Friday, April 24, 2009

I Called The Cops: Preventing Bike Theft

A bucket of emotions, I feel guilty, mad, scared, angry and sorry.  I’m pissed I feel that way.  As I was packing my bike into my truck this morning, a dude walked by the house.  We live in a neighborhood that’s a pedestrian thoroughfare from adjacent neighborhoods to the nearest stores.  Dudes and dudettes, young and old, are a daily, sometimes hourly occurrence.  By now, I recognize most of the people that frequent our street.  Some say hi, some don’t.  I don’t recall seeing this particular dude before.  Like a scruffy George Costanza, he was stocky, maybe in his late 30’s to mid 40’s wearing a yellow shirt and baseball cap with a shirt tied around his waist.  Just a week earlier I had read a neighborhood newsletter asking residents to be aware of petty theft, primarily from vehicles.  The paranoia wick was lit.

As I fidgeted getting the main part of my bike into the truck, I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw that he was watching me.  He turned away.  As I put the wheel in the truck, he looked again, looked away and looked back again.  “What the?  Is this guy casing my bike or what,” I thought.  By this time he was past my house, and looked again.  “Oh-my-God.  What is with this guy,” I thought as the warning light when off in my head.  In my mind he was taking a mental inventory of the contents of my garage.  In his mind, I can only imagine.

Just as I got concerned, he stepped up the curb and walked into the sliver of a park across the street and disappeared through the brush on a short trail that leads to the railroad tracks.  “Huh, just passing through,” I thought.  I finished up, double checked the house alarm, nervously put locks on the remaining bikes in my garage, backed out, and made sure the garage door closed. 

As I drove away, I could see him in the rear view mirror walking back down the street toward my house again, in the direction he had come from only a minute or two ago.  “Dammit,” I thought.  Not to look like I was worried, in a disguised paranoia I went on my way.  I decided to get some gas a few blocks away and loop back toward my house.  Five minutes later, I saw him again.  By this time, he was well away from my house and walking down the main street toward the stores.  Maybe it was nothing, I thought.  Two people awkwardly crossing paths in their daily routine.

On my way to work, about 3 miles from home the situation stewed and worked its way under my skin.  I called the police non-emergency number and told them there was a suspicious guy in the neighborhood.  They took a description and other details and said they’d check it out.  I hung up and the guilt set in.  What if he was just another person walking through the neighborhood?  Maybe he thought I was giving him the evil eye and watching him.  Or, maybe he was casing my garage.  This emotional stew sucks, but I guess it tastes better than having my bike stolen. 


shannon said...

oh man, I would never trust George Costanza.

Seriously, though, I know what you mean with this: you want your default response to strangers to be at least moderately trusting, but you don't want to be a sucker, either. It's a fine line, and you just gotta end up trusting your internal alarms.

Joe Biker said...

Yeah. My bike was like a Schnitz's Marble Rye Bread!

James Billiter said...

It sounds like you need to turn your Man Cave into a Bat Cave!

In our neighborhood I have learned that staring is not rude. Transfer your paranoia to them!

MTBCXGirl said...

Yeah we have plenty of weirdos in Madisonville. Yeah, we try not to be judgemental but you gotta trust your instincts. 99% of the time you will be right. Might wanna take the front wheels off the bikes and store them in another area.

buckethead said...

i'll never be able to watch Seinfeld he same way ever again