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Sorry for the re-stealing

October 14th, 2010 · 79 comments

Yup, says submitter Jeff in D.C., “that is the broken bike lock on top of the note.”

I’m imagining this notewriter totally whaling on that lock, rejoicing in triumph as the kidnapped bike is freed, and then, in a parting act of contrition, whipping out the Yorkie stationery, and I think the only thing more amusing would be if the cops showed up at precisely that moment.

This bike was stolen from me 2 Friday's [sic] ago near 14th and Q. I am taking it back now. Sorry for the re-stealing.

related: Dear Bike Thief, I am very sorry

FILED UNDER: apostrophe catastrophe · bicycle · D.C. · nice stationery · stealing

79 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Walker, "Tex" (a stranger) bang

    Contrition? It looks like a supremely well executed case of one-upsmanship to me. I doff my hat to you and your Yorkie stationery, sir or madame.

    Oct 14, 2010 at 10:47 pm   rating: 56  small thumbs up

  • #2   Meg

    Fantastic. Karma-1, Douche bags-0.

    Oct 14, 2010 at 10:51 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   *snerk*

      Correction: dogma-1, douche bag-0

      Oct 15, 2010 at 9:01 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #2.2   Maas

      Correction: Maya-1, Maya-0.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 12:16 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #3   Kel

    I love the paw print signature and the apology for taking back what is rightfully yours!!!!
    Love it!!!

    Oct 14, 2010 at 10:53 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   Sonya

      Kel?! I thought you were long gone!

      Oct 17, 2010 at 11:07 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #3.2   FeRD bang

      Kel?! I thought you were long

      “And they was right!” – Cleavon Little, Blazing Saddles

      Oct 17, 2010 at 11:32 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #4   fauxelitist

    I can’t decide if I am more amazed at the fact the person actually found their stolen bike, or the fact they were awesome enough to justify their (re)stealing.
    Personally, I’d have waited around to “have a talk” with the thief.

    Oct 14, 2010 at 11:27 pm   rating: 18  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Maas

      I love that the thief locks the bike. Clearly he or she knows the peril of a loose bike.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 12:18 pm   rating: 19  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   park rose

      The town bike is always very popular with the lads.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 9:33 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   Xenobio

      I think they did that to be nice in case it was some random person who innocently bought the bike from the thief without knowing it was stolen. Could happen easily.

      Oct 17, 2010 at 7:05 am   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   FeRD bang

      Huh. I didn’t think it that far through until you mentioned it, Xeno, but that’s probably the right assessment.

      It certainly makes the note seem way less preposterous and nutty, tho. Quit ruining P-AN! ;)

      Oct 17, 2010 at 11:35 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #5   fogharty

    So “Jeff” is the bicycle thief?

    Oct 14, 2010 at 11:37 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #6   Canthz_B bang

    I’ve learned of some real low-life things on this site, but stealing a bike from a poor little dog has got to take the cake and fruit!!

    Oct 14, 2010 at 11:38 pm   rating: 21  small thumbs up

  • #7   The Great Joe Bivins

    That’s what you get for stealing a bike from a notoriously feisty yet mannerly Yorkshire Terrier enthusiast. Politely worded correspondence on kitschy stationery.

    Oct 15, 2010 at 12:37 am   rating: 44  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   park rose bang

      He terrierized him!

      Oct 15, 2010 at 2:43 am   rating: 72  small thumbs up

  • #8   Kaledrina

    My sister did this very thing in DC (minus the yorkie stationary note). Her bicycle was stolen and a few days later she saw it parked outside somewhere without a lock so she stole it back. I wonder how often it happens now. At the time it happened to her it seemed like a one-in-a-million shot, but now I’m thinking it might be common practice in DC.

    Oct 15, 2010 at 12:40 am   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   Mel K

      Is the yorkie the original owner? How do we know that the yorkie didn’t steal it from a chihuhua?

      Oct 15, 2010 at 1:25 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #8.2   Canthz_B bang

      I just hope someone’s checking serial numbers before they steal “their bike” back…bikes tend to be mass produced and look a whole lot alike.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 2:19 am   rating: 62  small thumbs up

    • #8.3   Splint Chesthair

      A black Trek baseline? That’s mine!

      Oct 15, 2010 at 4:56 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #8.4   Maas

      Maybe we should just save some time and collectivize the bicycles.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #8.5   Charlie

      I thought I was the only one that had this happen. I was only about 9 or 10 and had my bike stolen while taking swimming lessons in Wollman Park in Leavenworth Kansas. While walking home and wondering what I was going to tell my parents, I saw my bike about 3 blocks from home. Stole the bike back and didn’t say a thing to my mom and dad until I was in my 40′s. Didn’t leave a note, though.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm   rating: 16  small thumbs up

    • #8.6   Glenn

      No way, I grew up in Leavenworth when I was younger too, but then we moved to Overland Park. Never special enough to have had my bike stolen though.

      Oct 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #8.7   the Librarian

      Hello to my fellow Kansas natives!

      Oct 16, 2010 at 11:42 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #8.8   Kaledrina

      on the subject of knowing if the bike is the same one that was stolen, in my sister’s case, it was an old bike she’d had for a decade or so and not the sort that one ever sees around in an odd color. Also, it had other things she added to it, so she was pretty certain it was her bike.

      Oct 17, 2010 at 2:09 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #9   WMDKitty

    It’s not theft if you’re reclaiming your property.

    Oct 15, 2010 at 12:41 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   Canthz_B bang

      The O.J. Simpson defense has proved wanting. :-P

      Oct 15, 2010 at 2:22 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

    • #9.2   scaarykitty

      Well, there’s a decent chance the new “owner” in fact bought it for cheap off some scumbag, so I’m guessing that was the logic behind apologising to the potentially-innocent new victim.

      But meh, to hang with them: buy a bike from a scumbag, and you have to know it’s been liberated from somewhere, you get what’s coming to you. Go team bike-retrieval!

      Oct 15, 2010 at 2:31 am   rating: 32  small thumbs up

    • #9.3   Canthz_B bang

      THAT’S WHAT O.J. SAID! Hahahahahaha

      Oct 15, 2010 at 3:05 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #9.4   WMDKitty

      Uh, actually, it IS perfectly legal to take your stuff back from a thief.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 3:44 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #9.5   Canthz_B bang

      THAT’S WHAT O.J. SAID! Hahahahahahaha

      Oct 15, 2010 at 4:19 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #9.6   Bored@Work bang

      It’s perfectly legal to call the cops, prove it’s your bike and have them assist in retrieval. It’s not legal to cut someone’s lock and take it on your own. That said, good luck getting a cop to respond to a bike theft in D.C.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 7:44 am   rating: 25  small thumbs up

    • #9.7   Maas

      I’m just waiting for the Native Americans to reclaim various things taken from them.

      Or at least for Mexico to take back Texas.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

    • #9.8   orinoco womble

      Besides, Pierre Proudhoun already pronounced on it: Property *is* theft.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 1:20 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #9.9   Canthz_B bang

      Maas, let’s throw in California and Arizona as sweeteners as well, I hear in Mexico it’s customary to haggle a bit over a deal! ;-)

      Oct 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #9.10   Maas

      Better not tell them that California isn’t up to code. If they knew that it’s liable to fall apart or burst into flames at any moment, we wouldn’t be able to give it away.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 9:36 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #9.11   WMDKitty

      Canthz, I’m actually studying this stuff, so… yeah, it IS legal to reclaim your property, as long as it is not in the LEGAL custody of another. (i.e. you can’t steal it back if it’s, say, in hock, but you CAN steal it back from a thief.)

      Oct 15, 2010 at 10:00 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #9.12   Canthz_B bang

      Uh, I was just making O.J. jokes…not legal argument.
      Carry on. ;-)

      Oct 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #9.13   WMDKitty

      Ugh. OJ jokes are SO over. Can’t we just let his career rest in peace?

      Oct 17, 2010 at 1:51 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #9.14   Maas

      How exactly does stolen property come into your “LEGAL custody” if the person you got it from didn’t own it? If I “sell” you the Brooklyn Bridge, even though I don’t really own it, are you now the legal owner?

      Oct 17, 2010 at 11:42 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #9.15   Canthz_B bang

      I thought they called that “receiving stolen property”, but again, I’m no legal scholar, so I’ll defer to those more knowledgeable on such matters.

      Oct 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #9.16   FeRD bang

      Maas, you’re conflating two different people’s arguments. WMDKitty didn’t mention stolen property, he said if “your property” was in the legal custody of another, you can’t steal it back. And then provided an example (putting it in hock).

      (…OK, I admit I mostly just posted this so I could whip out “conflate”. One of my faves.) ;)

      Oct 17, 2010 at 11:43 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #9.17   Maas

      Fair point, but I think it would be more accurate to say that I’m conflating WMDKitty’s various arguments.

      “It’s not theft if you’re reclaiming your property.”

      “Uh, actually, it IS perfectly legal to take your stuff back from a thief.”

      “yeah, it IS legal to reclaim your property, as long as it is not in the LEGAL custody of another.”

      So either the third restatement is actually an irrelevant claim, or it suggests that something can be stolen and enter the legal custody of a third party.

      Ah yes, some words are so fun that they justify their own use. That’s pretty much the only reason I defenstrate these days.

      Oct 18, 2010 at 12:04 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #9.18   Limeliberator bang

      I’m not sure how to read your last sentence. Defenestrate? Do you only defenestrate your reason or do you have a reason FOR your defenestration? What exactly are you defenestrating?

      Forgive me for my loquaciousness but I’m perspicacious like that. I’m a natural-born sesquipedalian.. ;)

      Oct 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #9.19   Panda

      Further, are these traditional defenestrations? Or are you perpetrating shoddy non-political defenestrations? These cut-rate defenestrations are really ruining the good name of quality political defenestrations.

      Dec 3, 2010 at 6:08 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #10   Nack


    Pictured should’ve been a mutant steroid-raging rottweiler! And the flavor text should’ve said, “Dear Bike Thief, Here’s your lock, and I raise you a dare to try again! Cheers! Signed, An abusive dog-fighter with an absurd love of their bicycle.”


    Oct 15, 2010 at 2:37 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   park rose bang

      Or it could have said, “Love, Pete Sutcliffe.”

      Oct 15, 2010 at 2:52 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #11   The Elf

    I really, really hope that was actually his bike and not one that looked remarkably similar.

    When someone stole my motorcycle helmet right off my bike when I was at work, I rode around the immediate neighborhood (helmetless), looking for it. I was so totally going to steal it back if I found it. After I gave up and got home, I realized that my helmet was a pretty standard all-black number, so what were the odds that I’d actually re-steal my helmet and not someone elses? I wouldn’t want some enraged biker looking for me! Probably for the best that I didn’t find it!

    Oct 15, 2010 at 6:24 am   rating: 18  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   easily distracted

      I thought that when I was reading the note. I kind of pictured the reclaimer bragging to a bunch of friends about this only to have someone ask:
      “Don’t you own a Schwinn?”
      “Yeah, so?”
      “This is a Huffy.”

      Oct 16, 2010 at 9:26 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #11.2   Xenobio

      LOL, if you steal a Huffy thinking it’s a Schwinn you fail at bike ownership.

      Oct 17, 2010 at 7:08 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #11.3   FeRD bang

      …Xeno fails at entertaining hyperbole appreciation. :)

      Oct 17, 2010 at 11:45 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #12   Bored@Work bang

    Forget the bike! Who taught that dog to write?!?!?! (Pretty good penmanship too, considering he has no opposable thumbs.)

    Oct 15, 2010 at 7:40 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   bearcat

      better yet, who taught him how to ride a bicycle?

      Oct 28, 2010 at 9:24 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #13   Le lac

    How does ReStealer know that the bike is theirs? Is it covered in Yorkie stickers? Did they memorize their serial number? I’d feel pretty awful for the person who just happened to also own the same pink Huffy model.

    Oct 15, 2010 at 8:28 am   rating: 19  small thumbs up

  • #14   AcseNray

    Nitpick: “whaling” means to beat with a vengeance. “Wailing” means to make a crying sound.

    Oct 15, 2010 at 8:31 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   Edwina the Defrocked Nun

      Except if you have a band called the “Wailing Jennies” in which case you are making a pun on Waylon Jennings.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 9:19 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #14.2   Ed Depaine

      Actually it is ‘Wailin Jennys’. They are western Canadian fun!

      Oct 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #14.3   Maas

      Maybe the author stood on the lock on screamed until someone came and helped.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #14.4   orinoco womble

      “Whaling” means “to hunt massive, endangered cetacean sea mammals with a harpoon.” And it’s supposedly illegal…uh-huh. That’s what they said.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #14.5   Ed Depaine

      You didn’t scroll down far enough maybe.

      –verb, whaled, whal·ing,
      to hit, thrash, or beat soundly.
      1780–90; orig. uncert. Unabridged
      Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #15   Gwan

    I wish PAN (or Jeff) would have said whether it was actually a) stolen by Jeff b) bought by Jeff from a thief or c) a case of mistaken identity

    Oct 15, 2010 at 10:42 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   FeRD bang

      I assumed Jeff just passed this on the street, snapped a photo, and doesn’t know any of those details because he’s not in any way involved with said bike. (Which he’s probably never even seen, for obvious reasons). There’s nothing in the posting to imply that it’s his bike or bike lock.

      Oct 17, 2010 at 11:48 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #16   Mo®

    What’s that Lassie? Someone is stealing my bike again? Dammit!

    Oct 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

  • #17   Sarah

    He should have at least left a phone number. Someone probably bought that bike in good faith, in which case they’re a victim too.

    Oct 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Maas

      You say victim, I say person who just paid someone to steal a bike. Admittedly yours is catchier.

      If the owner feels put out, he or she can always sic the constabulary on the bicycle retailer.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 9:42 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #17.2   Maas

      Of course this suggests a great business plan.
      1. Sell bikes on the ebay.
      2. Ship bikes, with with free bike locks, to customers.
      3. Use the shipping address to track down the bikes.
      4. Use the spare keys to recover the bikes.

      Oct 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #17.3   FeRD bang

      Sarah, what exactly would be the point of leaving a phone number?

      • So that someone who bought your stolen bike can call to cry about how they were duped?
      • So that they can call and tell you that they don’t believe the bike was stolen, and they’re calling the cops on you?
      • So that the two of you can start a bike-theft-victims’ support group?
      • So you can become their new bestest cuddle-friend, and share secrets and stories and wishes and dreams!!! ^_^ ?

      Seriously, what outcomes from leaving a phone# would be to the re-stealer’s benefit, not annoyance? (Please don’t say “bringing the actual thief to justice” or whatnot. Think it’s hard to get the cops to pay attention to a bike theft? Good luck with the courts!)

      Oct 18, 2010 at 12:27 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #17.4   Spinoza

      Or for the thief to track you down and whale on you.

      Oct 18, 2010 at 3:06 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #17.5   lisa

      The law does not and should not care about your rights if you buy from someone who does not have good title to the property unless they are a merchant under the UCC. When you purchase something from an individual instead of a merchant, it’s your responsibility to choose a reputable source.

      It’s rare that the victim is gonna find you, is gonna find you, homeboy so it’s not a big risk.

      I don’t think snatching it back is the *most* legal way to deal with the situation, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would help the thief at that point.

      Oct 19, 2010 at 5:11 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #18   park rose bang

    Never mind.

    Oct 15, 2010 at 9:54 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #19   nerazurri bang

    I love this note, but I find it difficult to feel sorry for anyone who writes 2 Friday’s ago

    Oct 16, 2010 at 9:27 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #20   trouble

    Personally, I think it’d be awesome if that’s how all bikes worked. Go outside, find one, ride it to where you need to go, and then leave it for somebody else to ride!

    Oct 16, 2010 at 11:00 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #20.1   Madrias

      Except in an age where people all drive cars, no one would bother parking the bicycles anywhere accessible.

      You forget we live in the “Me First” era. What’s yours is mine, what’s mine is mine, and you can’t have any.

      Oct 17, 2010 at 1:53 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #20.2   the Librarian

      There used to be a program like this on some college campuses and maybe some crunchier type cities or towns as well. Yellow bikes, they were. They took some old, junky bikes and fixed them up, painted them a sort of school bus yellow, and left them around for people to use exactly as you describe. I don’t know if this still happens; I remember it from my college days in the mid- to late-’90s.

      Oct 17, 2010 at 8:55 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #20.3   The Elf

      DC recently started a bikeshare program. Maybe Jeff needs to look into it…..

      Oct 18, 2010 at 7:50 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #21   Just a thought...

    How do we know that the bike this person stole was their bike? I mean, what kind of bike thief would leave it locked up somewhere? Most bikes are stolen to be sold. So either this bike was super unique and someone legitimately bought it from a pawn shop and then got it stolen by the original own… or this was an average bike that some dickbag thought was his and stole again. Am I the only one wondering how on earth this person knew it was their bike??!

    Oct 17, 2010 at 12:00 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #21.1   Bcteagirl

      Yes, yes you are. As you can tell by the complete lack of other comments about this *eye roll*

      ps- Likely by distinctive damage (scratches, marks etc) , additions, etc. Mystery solved! No need to thank me.

      Oct 17, 2010 at 12:41 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #21.2   Canthz_B bang

      I dunno #21…did you read #8.2 before posting? ;-)

      Oct 17, 2010 at 10:37 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #22   Limeliberator bang

    SO, theoretically, I could just wait at 14th and Q on Friday and re-retrieve the bike?

    Also, I love how the bike lock puts a black bar over the Yorkie’s face, seemingly to protect his identity.

    Oct 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up


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