November 21, 2014

Douglas in Dallas

A guy in Dallas named Douglas has Reed Albergotti's bike. Albergotti's 2008 Ridley Noah with its custom blue-and-orange paint job and its owner's last name emblazoned across the top tube.

Albergotti's Ridley was stolen from his apartment's locked bike room in San Francisco, sold at a flea market in San Jose, and bought on eBay for a third of its retail price by the aforementioned Dallas Doug.

Wall Street Journal reporter Albergotti knows all of this, and can't do anything about it.

When I read the title of Albergotti's WSJ piece—"The Day He Found His Stolen Bike on eBay"—I assumed it would be a recovery story. I was primed for the pick-me-up: Whoever bought the writer's bike online, I figured, would, when s/he learned it was stolen property, return it to its rightful owner, cutting a loss, sure, but maintaining a clear conscience.

Not Douglas. When Albergotti at last contrived to get San Francisco police on his case—this alone took some doing—a sergeant spoke to Doug the eBay buyer. Doug soon stopped returning calls, though, and the sergeant told Albergotti there was nothing he could do.

So there's more resignation in Albergotti's story than resolution, but it just might convince you to get renters insurance. (Albergotti credits a policy with making his loss "a lot less painful," and he credits his "responsible wife" for securing the policy.)

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