Thursday, September 10, 2009

Daylight robbery

On Tuesday I had the misfortune of being involved in a minor 'incident' near my work, a couple of guys were attempting to steal a bicycle. As I walked towards my office building I noticed a guy in a large quilted jacket looking out of place across the road. Something made me stop and watch as he stooped to apparently dust something off his trouser leg and looked up and down the street quite furtively. As he stood up I saw a length of scaffold pole inside his jacket, which he manoeuvred into position having turned to face a racked bicycle. The guy was moving the bike's lock into a spot where he could lever the pole to break it - it all happened swiftly and I was looking about to see if anyone else had noticed or whether there was anything much I could do.

Knowing the area well (I've worked there for some years), I knew there was a University security centre over my shoulder, but there was no one apparent coming or going - something the would-be thief had also noted.

I had a moment to decide what to do, I had (being brutally honest) almost turned to carry on my way, but something made me stop spin around lift my right hand, point my finger and with a firm tone shout "Oi!". It wasn't at the top of my voice, but it came out with an assertive clear - slightly alien to me tone.

At which point the guy looked up and slid the pole back into his jacket. He glanced around wondering who else noted my stance, and began to move off up the street. As he went he through some sort of verbal abuse my way, that I really couldn't make out - accept the general implication of "what business was it of yours you ****er!". I again turned toward my office block before remembering the security centre which I headed for instead. As I turned that way I caught the guy starring at me and throw a few more choice words my way.

Once at the security office door I noticed him climbing onto the back of a friends bike before his partner pedalled the two of them away. Funnily enough the 'friend' had his stripey hoodie pulled up nice and tight. The thief couldn't enjoy such luxury and was no doubt the fall guy in every sense of the scenario. The people in the office took my descriptions and set about following them on CCTV... which seemed a little feeble to me... happily as I left an officer was off in their direction of travel to follow up.

In the aftermath I felt charged, and buzzy... as that wore off I'd pondered what I'd done, my inner coward came forth. I found myself wondering what exactly he'd shouted, and whether our paths would cross again. I have an oddly encyclopedic people memory, and I know I've seen him before on my commuter train. I'd only noted him then because of his 'look', I could expand and offer generalisations of his motives / background but they probably aren't helpful.

I'm only happy, especially as a fellow cyclist, someone went to go home that night and found their bike where they'd left it. It's funny what can happen in just such a few short seconds sometimes.

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