My bike was stolen 2 weeks ago. I was told this happens a lot, and since I’ve lost 5 bikes in my life to thieves, and never got any of them back, I was finally fed up and didn’t make a report to the police this time. My experience with the government in norway hasn’t been good. Forms to fill out that I need a translator for, broken english, the whole shebang. I mean, they are still not sure that I paid my taxes, despite 5 letters, numerous phone calls, and two tax declarations filled out.
So it was to my utmost surprise that I found my bike parked outside Cinemateket yesterday. Chained to another bike. I called the police, and they sent someone to look at it (about half an hour later), which made me miss Shaolin Soccer. The squad car arrived and asked me if I was sure it was my bike. Yes, I said. It has numerous odd damages, and you can still see the place where I had one of the Funcom Visitor stickers stuck to it for a year. Did I know the frame number? No. I hadn’t checked during the time I was waiting, either – I mean, what was the point? Did I still have the bill? No, I had moved last summer and thrown away a lot of stuff. So how can I prove it’s my bike? My friends could testify that. No, that’s not enough, they said.
They took my address and födselsnummer, and then found that there is a video camera looking right at where my bike was parked. So we could have had a look at the tape and seen who parked it. But the people at cinemateket didn’t have the key around, and couldn’t let us into the room with the tape. The police officers told me to wait for someone to come out the cinema, stop them when they wanted to take the bike and call the police again. I did. Nobody came. I waited through the next movie, and until Cinemateket closed. Still, nobody came. I called the police again. They said they couldn’t help me still. I would have to leave the bike where it was.
At this point, I was almost in tears. Here was my bike, I could put my hands on it, and I couldn’t take it away. I had called the police for help, and gotten no help at all. Everyone was nice, polite, and no help, saying the rules didn’t allow them to do this. I pleaded. I said, why would I call them if I wanted to steal the bike? And at any rate, they had my address. Even if I was lying, they could come and get me. It wasn’t even a very expensive bike (2500 NOK). No they said, can’t break the lock for you. Just stay around and wait, if you’re lucky, someone will come.
I may be a foreigner in Oslo, but I’ve learned that this part of town is not one to stay around all night waiting for a thief to turn up, and then ask him to please not go away with my bike, because I was going to call the police. So I said to the police I was going to lock up the bike and come back tomorrow. And call them again. The policewoman on the phone said I shouldn’t lock the bike. I said it can’t be illegal to lock your own bike now, can it? She advised strongly against it, and I decided that at this point, I was really not going to bother about what the police said or did. And if my bike is still there tomorrow (I can at least hope), I’ll call them again. But first, I’ll tell the press.