commuter Story: Taking Back What’s Rightfully Ours!

by Commute by Bike

Submitted by Kaz Kougar:

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 have to settle on a bike that she would not be happy with. 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 two 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 you’re much more aware of your surroundings and don’t miss much when you’re on a bicycle. 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.

Ed. – If you’d like to share YOUR commuter story, send it to diggers@commutebybike.com.

 
Burley nomad 229

19 Responses to “Commuter Story: Taking Back What’s Rightfully Ours!”

  1. Siouxgeonz says:

    Glad to see the reunion! Gotta tell ya, it’s a shame you’re colorblind and can’t appreciate the glory.

  2. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    Good!, Great! Hope they get the thief and you get your trailer back too!

    When I am not home, I will start locking the bike I’m not riding as if it’s by the street….

    Ohh, it’s true, at what is seen while on a bicycle!

  3. JB in the mountains says:

    Great Story! You are wise with your observation about being out in the world on your bike instead of being in the car bubble. Reminds me of the Suess book about what was seem one day on Mulberry Street.

  4. Scott says:

    Way to go! I hope that somehow they can track all of that back to the real thief. Either way, it’s an encouraging story that sometimes things work out better than we might expect.

  5. Rob L says:

    Awesome! That is great that you recovered it! I get so peeved about this stuff, I’ve had many bikes stolen in my youth, and it stinks! My last one was a self restored old Schwinn cruiser that I restored myself when I was about 13-14 and had for 3 years before it was taken! Ugh.

  6. Juan says:

    Great story. I’m glad you got it back, and I hope they arrest whoever took it. Also, great heads up on knowing the serial number. I got in the habit some time ago of putting small notes, taped inside my seatpost, headset and bottom bracket that read “This bike is stolen. Please call Juan at (phone number)”. I figured if the thief, or whoever they sold it to had it serviced, the bike shop would see that and alert me or the cops. If you couldn’t remember, or did not know the serial number, you could have the cops pull the seat tube right there on the scene, and read your name for you.

  7. NoTrail says:

    It’s always nice to have a happy ending. I hope the cops were able to track down your trailer too!

  8. CJ says:

    That is a great story. In our local area there have a been a few bikes stolen from local riders. The bikes are usually taken by street people or drug addicts. When a bike is stolen the local biking community will generally put out messages on blogs to look for the stolen bike. One time a local rider had a very expensive bike stolen outside of a eatery. Messages went out on the blogs and a few days later another local rider spotted the stolen bike downtown while he was enjoying a coffee. It turned out the bum that was riding the bike was the same guy that stole the bike. The cyclist that spotted the bike simply stopped the bum that was riding the stolen bike and told him he would not using the bike any longer and that the police were notified and on their way. A guy can do that sort of thing in Lincoln, Ne because for the most part our homeless people are not aggressive or violent.

  9. CPL says:

    Calling the police worked. I thought he was going to give chase and pummel the person on the bike then take back. But they weren’t the perps. It would have then been assault. This was a good lesson for me. I would have bashed & grabbed.

  10. Teresa says:

    I have a bike not half as ugly as that one that I thought would never get stolen.

    I’m buying a lock tonight.

    BTW, great story.

  11. Reuben says:

    Lesson Learned:

    Write down the serial numbers of all of your bicycles and file a police report if one is stolen. This dude would not have gotten his bicycle back if he was only saying, “no, I don’t know the serial number, but trust me, officer, that’s my bike.”

  12. Enhancement Smoker says:

    Cool story.

    Way to go, throwing in that stereotype about malt liquor. Let me guess, the bad guys were black and you don’t care for black folks much?

  13. kaz kougar says:

    Actually Enhancement Smoker, “The bad guys” were white as am I. And my two youngest children are black, I love them very much and that is no joke! And get this, I have Latino friends as well. Therefore I have no qualms with anyone based on their race.
    For the record the “bad guy” was carrying a brown bag that appeared to contain an unknown beverage container of sorts.
    Let me guess, you are a glass is half empty kind of guy?

    We’re off subject but I just had to speak my peace.

  14. Dman says:

    Great story! A good friend of mine had a brand new (two days old!!) $600 DK BMX stollen while we were in college. We searched all over town for weeks for the bike…never saw it. Glad some stories turn out better!

  15. matthew booth says:

    Enhancement Smoker – that was a nice attempt to lower the quality of the website… I don’t care for idiots much.

    Kaz – I’m glad you got your bike back. I had my bike stolen of my bike rack while my car was parked in a church building parking lot on Sunday morning. I would have paid money o get the chance to see someone riding it around and call the cops on them.

    Perhaps it was a bit of good karma…

  16. Raiyn says:

    Perhaps now would be a good time to suggest the National Bike Registry?

    Just an added layer of protection like good locks and proper locking technique.

  17. Cycling says:

    Gripping story! After ‘losing’ many bikes in the past I know how frustrating it can be so I’m glad they got some comeuppance.

  18. david p. says:

    man, i bet you were so pumped with adrenaline! that must’ve been really exciting. great story!

  19. This was an awesome story. Glad you got the bike back and loved the way you told it, I felt like I was there. It’s so true about riding a bike and being aware of everything outside.

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