Lock up to avoid larceny

Jessica Hodge

The problem with people is that they steal; it’s primal instinct. However, could it be our fault for not locking things up to avoid theft? That’s what my dad thought after he got his bike stolen.

I was home visiting my family a few weekends ago when our home got invaded. I had gotten home around 6:30 p.m. on a Friday night and was watching a movie with my dad. There was a huge storm so he went into our open garage to check on his motorcycle. A few seconds after he had gotten up, he came running back inside yelling someone had stolen his bike.

No, they hadn’t taken his motorcycle; they took his cycling bike, which was even more expensive than his motorcycle. He rode his bike everywhere, including a big race in Detroit called Critical Mass. His bike was also pretty tricked out: L.E.D lights on the tires, a GPS device mounted to his handlebars and a bag for his wallet (no, his wallet wasn’t in there at the time).

The weirdest part was that there was three other bikes scattered on our neighbor’s lawns too. We first drove around to see if someone had dumped his bike somewhere after the storm like they had the other bikes. With no such luck, we called the police. The police, despite being busy with a phone pole that fell and caught on fire, sent a squad car within the hour to our house. Before they got there, my dad went to talk to our neighbor to see if one of the bikes lying around the lawn was his. None of them were his, but his bike had also been stolen.

The police arrived at our house and routinely asked questions about the time the bikes went missing and the descriptions of them. They also informed my dad that he could press charges for home invasion, since our garage is attached to our house. After about 20 minutes, they set off. Despite being busy, they came back a few hours later and gave my dad good and bad news.

They found his and my neighbor’s bikes. But the bad news was that a 17-year-old drug addict had pawned it for drug money, and it was sitting in a store waiting for someone to buy it. The police said the only thing we could do was go to the shop and see if we could talk the owners into giving the bikes back to us since they were stolen property. We thanked the police and they left.

My dad, furious, drove up to the Play It Again Sports store, which was luckily closed and peered into the window. There were their two bikes sitting right in the aisle with price tags on them. With the store being closed, we couldn’t do anything, so we came back the next morning right when it opened. Fortunately, there was a squad car already parked by the store and an officer speaking with the owners. A few minutes later, the officer motioned us inside the store to retrieve the bikes, for free. My dad and our neighbor rode home giddy while I drove home.

We don’t live in a bad township at all, but now we have to close our garage, even if we’re in the house. Lucky for the kid, my dad is not pressing charges because he feels partially responsible for not locking up his bike and our garage.