Last night my wife and I heard a noise on our porch. She’d seen an animal run out from beneath it a few nights ago, so I figured it was probably that. Then we heard it again. I flipped on the porch light and didn’t see anything. When I took the dog out around midnight, nothing looked amiss. This morning I took our dog outside for her morning potty and discovered this:
The front tire had been stolen off my wife’s bike.
And here is my bike below. Someone tried to take the front tire.
My theory: I think the robber tried to steal our bikes (or at least the wheels) while we were awake (and home!), was foiled, and came back later last night.
This is incredibly disappointing. We ride those bikes all the time on the university bike path. It’s a beloved ritual, and now we we will not be able to do so because we have been robbed by–and this is the part that hurts–a clearly inferior-grade robber. Hey, dummy, here’s some advice for next time you rob someone:
1.) Don’t try and steal the front wheel of a bicycle when it’s attached to the bike’s frame, the wheel and an exterior object comprised of a hard, inflexible substance such as wood. What did you think would happen when you separated the fork blade from the hub? Did you think–voila!-it would cause the very sturdy bike chain I’d attached to the porch, frame and wheel to magically come apart like a set of magician’s rings? How disappointed were you when you discovered the laws of physics did not bend to your will? I picture you at home right now, stroking your chin, wondering if maybe you shook the bike harder the chain would have fallen off or something, you moron.
2.) I have to question your choice of targets. Is the front wheel to a 25-year-old 10-speed worth 180 days in jail and a fine? It’s (I’m guessing) $25 worth of metal and rubber. Really great heist there, D.B. Cooper. Do you sit there and watch Ocean’s 11 and think, “That’s exactly what I do, except instead of taking down scores at casinos I take the front wheels off 10-speeds!”
3.) I’m 99 percent sure the first time you tried this we were at home. I’m no professional front wheel stealer like you, but here’s a tip: if the owner of the thing you are trying to steal is nearby, he is more likely to successfully thwart your efforts than if he is far away. In the future, when you see the lights on inside someone’s home, stop yourself. I know the urge to take what isn’t yours and totally ruin someone else’s day gives you a great thrill, but one of the keys to succeeding in life is deferred gratification. I have no doubt you’re quite familiar with the Stanford marshmallow experiment. Oh, that’s right, you’re probably not, because you steal the wheels off 10-speeds for a living.
4.) Or–here’s a novel idea–don’t rob anyone. I know. That’s weird, right? Don’t take someone else’s belongings? That’s crazy! Let’s skip the morality behind not stealing, because you don’t care about that. I’ll be practical. I know you see a big future in the stolen front wheel of the 10-speed market, but it’s not as lucrative as you think. There are only so many 10-speed owners out there who are willing to buy 10-speed wheels from guys like you. The market is quite limited for this particular product. And how munch time, in the end, will you have put into the planning, thieving, hiding and selling of the front wheel of that 10-speed? Let’s say you cased our place for 20 minutes, spent 5 minutes on the actual stealing (you did try twice), 20 minutes driving home–careful to make sure the FBI’s Stolen Bike Task Force was not trailing you–and 45 minutes either telling/negotiating with/haggling with your fence about your recently-acquired high-quality 25-year-old wheel. Let’s call it 90 minutes for $25 profit. That’s $16 an hour. Congrats! You just made as much as a part-time cashier at the local university! The big differences, of course, are that the cashier works indoors where it’s warm, and no one goes to jail for selling pizza to college students.
Joe Donatelli is a journalist currently living in Athens, Ohio. You can follow him @joedonatelli on Twitter.