I drive from Oakland to San Jose on Tuesdays to spend the afternoon with my son. I’ve been using Zipcar to make the weekly trip for the past few months, and It’s working well for me. My trips are usually uneventful. The end to last Tuesday’s trip was an exception.
I pulled in to the Lake Merritt BART parking lot at around 8:25 PM and parked. I checked the inside of the car to make sure I had all my belongings with me. I then became aware of a small group of teenagers checking out parked bikes, so I sat in the car and watched them. They focused on a bike locked to a tree right in front of me, pointing and talking to each other.
A group of around 10 people came walking up the sidewalk toward the parked bike, and and the teens dispersed. After the group passed, the teens returned to the bike. One got on one knee, back to me, and stuck his elbows out. One of his buddies pointed at the bike. The kid one one knee was behaving like a thief with a bolt-cutter. his buddy was pointing at the spot to cut.
I quickly stepped out of the car and slammed the door. They didn’t hear it. So I spoke up. “Are you stealing a bike?!?! Are you stealing a bike?!?! Are you f*%#ing kidding me?!?! You’re stealing a bike!! Bike thieves!! Bike thieves!!” My voice was loud, forceful, and angry. I was angry.
The kids were obviously terrified by my yelling and ran off. I yelled more as they ran off. I won’t repeat my words here.
After they turned a corner, I walked over to the bike and checked it out. The would-be thieves were aiming to cut a cable, but it was untouched. Satisfied with myself that I had just stopped a crime in progress, I walked back to the car to gather my belongings. That was when I spotted the bolt-cutter lying on the sidewalk.
So, I have a question for those of you in law enforcement: What should one do when confronted with this situation? Did I do the right thing? Or is there a better response? I’d really like to know.
Also, has anyone else been in this situation? How did you handle it?