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Michael Spencer gave a little bit of his bike to a homeless man last September. The man lost it in October. Spencer wrote about the incident in a Chicago Reader article, which went viral. An anonymous tipster called 312 Lite, a now-defunct Toronto-based bike website, then said the man was giving the bike to other homeless people for a 30-day trial period.
About a month later, Spencer heard from the same tipster, and learned the other homeless people were not so lucky.
Spencer has so far been unable to recover his bike from the following suspects:
one man has a folder full of pictures of stolen bikes;
a man saw the thief on his property and told him he was going to call the police;
a man stole Spencer’s bike as a birthday present;
a man and woman, both homeless, were tracking the bike;
a teen gave the bike away.
Spencer says he’s contacted police in Toronto, and told friends and family there, but getting the bike back is still a struggle.
“It could be as simple as [the victim] putting more blame on the next victim, or pointing fingers at each other,” Spencer told the Guardian. “No matter what you do, it can come down to a good Samaritan helping out an individual who may or may not deserve help.”
Maybe if one homeless person claimed a bunch of bikes, and some of them came back, that could help.