Following the earlier 1905 report of a bicycle kidnapping, we now learn that there was a virtual crime wave of pilfered “wheels” that year, and all because too-trusting Santa Rosans didn’t lock up their ride.
Interesting is this aside: “This has long since become a matter of frequent comment among the policemen, newspapermen and others whose duties keep them abroad on the streets in the early morning hours.” It’s understandable that a cop or two would be on duty all night, but why would a newspaper in a farm town of 9,000 souls have someone prowling the dark streets? This wasn’t a city of all-night debauchery, like San Francisco. And what’s with counting up all the unlocked bikes? Is this another one of Editor Finley’s Queeg-like obsessions?
THROW DOWN BARS FOR UNINVITED RIDE
NO WONDER THAT BICYCLES ARE FREQUENTLY REPORTED MISSING TO OFFICERS
Hardly a Night Passes but What a Score of Bicycles Are Left Where They Can Be Purloined
Hardly a week passes but several reports are brought to police headquarters regarding missing bicycles. There is no doubt that in many instances the carelessness of the owners of the bicycles is responsible for the loss. There is hardly a night passes but what fifteen to twenty bicycles — one night recently twenty-four were counted — are left in racks, or leaning against sidewalks, buildings, and posts on Fourth and other streets. This has long since become a matter of frequent comment among the policemen, newspapermen and others whose duties keep them abroad on the streets in the early morning hours. It is a great wonder that more bicycles are not stolen. Thursday morning, about half past two o’clock, within two blocks on Fourth street, more than a dozen bicycles had been left by their owners in positions as described above. Owners of wheels should not forget that while hardly an instance can be given in which a Santa Rosa resident has been known to steal a bicycle, that at a this time of the year there are many strangers passing through town who would take a wheel, ride out of town either for “keeps” or to give trouble in finding it.– Press Democrat, June 23, 1905