Disclaimer: I regularly engage in risky behavior with my possessions. They're only things. Allan Ave is generally a quiet neighborhood.
Scene 1. 7:05 PM I'm back from the NCVC masters ride and napping in the recliner next to the screened front door. My bike is leaning next to the open front door on the porch about five feet away. Sandra is sitting on the couch next to the front door, reading. The neighbor kid, Joe, finished mowing the lawn about a half hour ago. I hear something on the front porch. Must be Joe, coming to get paid. Five seconds later, there's no knock, and I get up only to see my bike disappearing across the lawn, pushed by a kid.
"Motherfucker--come back with my bike!" but I'm barefoot running down the street, and he's gone. I run past the neighbors' house and yell at the neighbor kid (?) in the garage sitting on a bike to get after him. No, wait, it's not Joe--it must be one of Joe's friends. No matter, I have more important issues. I go back for the car and drive around the neighborhood while Sandra calls 911. No joy.
Scene 2 7:15 Back at the house.
Sandra hands me the phone to talk to the police dispatcher. "Can you describe the bike sir?" I give a whole bunch of way-too-specific information that's totally useless. At that moment a Fairfax police cruiser rolls up. Officer Walker takes some description of the event, and asks how much the bike is worth. "$7000" That statement gets things moving at a completely different level. He radios in and a three minutes later a police helicopter is thwacking over our house. Officer Walker and I walk down to the McCullough's house to find out who the kid was and see if he can provide some more intel. Slowly it dawns on all of us that Youth #2, who I had sent in pursuit of Thief #1 is actually Thief #1's associate, and was chasing after him on the neighbor's daughter's bike. Despite the gravity of the situation, we all have a good laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Even Officer Walker thought it was funny.
Scene 3: 7:30 Allan Ave
Officer Walker answers the radio, and tells me that they have some suspects in custody down the street, and can I make a positive identification? I get loaded in the back of the cruiser (first time, I swear!) and we drive down to the end of the street. There's the kid, sitting on the curb surrounded by officers. The other kid is face down on the hood of another police car.
Scene 4: 7:45 Allan Ave
We're hanging out with the officer, waiting for the K-9 officer to arrive. He drives by, and a few minutes later, after another radio interchange, Officer Walker announces, "We've got the bikes back." Joe the neighbor kid and I are loaded again into the back of the cruiser. A moment of levity ensues, when the door on Joe's side (there are no door handles back in the "perp" area) isn't closed, and we're driving down the street with Joe frantically clawing at the door trying to close it.
Scene 5: 7:55 Falls Church City
The K-9 unit tracked the bikes to a back yard from the spot where the police had the suspects. My nasty, gatorade-filled bottles are commandeered for fingerprint evidence. The police marvel at the weight of the bike.
Scene 6: 8:10 7312 Allan Ave
Neighbors reunite. Adam from across the street brings me a much-needed beer.
All told, an hour from theft to recovery. Six cruisers and a helicopter involved. I feel like I got back all the taxes I've paid back in services today...
Postscript: Two days later
I've had a chance to assess the events and my reaction to them. At the moment I saw the kid running with my bike across the lawn, I was completely driven by the id: total rage. No thought of personal safety. What amazes me is how quickly that state passed. Ten years ago I would have been homicidal with anger for hours. By the time I got back to the house after my drive around the neighborhood, my rage was gone and replaced by fatigue. The overwhelming emotion was "what a hassle this is going to be--I'm going to have to watch Craigslist for days, then do this, and that, and have meetings and fill out forms. "