Local vigilantes wage war on bicycle-wheel thieves

Conor Bartol, Mild-Mannered "Reporter"

Illustration by Shasta Soles.

Bike theft is one of the most heinous and deplorable crimes, a scourge plaguing the Whitman community. Every day, more bikes have their wheels stolen by nefarious ne’er-do-wells. However, a brave group of anonymous youngsters have taken a stand against bicycle-related crime by forming a League of Vigilantes. Their mission: to return stolen bike wheels and catch those responsible.

The group announced their presence with a series of posters placed around town in bike wheel theft hotspots including the bike stand next to that big pile of bolt cutters and hacksaws (you know the one). According to the posters, the League is “nearly half a dozen strong” and “proficient in detective skills, hand-to-hand combat, and advanced bicycle recovery techniques.”

The self-proclaimed vigilantes have been seen a few times in the flesh, their identities hidden behind various masks. One bystander gave their account of an altercation between a vigilante and an accused bike thief saying, “The guy in the mask told him to stop and tried to grab the bike, but the guy with the bike said ‘this is my bike, dumbass!’ and pushed him over. The guy in the mask bonked his elbow when he fell and that was pretty much the end of it.”

When asked if they have successfully rescued any bikes, the League answered “not yet, but it’s only a matter of time. The brigands seem to be laying low right now, no doubt out of fear of our crime-fighting prowess.”

While some applaud their initiative, others worry that the vigilantes are doing more harm than good, due to the massive amounts of property damage incurred by their antics. One local business owner, the proprietor of the Walla Walla Fine China, Precious Vases and Other Fragile and Irreplaceable Objects Emporium, complained about the vigilantes leading a bike thief on a chase directly through the middle of her establishment. When asked what happened next, she answered “I’ll give you one fucking guess.”

But what impact has this had on bike wheel theft in Walla Walla? When asked if the actions of these daring dynamic do-gooders had made it harder to commit chicanerous acts of theft, one anonymous wheel thief simply responded “no.”