This sounds more like a bike kidnapping than outright theft, but then again, maybe there was a bicycle chop-shop in 1905 Santa Rosa, stealing “wheels” and busting them down for parts. The “Carrie” referred to in the note is, of course, Carrie Nation, the hatchet-wielding prohibitionist, who was much in the national news at the time.
Here PD editor Ernest Finley took on his “stern schoolmarm” persona to warn that judges and cops were itching to make an example of wayward youths, much as he did in reporting the city’s orange peel menace.
THIS THIEF LEFT A VERY CHEEKY NOTE
STOLE WHEEL AND THREATENED, IF OWNER “HOLLERS,” TO BREAK IT WITH AN AXE
Young Lady’s Bicycle Taken From the Porch of a College Avenue Residence – Police Are Investigating
“I will leave your wheel at P. O. at about 3 p. m. and if you holler I will smash it with an axe — Carrie.”
This is the note written on a piece of a cardboard box that Professor Van der Linden found left at his residence on College avenue in the place where he had left his bicycle on Monday, and the thief had failed to return the property even to the “P. O.” mentioned in the note. The owner has reported his loss to the police and Chief of Police Severson has the cardboard writing in his possession.
Last Saturday night some one wandered to the rear of the Porter residence on College avenue and when they or she, as the case may be, departed, they took Miss Bess Porter’s bicycle, which she had left on the porch away. The wheel is also among the list of “missing” at the police station. The officers are endeavoring to recover the property. A few days ago a bicycle thief was given three years in the State’s prison by Judge Burnett, and the practice goes on.– Press Democrat, February 22, 1905