Was coming home yesterday and saw a couple of homeless guys walking and one them was walking a bike that I had built up at the co-op... a Raleigh Super Grand Prix with a fixed gear conversion that had been sold nearly as soon as it was done.
So I pulled up to ask this homeless guy (HG) where he got the bike and the other guy just kept walking with his cart full of street finds.
HG said he just found it in an alley and I told him I had built and sold the bike which was surely stolen and had probably been dumped (it had a flat tyre).
Told him I could offer a little reward and would get it back to it's owner but he wasn't going to part with the bike and can probably see his POV that I could have been trying to rip him off so gave him my number and told him to call me today.
Shortly after this I was riding and passed him again and he called me over and said he'd give me the bike for $50.00 and I told him that I wasn't going to buy a stolen bike and that I could offer him no more than $20.00 for his trouble.
He said he wanted me to find the owner... thinking he was looking for a bigger reward as you can't pawn a stolen bike in this city very easily anymore.
So today I send out a few e-mails and track down the owner, we chat, and I am hoping HG will call me hoping that he'll get a little more than a $20.00 for his trouble.
And that would save me the trouble of tracking him down but I have seen HG before and would not have too much trouble with that.
I had also talked to a few old co-workers over my morning coffee and told them to keep an eye out for this bike and the homeless guy... my old co-workers are the city's finest and they hate bike thieves as much as I do.
They aren't cops.... they are bike messengers.
So at 4:30 I get a call from one of the guys saying the homeless guy and the bike came walking right past him and a bunch of the other guys and when 5 messengers tell you that you have a stolen bike you put it down and walk away... if you want to avoid an epic beating.
I got downtown in 10 minutes (still have those legs) and we called the owner to tell him his bike had been recovered and we'd drop it off later.
He was a very happy guy when he got his ride back and after his latest batch of beer is ready he said we are gonna get a drunk on...
If I see HG I will have to stop and spot him a fiver as he actually held on to the bike for a day and am pretty sure he was looking for a decent reward... knowing that the bike was stolen 10km from where HG lives I don't think he was the original thief.
But if I see him walking around with another bike that isn't his we are going to have another kind of chat.