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A respectable profession
Stealing bikes

August 30, 2002
The Iranian

Dear Sir:

I read your letter (Persian - English) in the Toronto Star and I would like to respond to your accusations and clarify some issues.

First of all, in your letter you referred to me as your dear bicycle thief, beloved friend and so on. At first I was flattered to hear some words of affection from someone whom I stole a bicycle. But the truth was that in your letter, you numerously insulted my profession in general and me in particular which I don't consider a friendly attitude.

For your information sir, bicycle theft is a respectable profession like others in this country. You have no right to mock my profession just because it is not a highly rewarding career. Would you be writing this contemptuous letter if I was a top notch thief and stole millions of dollars instead of your crummy bicycle? Would you allow yourself to insult me like that in pubic? Is money everything to us?

You went on and on about your half a century bike riding experience in different countries. You wrote about your wife and kid and friends. You elaborated on your financial hardships and your 4 kilometers walk to work in the cold weather. You even went out of your way and discussed social issues such as women's rights. Bottom line is that You wrote a mini melodrama to win the sympathy of the uninformed readers. Would you kindly tell me what all these details of your personal life have anything to do with the theft your bike? Is it not safe to assume that you maliciously attempted to show me as a bad guy?

You claimed that I have stolen 12 bikes from you in the last 12 years. How do you know that I was the same thief who stole all of your bikes from you? Can you imagine any stupid thief who goes out of his way and steal your cheap outdated bikes 12 times in a row? Besides, can you proof such an outrageous accusation in court of law? I don't think so.

You suggested that I quit my job as petty thief and pursue a career as a locksmith which in your opinion is a highly demanded profession in Toronto.

My question is how in the world do you know that bicycle thieves earn less money that the locksmiths? Do you have any statistics or jobs rating to back your claim? And if not, why do you encourage me to change my profession in this time of economical crisis? Isn't that the truth that you are tempted to change your job as caseworker in the Center for Victims of Torture and turn into a more lucrative business such as petty theft? Is it not an attempt to get rid of your competitions?

You claimed that this incident has changed you from a good optimistic citizen into a suspicious pessimist. One who creates such a big fuss over loss of his shabby bicycle and writes such a passionate article in a major paper to insult other citizens can not be considered a good citizen by any measure. I am suspicious of you in the first place.

Some years ago, I happened to live in Poona India (same area that you admitted living at the same time) and strangely enough my beloved bike was stolen one day and was never recovered. How do I know that you were not the culprit. Wow do I know that you did not steel my bicycle and import it to Canada? Unlike you however, I didn't create a big commotion by writing an article in the paper and did not accuse you. Now that you confessed that you have ridden a bike in India during the same period of time, you may very well be the one who robbed me. Therefore, I officially accuse you of the crime.

You wrote that despite the fact you lost 12 bikes in the past years you have never reported these thefts to the police. You and I both know why? If you did, you would have been the subject of laughter in all police departments of Greater Toronto and vicinity. Besides, you would have been fined up to $200 for riding the bikes without proper permits and for tarnishing the beautiful image of Toronto in the first place. I believe therefore, you refrained to report your losses to avoid legal consequences of riding your bikes in public. You are an outlaw sir!

Now, let me tell you about your bike and how I suffered from this business transaction. On that damned night of acquiring your bike, I decided to move to the US in search of a better future. The next day when I reached the border with your bike, I found out about a $50 tariff to import the bike to the US. Obviously, I was not dumb enough to pay $50 tax on a $5 bicycle. I decided to abandon the bike at the border and walk toward my better future. The custom officer was going to charge me $75 instead for disposal fee of the bike (including hauling and incineration costs). At that time I made a quick calculation and decided to pay the $50 and legally import the junk to the US.

Two days later as I was riding the bike looking for a job in New York City, I was stopped by the cops and received a $100 ticket for lack of permit and safety equipment.

After paying for these charges, I was sure the bike was cursed and I was determined to track you down and demand compensations. Unfortunately I had no way of contacting you until I saw your article in the paper and thanks God that I did. You have 10 days to pay $150 to cover my losses otherwise I have no choice but to pursue this matter legally. Due to the lack of trust, I can not accept your personal check. Payment must be received in the form of a money order or a cashier's check.

Finally in the last paragraph, you "respectfully pleaded" to me to return your bike and receive a cash reward of about five times more than the actual value of the bike!

This phony offer of yours clearly shows how much you underestimated my intelligence. Did you really expect me to believe that someone with your financial status would borrow money to generously reward his bicycle thief? This highly suspicious offer made me even more skeptical of your intentions and integrity.

Upon receipt of the money, I will provide you with the address to the landfill in New York City that I have left the bike.

Persian text

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