By: Katie Van Note
What is often thought of as a common occurrence in city streets and university campuses was the topic of conversation at Goucher College this past week – bike theft.
Goucher’s campus has always been relatively free of theft, violence, and vandalism. However, as with all college environments, Goucher is subject to the stupid, drunken decisions of the its students. Last week, my bike was the product those decisions.
On February 5th, 2017, I took my bike out for its first appearance of the semester, to get groceries at Trader Joe’s. I returned home to Probst that afternoon and left my bike chained to the outside railing by the Probst exit. I had intended to move it back inside hours later but, unfortunately, I forgot. What happened to my bike that night, I will never understand.
The following morning, Monday, February 6th, I felt great, the sun was out, the birds were chirping, so I decided to bike to class. I walked out of the Probst exit to retrieve my bike, but it wasn’t all there. The first thing I noticed was the short rod where the seat used to be. I unchained my bike and tried to roll it down the steps but the front tire wouldn’t turn and was barely hanging onto the frame. Great. My bike was now useless because of a some thief who decided they needed a bike seat, a screw, rod, and some other metal bits I didn’t even know existed. After a few yells of outrage and some uncensored language, I cried. I was holding a PIECE OF TRASH. It used to be beautiful, maybe a little worn down, but it was my bike. I used it to go to work when I lived in Colorado and ride on trails in the mountains; I used it to run errands when I lived in D.C.; I used it to get groceries in Towson and get to class, and now it was trash.
In order to avenge my bike I conducted an investigation. I filed a report with Public Safety, I messaged my friends, I put up posters around Probst, Winslow and the dining halls, and I talked to (investigated) many Winslow residents. I searched the two buildings (Probst and Winslow) thoroughly and also searched between the rocks outside where my bike had been vandalized. I heard whispers of people talking about it around campus: “Dude, someone stole bike parts? Seriously, who would do that?”
On Tuesday of that week, I got a knock on my door from one of the Winslow RA’s, Quichey. She was holding my bike seat! She had found it sitting on the coffee table in the Winslow common room… suspicious. Obviously, I didn’t target Quichey, but I did believe that someone in Winslow was responsible for this theft. Over the course of that week, the remaining bike parts emerged, the screw and metal fastener to the bike seat, and the screw, spring and metal rod to the front tire. All of these pieces were found in the stairwell between Winslow and Probst.
So, it seemed that whoever decided to steal my bike parts was one, living very close by, and two, nice enough to return the parts back to me.
Although I could not express the anger and frustration that I felt to the thief, I decided to leave the posters around campus to insure that whenever they go to a dining hall or back to their room, they feel guilt and shame for stealing my bike parts.