Bicycle Thief

 Bicycle Thief


       Before invention of the internet and smart phones; reading newspapers was one of my hobbies. I’d usually go to the local library, grab a stack of papers from various cities of the world and read the news about people and was especially interested in local crime reports. My favorite pastime had a fringe benefit. It gave me a good excuse to sit by the large window for a long time and watch a variety of bicycles in the library bike rack and plan my next move. There were always a few in the rack I dyed but a white 20 speed Super Strada bike was my favorite. This baby was an $1800 titanium alloy frame that weighs less than fifteen pounds. “Hopefully this bike would be the last one I would ever need to steal.” I wondered.


       One day as I was glancing through the older issues of the Toronto Star newspaper, the title of an article caught my eye. The more I read the article the more I was convinced I was the only target audience, surely the article was addressing me without ever mentioning my name. After I finished reading the text I was compelled to respond and clear the air as I felt so violated and disparaged. The article was written by a man whose bike was stolen. The letter was a long and tedious account of a simple bicycle theft. Here I choose only a few excerpts to use as reference to make the point in my rebuttal. The following are segments I referred to in my response verbatim. The following passages are written by the original writer therefore this author assumes no responsibility for the poor penmanship, grotesque writing style and incoherence thoughts reflected in the excerpts.


My dear bicycle thief:


         A few weeks ago, after I left my work at 7:30 pm, I learned that my bicycle was missing. Desperately, I searched the entire neighborhood for my only means of transportation as I was hoping you have used it in an emergency and abandoned it after use. After an exhaustive search I came to conclusion that you’d stolen my beloved bike…


         …I have been riding bicycles practically all my life, 25 years in Iran, 8 years in India and now for the last 12 years in Canada as I could never afford a car. I always properly lock my bikes and no one has ever stolen my bikes anywhere except in Toronto, where, during the last 12 years, I have lost 12 bikes. Now that you have taken away my sole means of transportation, I had no choice but to walk to work in bitter cold weather...


         …Finally after two weeks of agonizing commute to work on foot, I found a sturdy bike in a garage sale and purchased it with immense joy hoping it would be the last bicycle I would ever need to buy. This time I took an extra precaution and purchased the most secure lock money can buy which cost me almost as much as the bike itself. The combination lock was too complex to use that now I had to spend five minutes just to unlock my bike every morning I needed to go to work. Yet you managed to steal this one too. How did you exactly steal my bike my dear thief without knowing the combination? How did you crack the code? Is it not better for you, my friend, to quit your job as a petty thief and become a locksmith, a respectable and rewarding career so badly needed in Canada?


         …You have so far stolen 12 bikes from me. I have never reported any of my losses to police because I believe you must have had a good reason to commit this crime and in my heart I forgive you as I believe people are fundamentally decent. However after this loss, I have been staring at all cyclists in the streets hoping one day I see you riding my bike and I retrieve my stolen property…


         …Do you understand what you have done to me? As a result of your actions, I gradually turned from an optimistic citizen into a cynical pessimist. Please, if possible, find a positive alternative to stealing poor people's belongings...


         …Thank you for your consideration and I am enthusiastically looking forward to hearing from you...



       This loser must have had such nerve to put his pathetic life story in the paper over a stolen bike. When I finished reading his crap, I could not sit idle and let this shenanigan goes without proper response so I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and drafted the following.  


To:          Toronto Star Editor in Chief

From:     The bicycle Thief

Rebuttal to: My Dear Bicycle Thief Article


Dear Sir,


       Today I stumbled upon your article in Toronto Star regarding you stolen bicycle. I confess I was the man who took your bike on that ominous evening. I regret being in the wrong place at the wrong time that night. Since I found your poorly written editorial to be disingenuous, factually incorrect, highly offensive and a mean-spirited article; I am compelled to respond.     


       In your letter you referred to me as your ‘dear bicycle thief’ and ‘my beloved friend’ etc. At first I was touched by reading such kind words from whom I had stolen. Yet after contemplating the controlling language of your letter, I sensed a despicable sarcasm and pandering in direct contrast to  your false claim of being magnanimous. Truth of the matter is that your letter was riddled with offensive words, improper references and irrelevant  anecdotes. Worst of all, you sir, frequently insulted my profession in general and me in particular.


       For your information, bicycle theft is a respectable profession, well, it may not be respectable but it is a profession. You have no right to ridicule my line of work simply because it is not a rewarding career as it was demonstrated by the theft of your crummy bike. In all honesty; would you be writing this article in a major newspaper if I were to be white-collar criminal who had stolen millions of dollars instead of your piece of junk?  I don’t think so.


       In your letter, you went on and on about your half a century bike riding experience in different countries, about your wife, children and friends. You whined about your financial hardships and your four kilometer walk to work in cold weather every day and so on. Who gives a hoot about these insignificant details of your personal life and what do they have anything to do with the theft of your bike?


You may have the audacity to write sir, but you are not a writer. The cheap melodrama you authored to win the sympathy of uninformed readers is simply pathetic.


       You claimed I have stolen 12 bikes from you in the last 12 years. How do you know I was the same guy who stole all your bikes? No petty thief in his right mind goes out of his way just to rob you 12 times in a row?  Besides, can you proof such an outrageous accusation in court of law?


       You also suggested that I quit my job as a petty thief and pursue a lucrative career as a locksmith, which in your opinion is a highly demanded profession in Canada.


       My question is how in the world do you know that bicycle thieves earn less than locksmiths? Do you have any statistics to back your claim? Why do you encourage me to change my profession in this time of economic crisis? Is it not true that you yourself are tempted to make a career move and quit your job as a caseworker in the Center for Victims of Torture and turn to a more lucrative business such as bicycle theft? Who works for torture victims anyway? Do you call that a job? If your clients were financially stable they never would have been tortured in the first place?  And you’re trying to make money off of those poor souls? You don’t think straight man, no wonder you are dirt poor. If you’re thinking of a career move, apply for a job as a valet parking attendant at the “Tits for Tat” strip club in Toronto on intersection of 69th Street and Cumming Ave; working hours are kind of odd but the tip is orgasmic.


       You claimed that this incident has changed you from an optimistic citizen to a cynical pessimist. I beg to differ. One who raises hell over the loss of his shabby bicycle and shoots his mouth in a major publication cannot be considered a decent citizen by any stretch of imagination.


       You wrote that despite the fact you lost 12 bikes in the past years you never reported these crimes to authorities. You didn’t report your losses not because of your benevolence but because you knew if you did, you would have been the laughing stock of the officers in police department. Besides, you would have been fined up to $200 for littering the city for tarnishing the beautiful image of Toronto riding such an ugly looking scrap-metal. You refrained to report your losses to authorities to avoid legal consequences and not because you had a good heart.


       Now that you opened the can of worms, let me tell you about your bike and how I suffered from this sordid affair.


       On that fateful night of acquiring your bike, I decided to settle in the United States in search of a better future. The next morning I paddled all the way to the southern border and when I reached the border riding your bike, I learned about a $50 tariff on bikes entering USA. Obviously, I was not stupid enough to pay 50 dollars tax on a five dollar bicycle so I decided to abandon your garbage by the border and walk toward prosperity and that was the time I was told to pay a $75 disposal fee to haul the scrap metal to the landfill.  So I had no choice but to pay $50 and legally import your scrap metal to the USA.


       And two days later and as soon as I arrived in New York city riding the bike looking for a job, I was stopped by the cops and slapped with a $100 fine for missing safety equipment on my vehicle. These are just a few financial losses I endured because of your bike.


       Finally in the last paragraph of your article, you "respectfully pleaded" to me to return your bike and receive a cash reward that amounted to about five times more than the actual value of the bike!


       Do you really expect me to believe someone with your financial background and weak moral fiber would borrow money to generously reward his bicycle thief?


       Now, listen to me you born loser. You have 10 days to send a Cashier’s Check for $500 to the Post Office Box address below as restitution for the damages you have caused otherwise I will look you up, pay you a visit and make you pay through your nose.


And if you really are sentimental about that piece of shit you call bike, after I collect the money, I will be more than happy to provide you with the exact address of the junkyard where I discarded your damn bicycle.



Your Bicycle Thief