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Bike theft is at the center of every bicyclist's sweat-soaked nightmares, but one recent case ended with an endearing apology that's gone viral.
The anonymous thief had the courtesy to return the bike, attaching a handwritten letter of apology for getting "straight white girl wasted" and being "too broke to afford a cab, so I borrowed your bike without asking."
"It was a lusciously smooth ride from what I remember," the thief continued. She (if she is indeed a she) also left a coupon for a free lava cake at Domino's! Aw, shucks.
So is this Apologetic Broke Bike Thief even a thief?
A bike theft happens when a person:
It's the intent element where most of the legal challenges crop up. If a person has the intent to not return the bike when they're taking it, that counts as intent to permanently deprive -- which means bike thievery!
That's why returning stolen property doesn't usually work as a defense to theft. But it can help make the thief look sympathetic, which works well for a plea deal or a reduction in the charges.
But as for the Broke Bike Thief, she may have a couple other theft defenses available to her, such as:
Of course, "Broke Bike Borrower" doesn't have the same ring to it. But at least it's easier to spell than "thief" -- which the signed "Bike Theif [sic]" apparently had a tough time with, even after sobering up...