Words and photos by Ambassador Lita Monaghan.

You may be familiar with the age-old practice of giving specific anniversary gifts based on the number of years you’ve been married.  Anniversary gifts start out simple, and as the years pass, a strong marriage becomes associated with more significant investments for gifts.  For each year of marriage, there are traditional and modern anniversary gifts, as well as gemstones and colors.

For the 20-year anniversary, the traditional gift is china, the modern gift is platinum, the color is green, and the gemstone is emerald. Last year, my husband, Eric, and I achieved the 20-year milestone. And to celebrate our anniversary, we gave each other the gift of bicycles: the 2019 Kona Rove ST!  Steel and Gloss Racing Green, in lieu of platinum and emerald green, seemed to be the perfect alternative for him and her!

Eric loves his Kona Rove ST, possibly more than me, 20 years of marriage or not!  So when it was recently stolen, he was incredibly upset. This story is about his plight to be reunited with the [real] love of his life!

On a recent Friday morning, Eric got a call from the car mechanic that our car was ready.  He hopped on his Kona Rove ST and rode two miles to pick up the car, which was already equipped with a bike rack.  On his way home, he decided to make a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up a needed ingredient (flour, in case you were just dying to know).

In the span of the few minutes he was inside the store, his bike was stolen off the rack.  (Nope, it wasn’t locked up.) Within 20 minutes, the staff at the grocery store was able to review surveillance video and provide details regarding the incident.  Although they would not share the footage, a friend who was an employee there did share details about the suspect. The local police were immediately notified of the incident and Eric spent the next hour canvassing the area in hopes of spotting it, to no avail.
Devastated but determined, Eric listed the bike stolen with Bike Index, a nonprofit online bike registry where anyone can register their bicycles for free.  He also listed it as stolen on the Facebook group, PNW Lost/Stolen Bikes (https://www.facebook.com/groups/pnwLostStolenBikes/).  The following Wednesday, a member of PNW Lost/Stolen Bikes messaged Eric and shared an ad he spotted on OfferUp:

Copper bottle cages, flat/clip dual-sided pedals…that was definitely Eric’s bike!  Eric made contact with the seller that same day and they agreed to meet at 2:00PM. Around 1:30PM, the seller got cold feet and backed out of the meeting.  Eric decided to head over to the meeting place anyhow to take a look around and he noticed that the parking lot was shared with a commercial glass shop. The pictures in the ad had glass shower doors and glass tools in the background, so he went over to the shop. (Eric is a general contractor and knew there were a limited number of commercial stores to carry those particular glass shower doors in the area.)

He spoke to the owner and inquired if a bike had been in the shop recently and explained the situation.  The owner left the office, returned about five minutes later, and told Eric that the bike would be returned to him the next day.  The owner offered an apology, offered the name of the bike thief, and explained how her shop employee came into possession of the bike via another employee.

The next day, Eric got a call from the owner that the bike had been recovered and available to pick up, which he did later that afternoon.  Eric joined my bi-monthly Bike Ride Across Tacoma (BRAT) later that evening and fell in love with his bike all over again. (((hugs)))