The Daily Bike: Woman Steals Bike Back from Thief

dailybikenewbike_thief_thiefEverybody loves karmic justice, or at least a happy ending. Kayla Smith, a Vancouver bartender, had her new Masi road bike stolen from a friend’s house last week. She called the police, who were ineffective. Then a friend saw what looked like her Masi for sale on Craigslist, so she called the police again. Once more, their response was lacking, so she took matters into her own hands

“I called the guy up and made arrangements to meet him in half an hour at the main street McDonalds,” Smith wrote on Reddit under the user name girlgetsbikeback. “When I pulled into the parking lot I still had no plan of attack. I got there and saw the guy with my bike. He was wearing board shorts, a raggy tank top and dark sketchy glasses. I noticed that it was my bike right away because of the RIDE ON stickers on the frame [RIDE ON is the shop where she bought it] and the fact I have a silver handle bar plug on the left and a black one on the right. A description I gave to the police already. Here is where I started thinking on my feet.

“I asked the guy if I could take it for a ride around the parking lot. He was weary and said “yeah but don’t take off…” I said not to worry that I would even think of it! My heart was pounding and I had no idea what to do so I just got on the bike and was like fuck this guy and started to ride. As I was riding away, I called my friend who was driving to meet me as backup. I rode to the adjacent parking lot where she was pulling into as I was riding. We watched the guy start to look for me and he got super freaked out and he suddenly just took off running.”

Smith told Canadian news outlets, ” “I was just gleaming. I literally jumped around like a six year old getting an ice cream cone. It was ridiculous. I was like ‘Oh my God!’ I was doing booty shaking dances all over the parking lot.”

Vancouver police predictably cautioned people not to take bike theft matters into their own hands. “We can arrange those types of meetings. We can do exactly what she did, but with the safety of having the police involved.” said Vancouver Police Constable Brian Montague.

Well, yeah. But you didn’t.


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{ 42 comments…read them below or write one }

    • mike

      Cops in Vancouver don’t solve any petty theft. You lose your bike, camera, stereo, contents of your car – it’s gone. Everyone in Vancouver has a petty theft story and it’s rare for the police to A] care and B] recover it. Even when this info is passed-on to the police, the response time is so slow b/c it’s not a priority. I’ve had a few incidents of theft myself and have never heard from the police again after filing a report. I’d probably try to recover my bike the same way, not something I would necessarily recommend b/c there are dangers involved, but if it’s not insured it’s the only way. Most of these thefts in Vancouver are committed by drug addicts and they’ll do anything to get some quick cash. I think that it’s great that she got her bike back, but like many have said, I wouldn’t advertise … you never know who you’re dealing with. Get an insurance rider on your bike …

  • Doug SchnitzspahnDoug Schnitzspahn Post author

    We need to get a gang together for my buddy Isaac Stokes and get back his Ibis. Some dirty dude with a mohawk is riding it around Boulder with a road bike wheel on the front. Police won’t do anything. Time for some cyclist 3-7-77

  • Scott

    It is so sad our society has come to this and I don’t mean someone stealing your bike, I mean that we as honest citizens must take steps to protect ourselves and take back what is legally ours. Think of the term Criminal justice system……..really??? should it not be victim justice system? If we the victims do not act then we are mindless followers. Thank you for taking a stand and it did not take a firearm or anyone getting hurt. It’s called intestinal fortitude…..John Wayne would be proud of you. Good old American justice.

  • Murph

    “Well, yeah. But you didn’t.”

    Those were my exact words, too.
    Glad to hear you got your ride back. I had a nice bike stolen in ’79 and would have done things I would have later regretted doing had I found the guy.

  • Gregor BodifeeGregor Bodifee Post author

    Sorry guys, I’m from Holland and here we go to the police to file a complaint and get your bike’s value back from the insurancy. Or via the cops. And we don’t ask to molest someone over a stolen bike.

    • Murph

      Hypothetical questions for Gregor:
      - suppose your bike is worth US $1000
      - suppose your bike is worth US $5000
      - suppose your bike is worth US $10000

      and not some clunky, 20 kg commuter bike you don’t care about.

      OK, now suppose the guy is standing right there with your bike.

      What do you do?

    • Chris

      I wish it would be so simple here. Far too many people on Canada or the States don’t have the home-owner’s or renter’s insurance necessary to receive any benefits, and many times the deductible is so high that a single bike doesn’t qualify.

      Unfortunately, even when the cops are actively trying to assist a staged “purchase” of a stolen bike, they may get called away to a higher priority call, like a domestic disturbance. That happened here in Seattle last fall. Luckily the rightful owner had the gumption to ride off like Kayla did here.

  • Greg Foweraker

    From the Innate offices at ground zero near first and main, where I can see the craigslist macdonalds, there are lots of interesting things going on:
    -a community garden, which is a booming success,
    - a detox centre,
    -a methadone clinic,
    - a drug bazar, where the other day when my 12 yr old daughter and i were walking to our car from running an errand, 3 fellows were consummating a meth deal and started lighting up, when i gave them a plaintive look and requested “can you wait a minute?” the response was “how about you and the kid take a hit, this is the good stuff”
    -farina pizza with the slogan “where’re open till the doughs’ gone” churn out the best to go thin crust in the city
    -and lets not forget the aforementioned main street macdonalds where you can get a happy meal with your hot bike
    The reality is that most of the property crime in Vancouver can be traced to addicts fuelling addictions and with due respect to VANCITY pd’s they are understaffed and overwhelmed. It takes a lot of chutzpah for their spokesman to make the claim they could get on the case when meanwhile they fall woefully short of the much trumped five pillars policy of restoring community decency. We do our part, we’ve donated surplus product to the homeless in our neighbourhood, worked in community gardens and hired sober but indigent folks for casual work, but what we really need are MORE COPS and TOUGHER ENFORCEMENT around property crime to complement the harm-reduction measures like safe injection sites. This will go a long way to restoring a civil society in our hood and maybe one day our team can lock our bikes outside our building -and not have them ripped off.

  • Mel HanleyMel Hanley Post author

    Great that she got her bike back, publishing his name and number and inviting others to beat him up however, could be considered a crime. What she does to the English language is definitely a crime!

  • Kathleen Rock

    That’s awesome. I have a friend who has the same situation with his skis. I think there had to be a little more persuading in that case though. . . .

  • Jay Long

    Great story. Makes me think of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure…anyone? Really was a classic…trying to recover his bike from the basement of the Alamo…how can that not be funny? Anyway, great tale–no pun intended as I picture her “booty dancing” all over the parking lot. Glad she got her bike back. But what if it really wasn’t her bike? Mistaken identity…imagine the guy saying: “hay, some chick just stole my bike. Just teasing…great story.

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