Category Archives: Downtown

The full story of finding my stolen bike on Craigslist and GETTING IT BACK!

Some of you who know me in real life may know that several months ago my friend Nathan and I were able to retrieve his stolen bicycle from the thief who had taken it 30 minutes earlier.  Time for round two, this time with MY bike.  Anyone who knows me knows I love my downtown bike, built for me by my friend Chris a few years ago:

On Wednesday, March 20th, I went to see a movie at the downtown Phoenix AMC Theatre in the middle of the afternoon and when I came out, my beloved bike, which had been locked to a bike rack on the side of the building, was gone.  After going through the usual “maybe I locked it somewhere else” routine for 15 minutes I had to accept the fact that someone had STOLEN it.

After walking home, I got in my car and started cruising around downtown looking for it but really had little hope.  I made a flier to put up in a few places like the downtown ASU campus and then because I had read an article about finding their property on Craigslist, I started looking on there.  I didn’t really expect to find anything, so imagine my surprise when I see this ad placed four hours after my bike was stolen:

Not much to go on, but I just had a feeling.  My bike fit the (limited) description, and since I had my frame powdercoated there were no markings as to the manufacturer, and usually people selling bikes will put at least the make and model if there is one they can see.  I decided to call the guy up…

I got the guy on the phone (he said his name was Al) and gave him a story about wanting a simple single speed bike for my wife (I’m actually single) and asked a few questions but nothing too detailed; I didn’t even ask the color.  Al volunteered that it had “big tires” on it and I responded that I didn’t really want a bike with knobby tires because she was going to ride on the street.  He responded that the tires were large, but smooth and not knobby.  Gotcha, man!  Who else but me has a single-speed 29er with 2.25″ Schwalbe Big Apple tires on it??  THIS WAS MY BIKE.

I said maybe I could come see it the next day and acted like I was in no rush and he said that he could show it to me anytime the next morning up around I-17 and Northern.  I said I would call him in the morning and see if we could arrange something, trying not to act too eager, which I certainly WAS at this point.

Needless to say, sleep was difficult if not impossible that night.

I called Al the next morning after having picked my buddy Nathan to help with this (as I mentioned, he and I had caught a guy who stole his bike months earlier; I still need to write about that one, which was pretty interesting).  I had filed a police report online, and then called the Phoenix Police to ask how to handle the situation.  They said the way they work it is to have me arrange the meeting, then call the police about 15 minutes before from a nearby location to show them my ownership evidence (photos of me with the bike, a list of components and markings on the bike) and to devise a plan.  So here we go…

I dropped Nathan off at the meet location about 40 minutes ahead of time to act as a scout and we stayed in constant contact through text.  A typical interaction:

Nathan: “All still clear.”   Wayne: “Roger.”

Yeah, we were playing spy, but why not?  We might have a chance to get my bike back!

I wasted some time before calling the police about 25 minutes later.  They showed up, I showed them my report and ownership evidence and explained it all.  We decided that I would wait for the guy at the meeting location and as soon as Nathan saw him riding up he would call one of the officer’s cellphones and tell him the guy was there with the bike.

Then I get a call from Al asking if I was there and asking if my (fictional) wife was with me.  I said she couldn’t make it because of work but if it would fit me then it would be fine for her.  I don’t know if he had spied me and called to see why I was alone, but he said he could be there in a couple of minutes.  Like two minutes later, the guy rides up ON MY BIKE (I knew it!) and we started to chat.  I kept my composure though I wanted to throttle him, but didn’t want him running before the police arrived either.  I looked the bike over and asked a question or two to waste some time until the police arrived, and the next thing I know Nathan comes flying around the corner and two Phoenix Police SUVs roll up fast and box us in.


I then got pissed and told the guy “You need to talk to these officers; you stole my fucking bike man!” then gave him a hard shove away from my bike before the one of the officers told me to stop because I think he didn’t want me getting in trouble.  I wanted to punch the guy but doing that in front of two police officers would probably not be the smartest thing.  Plus this may sound weird, but a small part of me felt sorry for the guy; he was probably in his forties and didn’t seem agile enough to have stolen it so I’m sure some one else stole it and then he just sells them.  I’m not saying that makes him a good guy, but he certainly didn’t look like he was getting rich off of this; I guess it is just his (bad) way of getting by.

Just before we left, this was the scene:

Yeah, my buddy Nathan looks pretty pleased but I guarantee you that my smile on the other side of the camera was at least as big.  And as we get into the car to drive off, Nathan turns to me and excitedly says the exact same words to me as I did to him several months ago when we caught the guy who stole HIS bike:

“Dude, can you believe it??  We got your bike back!!”

Maybe the excitement comes because so few people are fortunate enough get back what gets stolen from them.  A sad fact.

Well this time, score one for the victim.

Do any of you even REMEMBER 8-track tapes?

If you don’t and want a history lesson, or if you do and want some nostalgia, here is something to check out.  My friend Doug does art installations and currently has one at the Burton Barr Central Phoenix Library Art Gallery that showcases his lifelong (and now over) relationship with this medium, and includes music being played on his old 8-track system:

Here is a link to the New Times blurb about it and here is a link to his Flickr photoset of the installation.  But hey, go and check it out yourself!  Who doesn’t need to make a trip to the library?

Lastly, Doug’s description in his own words:

Are you in a funk because you maxed out your new 1 gigabyte MP3 with only 572 songs? If so, a tonic for your ailments may be as simple as revisiting just how far audio systems have come by attending the artist’s reception for my latest installation, “The Tale of the Tape: A Farewell to My 8-Track Music System.”

The gala takes place during the Downtown First Friday Artwalk from 7 to 10 pm on November 7th at the @ Central Gallery which is part of the Burton Barr Library, 1221 N. Central Avenue. The installation is one of several altars that will be on display during the gallery’s annual Dia de los Muertos exhibition.

The altar traces the evolution of the 8-track tape and how this largely forgotten audio system was interwoven in my life and now departs it. The focal point of the altar is a still-functioning J.C. Penny 8-track tape system playing all *our* favorite artists (the Fabulous Poodles – Mirror Star, Jefferson Starship – Spitfire, the Who – Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass – Greatest Hits etc).

For those unable to attend the artist’s reception, the exhibition is available for viewing from October 25 through November 9th during normal library hours.

New zPizza location downtown!

So my friends Mark and Julie who own the zPizza franchises at 3rd Ave/Thomas and Tatum/Thunderbird just opened a new one downtown at 1st Ave and Monroe.  It is the coolest one yet, is right on the light rail line and WILL be open nights (somewhat of a rarity in downtown Phoenix).  Here are some pics; go check it out!

New ice cream place near me! Oh no!

My friends Mark and Julie, who own several zPizza franchises in town, just opened their own ice cream place called “The Pink Spot” next door to the zPizza on Thomas and 3rd Avenue. It is too dangerous since they connected the two stores so you can go from pizza to ice cream without even venturing outdoors!

They are thinking of opening a Weight Watchers franchise in the next store over.

Quote of the day…

So I was leafing through the latest issue of Contact Magazine and noticed that there was an article and photo spread on my friend Kim’s condo that she just sold!

I immediately called her and she said she had seen it as well, and

that it is like seeing your ex-boyfriend with a new hot chick. And then having all your friends call you up and say they saw him with the new hot chick too. And realizing, whether your friends get it or not, that you left that guy for a REASON.

So hey, nice condo, but she needed to move on…

Pah rump pa pumb pumb…

So I finally made it to the First Friday Drum Circle last night and had a pretty good time. I ended up sitting next to a guy who had a ton of various drum instruments so I was playing all sorts of stuff all night. Here is a very bad pic from my PHONE (I need to just start grabbing my camera when I go out):

This was only about a third of the people who were there, and there were belly dancers rotating in and out of the middle and off to the side there were some fire dancers off in the street doing some crazy stuff.

I must have had a good time; this morning I was browsing for drum equipment. Just so you know my interest, here is a photo from high school:


Please pay attention to the drums (making my point) and IGNORE the feathered hair and cheesy moustache.

Review: Restaurant: Switch Restaurant and Bar

So the other night I was able to check out a new place downtown called Switch Restaurant and Bar and though the place was pretty empty that night, it was pretty darn good. I had the prosciutto and mozzarella gallette as well as baked lobster and crab puff appetizer and they were both terrific. Evidently they also do breakfast on the weekends so I am sure I will get back there soon.

Plus it is way cool on the inside and has patio seating in the back alley…


Who says you need a truck to be a contractor?

One thing about trying to capture thoughts/observations/life in a blog; it makes one pay more attention to what is going on around them.

And then, of course, take pictures of it for later publication. I saw this at lunch today.

Why I love and hate downtown Phoenix…

Love: You can go to a movie at the AMC24 at the Arizona Center and have an entire theatre to yourself, as my friend Kim and I did today when we went to see “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”:

Hate: People can’t park (though I suspect this is not limited to downtown Phoenix :). I’ll bet the guy with the RAV4 is going to be a little pissed…

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