“Stop that guy! Stop that guy!” I heard shouted from the top of the hill. The Powderhorn 24 was in full swing with only a few hours to go when a commotion started on the Minneapolis Greenway, just outside of the Freewheel Bike Shop. People looked around and soon realized what was happening.

Several people lunged and chased to try and grab him, but he just barely dodged their fingertips until, WHAM! one racer jumped at the man on the freshly stolen bike and tackled him to the ground.

The two got up, but there were shouts not to touch him (for legal reasons) and a few of the guys tried to quarantine the perpetrator without violence. Others called 911. The perp walked around, trying to dodge out of the way, trying to escape the 300 eyes that were now locked on him. He was pleading for everyone to “Leave me alone!” and suddenly bolted up the stairs, grabbing a bag on the way up.

More guys took chase in their clipless shoes, tired after 18 hours of racing. He crested the top and ran around a wall. We waited, wondering if he got away. Several seconds passed and the perp rounded the corner once again, peacefully detained and surrounded. Cheers erupted.

He was brought back down to the Greenway where he was surrounded by hecklers, while he pleaded, “I didn’t do nuthin’.” I got up in his face with my camera, smiling and taking pictures. “Are you going to put this on YouTube?” he asked. Others had their cameras trained on him too. I didn’t want evidence of who he was. I only wanted him to know that his face was going to be plastered on the internet as a fucking douchebag bike thief.

Soon the police arrived and took over from there. “I thought it was my bike,” he said.

Here’s some analysis of how stupid this guy was:

  1. He is stealing a bike in front of 300 witnesses.
  2. He is stealing a bike from people who LOVE their bikes.
  3. He is stealing a bike from people who are faster than him.
  4. His route to take the bike was through the largest group of people. Had he turned the other direction, away from the race, he may have had a chance at getting out (provided he wasn’t spotted, after which he would have had an aggressive mob hot on his tail).
  5. As he was fleeing the scene, he tried to steal another bag, which basically confirmed he knew what he was doing.
  6. He was caught by weary cyclists in cleated road shoes.
  7. He had apparently stolen a car stereo, just before attempting to steal this bike.

As I was snapping his picture I was thinking of Patton Oswalt’s rage at the loud-mouthed audience member on “Werewolves and Lollipops.” That inexpressible incredulity of meeting somebody who just doesn’t get it. “I’m gonna be a douchbag forever!”

I haven’t been able to find a police report for the incident yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to tag his name.