The skeletons of bikes littered throughout the Berkeley campus are evidence that bike thefts are not uncommon around these parts. Students often find just a back wheel chained to a pole where their bike used to be. What’s less common is finding a Casio CTK-2400 portable keyboard where the bike used to be.
Lately, students have been returning to their parked bikes only to find random items of about equal value to their missing bicycles. The student who received the Casio is just one example. Others have inherited Persian rugs, dinner sets and boxes full of Blu-rays. Student reactions ranged from great frustration to mild amusement. The student with the Casio reasoned, “I guess I could just sell this and buy another bike. It’s a slight inconvenience, but I might actually make a little money off this.”
“I got stuck with about 300 pounds of deli meat,” complained another student. “I would’ve rather just had my bike stolen, but now I feel like I have to sell off all this deli meat before it goes bad to pay for my new bike. Why wouldn’t the thief just take the bike?”
That’s a question behavioral specialists have begun to look at, with the head researcher theorizing that “He must be some kind of hoarder who has developed a liking for bicycles. To morally justify his actions, he replaces the bicycles with objects he has collected over the years that he appraises to be of similar value to the bike in question.”
While researchers follow the hoarding theory, local freelance art groups have praised the thief as an artist. “It’s not really stealing if there’s no loss of value,” explained one of the bike thief’s supporters. “We think he uses each stolen bike to fund the next target’s replacement object. It’s a cycle of renewal and rebirth, which is why he’s using bi-CYCLES as his medium. It’s a beautiful thing.”
The art scene has caught wind of the bandit’s exploits, and copycats have started to pop up around the country. “I saw a fly fishing rod u-locked to a lamppost back home in Phoenix,” claimed one student. On social media, there have been reports of a taxidermy mule deer chained to a railing in New York and a Roomba locked to a street sign in Miami.
Whether this thief is a crazy hoarder or the next Banksy is yet to be seen, but the individual is already having an influence on science and pop culture. Be on the lookout for odd objects chained to bike racks for a chance to get a glimpse of this mysterious figure.
This is satire.