Bicycle Thief

I have my bike back. I stole it back.

I was walking past the library where it was stolen on saturday, on impulse looking at the bicycles chained to the railings and lamppost, on the million-to-one chance that one of them would be mine. And one of them was. It was attatched with someone else's chain to the lamppost. Same markings, same attatchments, same pattern of rust, everything.

After some hesitation, I walked to the police station to ask what on earth I could do about it. It was a risk, leaving the bike behind - while I was gone, the 'new owner' might reappear and ride it away - but what could I do if the came back while I was there? "That's my bike you're unlocking. Please give it back to me"? I don't think so.

There was, of course, a queue at the police station counter. Eventually, I spoke to PC2299, who asked me if I'd reported the bike stolen. Of course I hadn't - there had seemed no point. And of course I'd never got around to noting the serial number or marking it in some unerasable way.

Essentially, I was told to get some bolt cutters, and take the bike back. Having now reported it stolen and filled out a form, I now had the legal right to contest any charge of theft the might be made if I was seen on CCTV taking it back.

I walked back the the library, intending to telephone my parents about finding some bolt cutters, if the bike was still chained to the lamppost. It wasn't. So, feeling dejected but not surprised, I started to walk home.

And there it was, leaning against a sandwich shop, unchained. I must have spent half a minute checking it over in disbelief - it was definitely mine. I hesitated, and hesitated some more. Then I jumped on and pedaled away as fast as I could. It even made the same cranking noise from the rusty chain.

There's a saying about two wrongs and a right. And I can't work out whether it applies. I don't think I've ever stolen anything before - hey, I'm a neurotic middle class white bloke in his 30s. I was reminded of a line in some old western movie - "The one thing a community of thieves can't tolerate is stealing".

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, and aren't you the lucky one!
    A few years ago I had my bke stolen from the local Station. It had an unbreakable 'U' lock on the front tire, so naturally the frame was taken leaving a sad looking wheel attached firmly to the railings. I was so upset I left it there. The next day I returned to collect it, and it was gone.
    I know exactly how you feel regarding the 'stealing back must be wrong'school of thought. Just bear in mind you stole nothing, except perhaps a march on this super paranoid CCTV society in which we live.