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That Was Easier Than Riding A Bike

, , , , , , , | Legal | June 12, 2022

I cycle to the pub and hide my bike behind a few buildings, not locked. Last orders come, and my bike isn’t there. It’s my own fault for not locking it, but no one likes to be judged, right? I have a look around and go back to the pub.

Me: “Hi, do you know if there is CCTV out the front? My bike has walked.”

Customer: “Was it locked?”

Barkeep: “I don’t think so, sorry.”

Customer: “Police won’t be interested. You won’t get it back.”

Me: *To the barkeep* “Thanks for your help.” *To the customer* “Thanks, but that isn’t what I asked, and I can deal with the authorities.”

He’s right, though. If you don’t take basic precautions, what do you expect? I report it anyway.

Me: “Hi, can I report the theft of a bicycle?” *Gives details*

Police #1: “I’ve logged that, incident [number]. I hope you get it back. Good luck.”

My phone rings soon after.

Police #2: “We have your bike here at [Police Station ten km away].”

Me: “I… How? Did somebody presume it was lost or something? I’ll come and get it in the morning.”

Police #2: “I don’t know, probably.”

My phone rings again soon after.

Me: “Bicycle theft victim answering service, how may I be of assistance?”

Police #3: “Would you like to make a statement for court?”

Me: “How can you make a statement about a lost bicycle?”

Police #3: “Actually, I confiscated it.”

Me: “Wait a minute. At 10:00 pm, I leave a $50 bike in a car park, not secured in any way. Two hours later, it is in the police station. How did that happen?”

Police #3: “I was on a foot patrol. A ten-year-old boy cycled past. I knew him, and I knew it wasn’t his bike, and I’m treating it as theft.”

Me: “Where?”

Police: #3: “On [Street the pub is on].”

Me: “Well, I can’t fault that for service. What will you do with him? Have a chat with the [jargon for officer who deals with children]?”

Police #3: “Realistically? I’ll give him a telling off with a social worker in his care home.”

I now have the full picture. At 11:00 pm, a child absconded from his care home and took my bike for a joyride. Two hundred metres away, he cycled past a cop. Game over. I was exceptionally lucky.

Me: “If it makes it easier to explain to him that taking bicycles is wrong, then I’ll make a statement.”

Police #3: “Are you one of my colleagues? You know some cop-speak.”

Me: “Not currently, but some of my in-laws are.”

My phone rings again.

Police #4: “Are you in now, and I’ll drive this bicycle out to you?”

Me: “If you can fit it into your car. It’s 0130; I would have thought you would be busy.”

Police #4: “No, it’s Tuesday. Actually, we’ll leave it to the morning; you’ve clearly had a few pints and I can’t take a drunk statement.”

Me: “See you then.”

The next morning, two detectives arrived at my house with the bicycle. They took a statement of one paragraph that basically said, “My bike wasn’t where I left it.” I thanked them profusely and assured them I would be more careful. Through unofficial channels, I heard that the conversation took place between the boy, the youth police officer, and a social worker attached to his care home.

But really, you absolutely can’t fault the service from law enforcement. Foolish man abandons cheap bicycle. Child finds it and goes for a joyride. It is confiscated from him on the same street and returned to the owner the next day. What are the odds?

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