The other day at Bogota Bike Tours we negligently left a bike outside, leaning against the wall. Predictably, someone came by and grabbed it and took off.
So, I headed down to the stolen bike strip, where, lo and behold, one of the shopowners was standing in his doorway holding my bike, which he'd just purchased.
"This is my bike," I said, putting my hand on the handlebar.
"Well, I just bought it." He wasn't sympathetic.
"It was just stolen from me," I said, angry.
"If you want it, then pay me what I paid for it. 50,000 pesos (about $27.00)."
"You give it back to me," I insisted, "or you'll have trouble with the police. You shouldn't buy things which are stolen."
"Just take it," he relented with disgust.
A funny story, but also a pathetic one. I read that in San Francisco, California, the police plan to do a sting operation, which will involve placing tracking devices in bikes to be used as lures. When those bikes get stolen, the cops will track them to find out who's fencing the stolen bikes.
Here in Bogotá we don't need a sting op with expensive tracking devices. I and lots of other people know exactly who is dealing in stolen bikes. Why don't the cops do anything?