To the person who stole my bike tire, I hope it takes you far in life

When I came home for lunch Wednesday, I noticed that the rear tire of my mountain bike was missing. The bike was locked to a rack outside my apartment, and I assumed the thief incorrectly thought that taking off the rear tire would free the rest of bike.

I’ve experienced worse thefts. In college, my car was broken into, and hundreds of CDs, expensive speakers and a CD player were stolen. Several years later, I made the mistake of leaving my work laptop in the backseat of my car overnight. An opportunistic passer-by armed with a brick shattered one of the rear windows and took the laptop, once again leaving me with a broken window to fix.

Those crimes I can somewhat understand. Used CDs, speakers, a laptop — all are easy to sell for some quick cash. But a used tire from a dirty mountain bike?

I went to the shop where I bought my bike to get an estimate for replacing the tire. Bummer man, was their response, in a nutshell. A new tire will set me back $150, and that’s if they don’t find anything else that’s broken.

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At least they left the front tire.


Reporting the theft to the cops seemed like a waste of a time, but a contact of mine who works in law enforcement advised me to do it anyway, on the off chance my tire turns up somewhere.
I called dispatch, and within 10 minutes an officer called to get my information. He took my name, number, address and asked what happened. No, I didn’t see it happen. No, I don’t have any idea who did it.

He didn’t ask for a description of the tire (it has a lime green stripe that makes it stand out), which seemed odd since there are a lot of mountain bikes in the Black Hills.

Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll get called down to the police department one afternoon and they’ll roll in a bunch of tires confiscated from the streets. “Not it. Not it. Hmmm, maybe … Can you roll it closer, so I can see it under the light?”

So, to the person who stole my tire, enjoy it man. It probably needs some air so tread lightly, especially if you’re using it to build a unicycle. Those probably went out of style in 1916, but vinyl is cool again so you never know.

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Survivor’s story of hope continues to echo

Some voices are hard to forget.

I saw a preview recently for a show on the Biography Channel called “I Survived.” The show features people who have survived near-death experiences such as a grizzly bear attack, kidnapping and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The survivors tell their stories without the help of a narrator and against a black background, giving it an intimate one-on-one feel.

One of the women in the clip looked familiar. But I didn’t make the connection until I heard her voice: “I survived that night because I had to live for my daughter.”

I first met Penny in 2006 when I was a reporter for the Evansville Courier & Press, a midsize newspaper in southern Indiana. Normally, I would go out and find people to interview for stories, but Penny found me. When she contacted the newspaper, her call was forwarded to me because I was on the police beat.

Penny told me that she had been raped and left for dead. She was upset at the way the police had treated her during the early parts of the investigation, and she wanted to share her story with the public. It was rare for a victim of a sex crime to want to speak about their case, and our newspaper had a policy of not identifying rape victims to protect their privacy. Continue reading