Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Yikes. Now the police are involved.

I took down a buncha numbers from the bike. Then I called the police to see if it was stolen, but they said they couldn’t tell me that over the phone. I asked, Do you mind telling me why not? They said, “No offense to you or anything, but we don’t know if you’re the person who stole the bike and are just checking in to see if it’s been reported yet. You’d have to actually bring the bike in.” “But it’s locked to the post,” I said. “In order to do that I’d have to cut off the lock, and since it isn’t mine, wouldn’t that be stealing?” “I’m sorry Ma’m, we can’t give you any information over the phone.” “But what if I bring it in and you find that it is stolen. They’ll ask me where I got it and I’ll have to say I clipped the lock and took it from where its owner put it. Would I not then be seen as a person who has stolen a bicycle?” “Ma’m, since you have a lot of questions, would you like me to connect you with a police officer?” At this point I started feeling guilty that I was even calling the police. I haven’t gone around to ask everybody in these two apartment buildings if the bike is theirs. But why should that be my job? Like I have that kind of time. The landlord said he’d send out a letter, but fat chance that’ll ever happen. “Well, just tell me this,” I said, groping for a moral foothold. “I know it’s illegal to abandon a car in one spot forever. Is it equally illegal to park a bike in one spot and never come back to get it?” “That would have to be at the discretion of the police officer, m’am. I can send someone out to take a look at it.”

So that’s how we left it. If they come, I won’t even be around to ask or answer questions. I won’t get to have the ending of the story. I won’t know if it was a stolen bike or not, or if it ever finds its way back to its rightful owner. It’ll just be gone – poof – next time I’m over here. Now I wish I’d never called them. I wish there was a big list of stolen bicycles somewhere that I could check myself. Maybe I should post the information on my blog. Does anyone out there have any advice for me? [the bike has a California license]


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