Saturday, December 04, 2010

No Excuses

Whyfor no blog for 6 months? Lots of reasons, none of them particularly interesting or good. :) In the interim, I went to Hampshire, England for pleasure and Edmonton, Alberta for work. I opened two exhibits and closed one. I lost 3 of my 5 dart frogs, and bought 1 new one. My diabetic cat went back on insulin, then into remission, then back onto insulin. And my bicycle was stolen.

You might remember my bicycle; I blogged about buying it back in May of 2007, and before that I blogged about my lust for this particular bicycle (or one like it) for at least a year or two. It was the first big purchase I made when I became full-time employed again--my reward to myself for sticking out the 5 years of living frugally with only part-time work and sponging off my parents keeping me afloat. This bike was special in a sappy sentimental way, and also in a this-bike-fucking-rocks kind of a way. I hadn't had a new bike since 1984, and this 2006 Trek FX 7.3 was worth the wait, I have to say.

So when I got out of work on Saturday November 13, I was naturally pretty upset to discover that it had been stolen from the garage, right in front of the garage greeter who isn't always an actual security guard. My friend Sarah--a goddess if ever there was one--drove me around the neighborhood for nearly an hour looking to see if we could catch someone out and about on it, but to no avail. Returning to the museum, I learned that the thief had been caught on camera, and furthermore had had multiple alteractions with our security staff after trying to chain his own bike (yes, he arrived on a bike) to a guard rail fence. When he was told he needed to chain it in the garage instead, he became abusive, and shouted that he was a ticket scalper who worked downtown and didn't have TIME to waste putting his bike in the garage. (Apparently he did have time to steal my fucking bike. And time to get a ladyfriend of his to walk over to the museum and pick his own bike up while I was standing 10 feet away in tears trying to file a security report. It was only later upon review of the camera footage that we realized this.) When we heard the bit about him being a ticket scalper, Sarah said, "You've got to be kidding me. I know him, he walked in behind me from the garage today and I remembered him from when I used to work downtown. He's always scalping tickets near the Circle." (For the non-Hoosiers out there, ticket scalping is legal in Indiana, and any major event sees dozens of guys on street corners downtown offering to buy or sell tickets.) So, wow, I thought. At least we know where he works, sort of, and we have a good picture of him.

It took me a couple days to dig up my serial number, and the police wouldn't make a report without one, so I filled in time by posting REWARD flyers all over the neighborhood around the museum, and visiting the two nearest pawn shops to give them info on my bike as well. Once I'd filed a report, the police department actually assigned a detective to my case, and he assured me he'd come down to the museum to look at the footage and see what he could do... but I was rapidly giving up hope on getting my bike back. I got a copy of one of the stills from the security video myself, and made up some new flyers with my case #, the bike's serial #, the dude's description and photo, and a picture of a Trek 7.3 FX for reference purposes, planning to give them to the police officers downtown and see if that got me anywhere. Then the museum's concierge let me know she had cheap tickets available for that night's Pacer game, and I thought, hm. Well, I'd like to go to the game, and then I'll be able to hand some flyers to the cops who work around the Fieldhouse, so why not?

While the thought had occurred to me, I was really more or less unprepared for the possibility that I might actually find the guy myself. Yet as I tooled around looking for inexpensive downtown parking, suddenly there he was at the corner of Washington and Pennsylvania. My heart skipped, and not in a good way. While I am the first to admit I'm pretty terrible at remembering faces, I'd been staring at his photo on my desk for the better part of two days, and I knew instantly it was him--I'd thought his eyes were closed in the photo, but he actually is a pretty fat guy and his eyes are sort of permanently squinted, and he looked really identical to the photo, right down to the hat he was wearing. I looped around the block just to get another look, and this time I ended up stopped in traffic not 10 feet from him. We made eye contact. I'm sure he thought I was a potential customer for his handful of Pacer tickets, but I looked away and hit the gas as soon as the light changed, and then frantically took the nearest parking space I could find. Ran the three blocks back to the Fieldhouse and found a cop; I was panting so badly that I couldn't really explain myself, but Thank God for those flyers! I was able to hand one to the cop, point, and say "This guy is scalping tickets... gasp... two blocks up on Penn... help me..." The policeman was nice, told me he couldn't leave his post but that I should go see if the dude was still there, then call Dispatch and tell them I needed a patrol car asap. I did, and he was, and I did.

I then spent about the longest 20 minutes of my life standing in the freezing cold a half block from the dude who stole my bike, who remained blissfully unaware of my scrutiny. (If you're wondering why I didn't confront him, 1. He didnt' have my bike with him, and 2. The dude is the size of a mack truck. And apparently has anger management problems, judging from his performance at the museum. I don't particularly want to have my teeth punched down my throat by an angry scalper-bike-thief dude, so I stayed back.) The cops finally showed up, and once again I was able to just give them the flyer, babble incoherantly a bit, and then point up the street at the dude. "Wow," said the cops. "Usually people aren't this... er... well prepared." They strolled over to question him, while I stayed by the patrol car. Then they came back and said since he didn't have my bike they couldn't arrest him, but they were going to run his ID for warrants. Which they did, and there weren't any, but now we had his name and address attached to my case number. WOOT. When they gave the guy his ID back, he protested loudly that he didn't know anything about my bike, or any bike, he didn't have a bike, and this was *bullshit*, and then he walked off. The cops said, "We'll see if Vice is out here tonight. If they are, we'll have them go pick him up and take his tickets. That'll ruin his night." Suck on that, douchebag.

So that's the story of me finding the guy who stole my bike, but not the bike itself. The bike is still missing. My detective brought a photo array to the museum, and two different security staff were able to ID the guy. I haven't heard from the detective since then, though, so I assume things haven't just been open and shut, they got a warrant and went to his house and found my bike. I'm sure it's probably long gone, sold to his dealer or to someone who specializes in stolen bikes. At least my serial # is in the database that the pawnshops check against.

On that happy note--well, Jake asked for it!--I'll leave y'all. Hopefully I can get back on the blogging horse without too much trouble; lord knows I haven't stopped having stuff to say. :)