This afternoon, Ash sent me a two-word text: “Bike spotted.”
She rushed home, and we found her receipt with the serial number and drove over to where the bike was locked up to confirm. It was locked up with another bike, and several parts had been removed or replaced with sub-par elements in an attempt to disguise it, but the thief overlooked her old tire with the custom red pump cap. And the clincher: the serial number under the bike was definitely, indisputably hers.
The police station was conveniently just half a block away, and shortly after we brought an officer over, the “owner,” carting another bike, came to try to take Ash’s away. He tried to say he had “just bought it,” but his answers were suspicious at best. While they didn’t arrest him (not enough proof) the police officers took his information and his other (probably also stolen) bike and returned Ash’s bike to her, although some of the added components were removed. (including the replaced seat, making the bike currently useless.)
Ash is now in the process of cleaning and stripping it of all the ugly add-ons and will soon be buying back some of the stuff she needs to make the bike rideable again. Some things can’t be fixed back to their former glory- the bike is pretty beaten up from neglectful use and has had some things scraped and badly painted, but with some minor fixes it’ll be much better than having to shell out for a whole new bike. Stolen bikes are very rarely ever returned to their rightful owners, and we are so grateful for this small miracle. <3