IOWA CITY, IA–Despite the fact that it cost $350 when purchased two years ago and was still in excellent condition, no one seems to care that area resident Dan Bleidner's Trek 820 mountain bike was stolen from his Lansing Street apartment building Sunday.
"I rode home from the bookstore Saturday night and locked it up like I always do," Bleidner told disinterested neighbor Kyle Specht. "But when I got up Sunday morning, it was gone. Poof! It just vanished into thin air. Can you believe that?"
"Wow," responded Specht, closing his mailbox and heading quickly for his apartment door. "That sucks."
According to Bleidner, the theft of his bicycle "more than just 'sucks.'" For some reason, though, friends, coworkers, and fellow residents of his building have failed to acknowledge that the loss of his only mode of transportation is "an utter outrage."
Compounding Bleidner's anger is the fact that he "in no way deserved this." Though others may be careless with their bicycles, Bleidner stressed that he was not. At the time of the theft, the bicycle was securely locked to a stairway banister, just feet from the door to his apartment.
"My bike was not out by the street," Bleidner told neighbor Nikki Campbell. "In fact, it's not even visible from the street. Someone had to come into the building in order to see it and steal it. Is that unbelievable or what?"
Campbell replied that she had "never even noticed" that Bleidner kept his bicycle in the hallway.
Upon discovering that the bike was stolen, Bleidner promptly called the Iowa City Police Department. He said he gave police officials a detailed description of the bicycle–down to it's new low-impact Kore gel seat, Shimano brakes, and Homer Simpson sticker–but they were "less than helpful."
"I called the cops right away, before any evidence could be disturbed," Bleidner said. "The policeman on the phone actually asked me if I wanted to have an officer come over. A crime was committed right outside my front door, and the cops are asking me if I want them to investigate? What is going on in this country?"
Officer Dale Randolph arrived three and a half hours later to file a petty-theft report, one of approximately 400 he writes each year.
"When I asked Officer Randolph what the chances were that my bike would be recovered, he said, 'Don't call us, we'll call you,'" Bleidner said. "Then I informed him that the bike was registered with the city and asked if he would like the registration number. So he pauses, as if to think about it, and says, 'Sure, I guess.' Let's just say I was not particularly impressed with this guy."
Dissatisfied with police efforts, Bleidner turned elsewhere for help. At the suggestion of a man who works at the convenience store near his building, Bleidner contacted his landlord.
"The guy at The Market Pantry said that if something belonging to a tenant is stolen, the building owner's insurance should have to cover it," Bleidner said. "But when I tried to explain that to [landlord] Russell [Schalow], he practically hung up on me."
After nearly 20 minutes of listening to Bleidner describe his bike and the responsible manner in which he always locks it, Schalow sent a maintenance man to help him.
"A lot of good that did," Bleidner said. "I was asking Juan all these questions, like, 'Did you see anyone suspicious lurking around the building?' and he just kept saying, 'No, sir. I do not know, sir.'"
Bleidner has since taken the situation into his own hands, blanketing the city with flyers bearing a photo of the lost bicycle and promising a "Large Reward!!!" for information leading to its return.
"There are 65,000 people in this city, and no one saw or heard anything," Bleidner told a young couple as he taped a flyer to a downtown kiosk. "It just doesn't make sense."
Until the crisis is resolved, Bleidner's friends said they intend to avoid him.
"It's too bad that Dan's bike got swiped," friend Pete DiResta said, "but you can only listen to him say, 'It was even locked up' so many times before you want to choke him."
"It was even locked up–with a Kryptonite lock and everything," Bleidner told friend Adam Dorsett. "I told Mike that, and he said crooks know how to break those locks with freon and giant bolt cutters and stuff. Well, if that's true, how the hell can they put 'unbreakable' on the package?"
"You know what I'm going to do?" Bleidner continued. "I'm going to call the Kryptonite 800 number right now. I was using one of their locks, so they have to replace my bike, right?"