The Curious Case of the Stolen Bicycle
The long lazy days of summer had come to a close and the husband and kids were resting after a long day of work & school... Fortunately I had held off dinner for a while. Suddenly my daughter, who was holed up in her bedroom, ran down the stairs and out to the garage. She immediately ran back inside and breathlessly announced, "Some kid just stole Zak's bike right out of our garage!" Nobody thought twice... We all immediately jumped up. I grabbed my car keys, my husband grabbed his and my daughter and I sprinted for the van, while my son and husband darted for his car. We live on a cul-de-sac and my daughter said she saw the kid on the bike heading out of our street and up the hill. So we hightailed it in that direction, while my daughter explained what had happened.
"I was up in my room when I overheard a neighbor walking down the street tell her dog to Heel!... So I peeked out my window to get a look at the dog and when I did I saw a kid about 15 or 16 yrs. old, walking up our driveway toward the house. I thought he might be selling something and expected to hear him ring our doorbell, when I didn't hear the bell or a knock, I looked out the window in time to see him ride off with Zak's bike... Because I wasn't 100% sure it was Zak's bike, I ran down to the garage to check and sure enough, it was gone."
So we drove up the street but as we passed the cart path which leads to the golf course I had an inkling that's the route the kid might've taken and I was pretty certain of it once we got up to the dead-end and saw no sign of the kid or the bike. So I made my way back to the entrance of our development and as I did so, we noticed our neighbor on the corner standing near the 3rd hole of the golf course (a place where the bike thief might eventually make his exit from our development.) So we rolled down the window and asked our neighbor friend if he'd seen a kid on a bike go by and started to give a description. Before we could finish the neighbor said, "Yes, that's why I'm up here. I watched that kid walk down our street and he looked suspicious. When I saw him head back out on a bike I thought something might be up because a neighbor just up the street from me reported they had a bike stolen out of their garage not long ago."
We quickly thanked our neighbor and told him we were off to try to find the kid. We headed out of the development and down the hill into the main part of town. After traveling about a mile, I really had no hope of finding him and wasn't sure what to do if, I in fact DID, catch up with him. That part was making my daughter really nervous. As I sat at the stop sign into town I took a moment to think, "Should I go home and call the police to report the theft or should I just head on over to the police station?" Since the police station was just a couple blocks away I decided to head there and as I did, what/who do you think we saw? That's right, the kid, ON MY SON'S BIKE! He was on a dead-end area of a street that's near a field... So I floored it towards the police station (well, not really floored it. The speed limit in town is 25mph and when you're heading toward a police station you don't really want to show up burning rubber... So I went as fast as I could get there.)
Upon entering the police station my daughter and I went immediately to the dispatchers booth to report the crime. I gave her a half-assed description of where we saw the kid with the bike (I really suck when it comes to remembering street names.) and she dispatched over the radio. She told my daughter and I to wait on a nearby bench. That's when I noticed I hadn't even bothered putting shoes on, I'd been driving around in my socks... Oh well, at least I'd bothered to take a shower that day.
As we waited on the bench I continued looking out the front doors of the station thinking aloud to my daughter, "Yeah right, like he'd ride a stolen bike past the police station." It wasn't long before, guess what? He did JUST that! I could see the reflection of the mini mart/gas station directly across the street from us, in an office window across from where I sat. My daughter and I watched as the kid rode up to the station on OUR bike, layed it down, greeted a guy out front and watched them walk into the mini-mart together. The two of us ran over to the dispatcher and informed her of the latest development. She called to the back of the station and two officers came out, we pointed to where the bike lay beside the mini-mart and pointed out the kid, as we watched him exit the mini-mart and stand out front continuing to chat with his friend, an adult male who I imagined to be the leader of the stolen bike ring (yeah, I'm hip to the gang mentality, I saw Oliver.) We watched as the officers made their way across the street, confronted the kid and arrested him... That there's called 'Swift Justice'... One of the officers returned with the bike and we were asked to continue to wait so a report could be filed.
I wondered about my husband and son out on the streets spinning their wheels as my daughter and I neatly wrapped up the crime, but along with my shoes I'd also forgotten my cell phone. And while justice is swift the paperwork moves along much like that molasses I mentioned earlier. So for a crime which took place somewhere around 7:00pm we finally made it home, with bicycle in hand, around 9:00pm. The officer who took the report informed us that the kid lives in our neighborhood and his family is currently renting (most likely one of the many foreclosed homes we have around here.) He warned that we might run into the kid and should we encounter any problems or forms of retribution, we were to contact the officer. I should note that we did see the kid the very next day wandering the neighborhood during school hours, which made me furious all over again. I made eye contact with him and whether he knew who I was remains to be seen, but I'm keeping my eye out, in fact BOTH eyes... I'm like a chameleon.
When we at last returned home the guys told us about their wheel spinning, which my son said involved pulling into a lot of driveways and peering into open garages. He said, "People probably came to the conclusion WE, were the ones trying to steal bikes." We all walked together down the street to the neighbor who had his eye out for a bike thief and thanked him for his help. He LOVED that we caught the guy and couldn't believe the brainlessness of riding to a spot just across from the police station. We all shared a laugh and then our family went out for a celebratory dinner.
Did we celebrate the fact that a family somewhere in our development had to bail their teen out of jail? No. In fact, the idea of that is really quite sad. What we did celebrate was the fact that we, through sharp awareness and quick action, insured we didn't become victims. And now? Now we're vigilant to keep our garage door closed, any time where not outside.