Yesterday I returned from work to find my bike had been stolen. It was hanging on the wall in my garage when I left, and when I got home I noticed the rear door to my garage, the one leading to my garden, was open.
Every day I leave for work and I lock the house door, cross the garden to the garage, put my stuff in the car, then lock the back door of the garage. Before getting in the car and leaving. I have an electric 'main' door to my garage so I open and shut it from the comfort of my car. It also means the main external door is always locked. There is no back gate to my house, the garage is the entire width of the garden. So accidentally leaving the backdoor to my garage unlocked should not be that big of a deal. The only way to it, is through the house, or through my neighbours gardens and over a 5 foot fence.
And so when I saw that door open, my first thought was simply mild irritation that I'd a) forgotten to lock it, and b) failed to catch it shut so it had blown open in the wind. Then I knocked my cycle helmet on the floor, bringing my eyes up and round to where my bike should be hanging.
My mind immediately raced through some options, maybe Kat had decided to borrow mine, rather than take hers. This thought as I turned to check her bike was still there, it was, just sat leaning on it's stand on the opposite side of the garage to where mine normally hangs. Her bike helmet was still hanging on the handle bars. I checked and found the other remote for the main door still present.
My bike had clearly been stolen.
Worse than the fact of my bike being gone, is the knowledge that someone jumped a fence into my garden, and came in to my garage, my workshop, my space and stole from me. There are actually other things that I feel more attachment to that could easily have been stolen. Though I guess the bike was the best combination of value/movability. The bandsaw is worth much more both financially and personally (it was a gift from Kat), but not exactly something you can heave over a fence in a hurry.
Worse than knowing that, is knowing that it was my neighbours kids, possibly with the aid of their mates, that stole from me.
I have no evidence, absolutely zero proof, and no hope of finding any physical evidence that would link them to the crime.
What I have is a story....In my mind the story goes like this...
I leave for work and fail to lock the door, in the windy day eventually the door which is not caught properly shut is blown open. Meanwhile the lads next door begin to hang around their house and garden, free from supervision on a weekday, knowing that most of the houses in the street are empty whilst people go to work. From their kitchen they notice that my garage door is open. And it stays open for some time. From that angle, looking through the open door, they see my bike, hanging on the wall in direct line of sight. And it occurs to them that it wouldn't take long to boost over the fence, run in, grab it, pass it back over the fence and be gone. They almost certainly mix with people they could sell the bike to, and I've no doubts that they require money to keep buying pot to smoke. And so it came to be that someone entered my garage, and took my bike, which needed it's front wheel assembling, ignoring another bike which they haven't seen from their vantage point.
A passing thief, seeing my door open from the street, would need to take some time to survey the scene, figure out what to take. It would seem obvious to take both bikes. But instead the thief was apparently in such a hurry to take the one valuable thing visible from my neighbours kitchen, that they didn't consider any of the other valuable things, not even the second bike.
At this point, in any good tv program, the detective in charge would have told this story to the suspect and they would break down into a convenient confession of their crime. Sadly I have little doubt that they are well aware that simply denying all knowledge will be more than sufficient to mean there is never any actual evidence to prove my story. No C.S.I. team to find fibres on the fence panels, or fingerprint fragments to be pieced together by amazing computer programs.
My bike is gone, I'm pretty certain who did it, and there is not a thing I can do about it.
I will certainly be more paranoid about locking everything behind me in future.
So here is my top tip... think it's unlikely someone would jump your neighbours fence to get to your garden. Think again.