The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
Broken dreams and thieves in the night
Categories: parenting

When your child wants one big thing for their birthday, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and shell out for it, especially when it’s something very healthy that you can’t dispute like a new bike.

That coupled with a cycling proficiency test made the big present a must. We went together to buy it early and even managed to trade in her old bike and get a discount.

The proud purchase ‘best present in the world’ languished outside in our front garden, laden with a huge padlock, next to mine.

But not for long.

That Sunday night my slumber was disturbed as I awoke to hear a strange rustling. Was it foxes? A neighbour returning late from a weekend away? Feeling suddenly cold and alert, I heard the unmistakable sound of my front garden gate opening, a scrape of metal upon metal. Heart thumping, I leapt out of bed and looked outside. Two figures were running off down the road with ‘the present’! The bike was gone – lifted over the fence and in the clutches of two figures dressed in black. I couldn’t believe my eyes and while I was tempted to run out after them, they were gone.

It wasn’t a big emergency, but I was shocked and called the Police. I felt a bit foolish when they arrived with a flashing blue light on the car, I was shaken up and nervous they’d wake my daughter and scare her, so spoke in a pantomime whisper. They were great and promised to drive around the neighbourhood to try and apprehend them. I knew it was too late. I couldn’t sleep for hours after they went, every time I closed my eyes, the image of two people running off with the bike returned, over and over again. It seemed so unfair – a broken sleep and a broken dream to face the next day.

What was I going to say in the morning?

‘Your birthday present has been stolen, there’s nothing I can do, but fingers crossed the insurance will pay up?’

I went back to sleep eventually and broke the news in the morning. There were no tears as I’d expected. It felt like the drama was all mine. The whole thing bugged me though, the birthday was looming and I felt bloody knackered, it was only Monday after all!

I waited for a call from the local Police to get a crime number so I could go through the insurance process, but heard nothing. Then came the birthday, presents were opened in the morning before school, but there was a big gap in the front garden where the bike had taken pride of place. It all felt wrong.

As I travelled to a meeting that day, a message popped up on my mobile. It was not what I expected;

‘An arrest was made early this morning and we have found your bike, please call me so we can get it back to you!’

It was like an unlikely and divine intervention; all I had to do was pick it up from the cop shop and show some ID, and the receipt and so on. When I arrived to collect it, I was taken out into a yard to identify the bike. There must have been forty or so other bikes there yet to be claimed. It was weird.

It turned out the bike was one of several stolen on a two night stealing spree by two young kids, too young to be charged. They were cautioned and given a stiff telling off – I offered to do that part myself. It turned out they wee from a care home and one of them cried when they were told that one of the bikes was actually a birthday present for a young girl.

Having heard this, my anger dissipated. As I cycled home in the darkness on the pavement, on a bike that was far too short for me, I knew I looked pretty stupid but I didn’t care, I was quite elated to have retrieved the longed for present. But I wondered if these kids had ever had a bike as a birthday present. Were they crying because they’d been caught, or because they hadn’t ever had a proper birthday themselves? Was this the start of a downward spiral for them? It shook me up. While I was angry that this had happened, my heart was compromised. I wanted to meet this kids and understand why they had done this.

It’s such a long shot to get a bike back once it’s been nicked, but the joy I had expected to see on my daughter’s face when I returned home with it was not there. The present now seemed borrowed – we’re lucky to get it back, but for how long?

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4 Comments to “Broken dreams and thieves in the night”

  1. Oh what a terrible thing to have happen on any day but the day before a child’s birthday is just woeful timing. I’m so glad you got the bike back, I do so like a happy ending. :D
    ChrisTea And Cakes recently posted..Doily Dolly

  2. My heart breaks just reading this, so beautifully written. I was angry for you and was ready to string those little “thieves” up. But then you have to take a step back don’t you. Why were they in a care home in the first place, why were they out in the middle of the night? You can only sympathise with them because they most likely don’t know any different. It’s a hard world we live in and we try to shelter our children as much as possible. I wonder if they were being paid to steal the bikes, a bit of pocket money perhaps.

    On the upside, I’m glad you got the bike back. And glad your daughter wasn’t angry about the whole incident.

    CJ xx
    Crystal Jigsaw recently posted..A Very Proud Day

    • admin says:

      It’s funny how stories are so layered – having your bike nicked and then getting it back seems so simple, but as the tightly wound threads unravelled, I was a little surprised at what they revealed – interesting point about the pocket money you make xx

  3. Kate Davids says:

    This is a great story, and I’m so glad it turned out alright. I hope that kid cried because he felt bad for stealing a dream. If it was that, then hopefully he (or she) wont do it again. I think your daughter will also come to love the bike even more for the story behind it. How many people’s bikes were stolen and then came back?

    It seems like bikes are such a popular target for thieves. They are easy to sell, but it’s a shame because often the thief isn’t just taking a prized possession but a means of transportation, of making it to work, friends, and family.

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