Thursday, December 21, 2023

Unexpected recovery (and more questions than answers)

Status update: About a month after my Trek got stolen from the bike room in my building, I got an email and a voicemail from a sergeant with the Ottawa Police Services to let me know that it was now back in the room. I talked with him for a bit, and then went down to confirm that it was in fact there, and. . . there it was. 

The worse for wear: It had had every single accessory removed. Fenders gone. Trailer hitch gone. Camera mount gone (the cameras, thankfully, come off every time I leave the bike, so I still have them). The OneUp multitool I'd just gotten from a friend and installed - gone. Even the bell was gone. And the Project 529 shield on the seat tube was spraypainted over in white. The seat had been dropped several inches too. But - it's my bike. 

Aside from dealing with the sense of violation when I look at the smear of white spraypaint across the frame and the derailleur, and the hole where my cute OneUp tool was stashed, I'm also left with some patchy information and a lot of other questions.

The cop I spoke with told me that after the bikes were stolen, the property manager posted notices about the theft in the building and got some information from tenants. The security cameras in the elevator area also caught the kids taking the bikes out of the basement where the bike room is. The kids were apparently identified from the video, because the cop was able to tell me that they were eleven years old - a girl and two boys. The girl lives in the building and let her two friends in.

At eleven years old, I'd have assumed they were just messing around. But they - or someone - systematically removed anything that might identify the bike. Including the OneUp tool, which requires you to know what it is and how to take it out: it's a tool housed in a little cylinder that you drop into the steering tube and then bolt into place through the bottom of the cylinder. And they spraypainted over the Project 529 shield. 

These children can't be experienced bike thieves. For one thing, they didn't hock it or ditch it. One of them seems to have been riding it: the seat was lowered and there was an elastic LED light on the handlebars. But - that spraypaint says they know something.

When I emailed the cop back to let him know the condition of the bike, his answer was "oh, wow," and he said he'd go talk to the boy and his parents, so I guess he also thinks the fact all the identifying items were removed is sketchy. And I still don't know how the bike wound up back in the room - did the boy fess up? Was he caught? Did he just put the bike back and the property manager noticed it? I didn't think to ask, so I guess I probably won't ever know.

But at least, and very improbably, I got my bike back! 

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