Thursday, July 03, 2008

My sister-in-law has been using my bike to get to and from work at Taco Johns.

Today the bike was stolen while she was working. She looked out one moment and a drunkard was sitting next to it trying to smoke a cigarette. She looked out a little while later and the bike was gone.

In a panic, she called Jewell. Jewell took off on her bike to check the path running behind Taco Johns, while I took off in the Audi to check along Gateway Drive. On my way, I called the Grand Forks Police Department to report a stolen bicycle and to give a description of it. While I was on the phone, I passed the guy who had taken it! He was sitting in the parking lot of a store on Gateway Drive, trying to fix the derailer!

I quickly turned in by the parking lot, informing the woman at the police department where I was. I gave a description of the man (mid to late 40s, black baseball hat, gray jacket). She asked me to remain in the car until officers arrived, and within seconds three squad cars arrived to deal with him.

An officer walked over to my car and briefly chatted with me, confirming I was the caller and owner of the bike. He asked me what I wanted them to do with the guy. I told them I didn't want to ask for anything they didn't want to do, so he suggested I just request they arrest him, "process" him, and release him. Sounded fine to me! But why were they asking me what they should do?

The officer proceeded to pull out a form labeled "Grand Forks Police Department: Citizen's Arrest". Now I got it! I could have chosen to let the guy go, I guess... But far be it from me to tell an officer how to do his job!

The officer needed my personal information, as well as a signature confirming I had "apprehended" the man in question. I was then asked to go with another officer to complete a statement in his car. Exhilarating! I wrote out the sequence of events (phone call, headed out in car, spotted man with bicycle, etc.), then signed and dated it.

That was it! I sent a guy "downtown" today. I can't say it felt totally awesome, but it sure was exciting. The guy looked out at me from the back of a squad car with big, stupid, intoxicated puppy dog eyes. I stared him down butt-good with my furrowed brow of disapproval. It was great.

Some additional details came out before the officers took off:
  1. They'd picked the same guy up yesterday for stealing another bicycle
  2. He was drunk, and had a bag containing more booze
  3. He told the officers I had asked him to fix my bike (ha!)
  4. One of the officers had confronted him only 15 minutes prior - sans bicycle!
It seems that a good reason to steal a bike would be to get somewhere faster, so if the bike breaks it doesn't seem intelligent to sit down to attempt to fix it. It seems more reasonable to trash it and keep moving.

Dusty summed it up best: "What a dumbass!"


Charlie said...

EXCELLENT! Dusty was right. So.. if the cops would have done whatever you said, you should have requested a little police brutality.

Lance said...

I'm always gone when all the awesome things happen! Did you give the guy your ACLU "rights" card? And also what charlie said.