There’s no other explanation for it — my daughter’s beach cruiser was stolen yesterday, and the Riddler was involved.
Background: We live in Marina Del Rey, in a 900 unit apartment complex, all the way in back, far away from the main street. We lock our bikes in front of our car, in a parking structure that is halfway underground but open so you see (and be seen) in two directions. To secure the bikes I bought heavy (3/8″) cables and locks. We store three bikes there: two beach cruisers we bought two years ago for my daughter and her friend for about $100 each, and my recumbent, which cost substantially more than that. All the bikes are locked with the same single cable. My recumbent is the outermost bike, since I’ve been riding it a lot recently. The beach cruisers are dusty and rusty from two years of mostly sitting in the sea air. and their tires are low on air.
The scene of the crime: Yesterday afternoon we went out to the car and immediately saw that something was wrong: my recumbent was in the parking space next to ours, on its side, unlocked. Then we saw that our daughter’s cruiser had been stolen. The other cruiser, identical but for color, was still there, and my recumbent (albeit tossed to the side). The cable was cut clean through, seemingly in one cut. I’m not sure how big a set of cable cutters that would take, but I was surprised.
Given that the cruiser cost $100 and was beat up and rusty, we wondered why anyone would take it. We figured that since bike theft is a low priority for the police and we know that there are no cameras in our parking garage, we would just have to live with the loss.
Then I noticed the set of perfect prints on the hood of our car. The right hand, all five fingers. They couldn’t have been any clearer if there had been a mug shot beside them. So we called the sheriffs. They told us there had been a string of bike thefts that day, so it would take some time for them to come out.
When the sheriff arrived, she said that yes, there had been several bikes stolen that day. She said that thieves will often ride out solo on a junker bike, find a bike they like, and leave the junker behind, riding away on the stolen bike. She wasn’t sure whether the fingerprint person would be available on a Sunday.
It starts to get weird: When we started giving her a description of the bike — beach cruiser, red, rusty handlebars, bike bell — she recognized the bike. It had been left at the scene of another bike theft two blocks away. She drove over there and came out with our daughter’s bike.
Riddle me this: What is the logic to this? The thief arrived at our complex — somehow. Then he stole our daughter’s bike, rode it two whole blocks, dumped it there stealing another, more expensive bike. I can think of no way this works out better than just starting with the other bike. He (they caught him on video at the other place) could have walked from our apartment to the other place in less than ten minutes. The only explanation: the Riddler is involved, and he’s trying to confuse us.
On the plus side: It now appears that my recumbent is theft-proof. This is the second time in nine days that a bike thief has looked at my bike and said, “no thanks.” Gotta be happy about that.