We received a disturbing call at the shop yesterday from a concerned apartment manager wanting to do the right thing with a new bicycle she found in a shrub on her property. I did not recognize the name of the apartment complex so I looked nervously around our showroom for a conspicuously empty spot. I saw none as she spelled the make of the mystery bike to me - "M - A - S - I".
I felt a guilty sense of relief upon hearing it was not a TREK and then worried about from where it may have come. The complex is located in Browne's Addition so I had a hunch of the potential source but had not heard of any recent thefts. Usually if a bike is stolen the bike shops hear about it from the dealer experiencing the loss, but had not yet received such a call. We have both made and received that call in the past and the voice on the other end is always sympathetic and disgusted but offering little hope of recovery.
I got the name and number of the good Samaritan and started making calls to some other shops open at the time. None reported any bikes missing.so I thought I would wait a bit to see if a call came in from another shop.
Unfortunately the call came from Steve's on Cannon Street. He reported being contacted by SPD at 4:30 am at his residence - which is a particularly inhumane way of starting your day. They were reporting a break-in through the front window of his shop where 3 bikes were stolen. Been there done that - we know that sick, kicked-in-the-gut feeling when you get that phone call. You never forget the crunching sound of walking on broken glass while surveying the damage with police radios chirping in the background.
As a shop owner, you feel sympathy for the other shop because we all have been victimized by property crimes. A natural disaster is more damaging in terms of property but can be reconciled intellectually as an act of living in a natural world. Theft is a deliberate human act with complete disregard for civility, morality and the families who depend on the business for a living - this is personal and cannot be reconciled intellectually. Anger is the other emotion - for the same reason. Even with insurance the financial, emotional, energy and business costs are all too real and significant.
It sounds like two of the 3 bikes are still at-large thanks to the good Samaritan. Please be on the lookout as you are out and about for a shiny bike with a not-so-shiny rider or craigslist. We will provide an update as soon as we have the exact make and model of the other two bikes. Thanks for your help.