Thursday, August 23, 2007

Two weeks…

Basically I was going to let the BHTimes be my contribution to the art for today but I can't seem to get over what is going on with the Pinsk police concerning my bike. It has been two weeks since I found the thing and they have yet to release it back to me. And what is more, they have been treating me like crap since the first time I tried to get the thing back from them. To my thinking I have properly reported a crime, offered information as to the whereabouts of the primary suspect, gone myself to said suspect's house and notified the police that he was there (though they didn't bother to come), found the guy myself on the street and but no particular means got him to the police station (though they didn't arrest him) and eventually even found the bike itself. And for all of my troubles in dealing with a man who from anyone's opinion is one of the worst human beings ever to come from this region, I not only can't get my bike back from the police but I also get laughed at by them for asking for it. As you might be able to tell from my tone, I am getting a little angry.

I believed what they told me when I was at the police station about being able to get the bike back when I returned from Minsk. I believed them because it seemed as though we had covered the main points of the case clearly; the bike matched the description I gave in the report and the guy who was riding fingered the same guy I had been saying was responsible in the first place. They told me that the bike would be waiting for me when I got back from Minsk. But when I went to take it home, I was told that due to some bureaucratic issue the bike would have to be held for exactly one week. I didn't really understand the whole of the explanation and I wanted that bike in my possession so that there might actually have enough bikes so that we could all go for a ride while my father was visiting, but I let it go out of a sense of good humor and acceptance that there was a way that things worked around here; a little discomfort would in the end result in something positive. But when I went to the station on Tuesday, I was met with another excuse. Apparently the bike, even after a week of sitting there, had not been looked at by the "value expert". This money evaluation it seems is an important part of the case because the value of the object stolen would have some determination on the severity of the crime when it came to speaking with the courts. They were objecting to the value I had put on the bike in the original report and this is what was holding things up. I was told that the expert would have a look at the bike that day and that I could come and get it the following Thursday, which was today. 100% I was told; Thursday I could take the bike home.

But of course this morning when I went in there was not only no bike, but the officer who is in charge of the case was not even in his office. I went next door and spoke to another officer and he repeated that the issue was that the cops didn't like the value I had assigned the bike in the original report and this is what had been holding up the case.

Now, my problem here is not he bureaucratic issues. This no one can do anything about in Belarus. I am not even particularly offended by being brushed off with sweet talk by the cops because frankly, everyone understands that this is part of the lexicon for law enforcement. What did offend me was that these worldly and knowledgeable gentleman were laughing at me for valuing the bike as I had. Both the cop today and the guy who was handling my case have taken the time to tell me I was obviously kidding and fluffing up the value of the bike. My point was, and I tried to explain it to them several times, that the value of the bike is not in the scratched paint or in the cheap Belarusian wheel set I had to put on when it became impossible for me to maintain a track bike due to the bad roads and lack of availability of parts here in Belarus' it was in the frame and the crankset. I tried to show them what I was speaking of, offered to show them on the internet what the original frame and the extended workmanship would be worth. Nothing. Like throwing rocks against concrete.

And you know, the thought has occurred to me that with so many cops apparently in on the "joke", I have to ask if this was the reason they never bothered to lift a finger to deal with the situation all summer long. Had they decided that I had lied somehow? Or was it just easier to say this and excuse themselves from dealing with the responsibility of doing their job.

And I was pissed. I don't like being laughed at in general but telling me that I am either a liar or do not know what I am doing around a bike is worse than an insult. I had Tanya even call in to their director and offer that I was intending to file a complaint against them for making sport of me.

Eventually I found out who the value inspector was and went over to his office. Vladimir Stepanovich is a very easy going man; quiet, intelligent and understated. His job is to asses the value of not only goods reported as stolen, but also for making insurance estimates or property sales. When I came by he fired up the computer and spent a good half hour checking out the frame and manufacturer on the internet. He was very thorough in his study and after he was done he understood completely what I had ben trying to explain to the cops about what the bike was. When numbers such as 1800 Euros started coming up, I knew I at least had my credibility from his office and as for the cops, well, we'll have it writing anyway.

After I called our officer on his mobile and told him that not only had I been right, I had even understated the cost by $200! He said we are probably talking about next Monday.

But I mean, what was the point of laughing at me? They do not want to believe I am reasonable human being? It is easier to diminish me, cast me off as a fool, pretend I do not exist? And really, am I completely without rights of justice? And this guy smash-nosed Sergei; are you telling me that he is a better human being than I? I am lower that a drug addict/thief by the estimation of the local constabulary? His rights to come begging money for heroin, to smash our windows and steal my property supercede my rights to protect my family and try to live in peace with my neighbors?

On my way back I ran into Vaddik by the way and I told him that his good buddy and his toothless hag of a girlfriend had got fingered. He answered me like I didn't know what I was talking about.

"You don't know?" I asked. "It means you are to blame for them. You invited these low rest assholes into our home. You have caused us all a lot of pain for being the drunken bum you are." He answered by saying "Do Svedania" to me. I threw it back to him and added that he and all of us would be much better off if he loaned his talents and appetites to Moscow. And believe me, Nina was happy to see me later on in the day for that.

"We can buy this bike anywhere in Belarus fr the cost of a bottle of vodka" The cop said amidst a stream of laughter.

No you can't. Not really. I built that bike and I knew what I was doing when I did. But aside from that, it is my own private property; it was chained up on my territory and my having to do all the work to try and make a case against a simply atrocious and heartbreaking human being should be respected and not mocked. I say I deserved a hell of a lot more respect that what I got and probably this is a general statement against the town I have been living in as well. Yea, I got slandered by Poland, yea, they stole my money and screwed my life- but after five years of paying for Zaremba's mistakes, you would think they would have figured out who I am by now.

More soon…


Anonymous Mke said...

I would advise a diplomatic tact with the Pinsk police. They are not going to be aware of what used bikes might have originally cost, or what they might be worth today.

Laughing at what you perceive to be an outrageous price is not a
character flaw, it is only human nature.

I would advise you not make any enemies in the Pinsk police force over this bike thing, morover, I would suggest you offering your services as a bike mechanic to them or their kids.

Use this experience to make some friends.

Friday, August 24, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Noted. But there is a good possibility that this goes deeper and that probably there is political motivation from another source in there too. I have one particular pig hanging around making sure that the world is as stupid and ugly as possible and he doesn't like me at all. Some people simply have too much time on their hands I guess. But in any case, I just call them as I see them. Keeping my bike for several weeks was uncalled for. If they had an issue with the value, as the paint was already screwed up and the bottom bracket and rear wheel trashed from abuse from the drunks; giving the bike to me and having the expert look at it at his leisure would have been better. I don't make any money on this no matter what the value and asking for it to be cheaper on allows for leniency for smash-nosed Sergei. If you want to be kind to a drug addict who breaks your windows and steals your property when you don't pay for his habit, you have a heart that bleeds like Niagara. I don't. If I had insurance I already would have collected (I didn't and didn't). This flaw in the paperwork was BS and using it to make a joke of me was too weird not to speak about.

Friday, August 24, 2007  
Anonymous BB said...

what can i say, bike theft is a low priority crime and even though u found the suspect and the bike it does not change the priority much and at least here you need to prove the bike is yours, serial numbers,reciets etc.

Friday, August 24, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

That it was my bike was never the issue. We had that it was my bike in the first five minutes after I caught the guy at the train station. And I do not want to come off as anti-police. The Pinsk police have never been unfair to me and have been there for us when we were having problems from Tolic with drunks sleeping in the corridors etc. But I explained to them several times where I was reasonable in the estimate but instead not listening and saying that it could be, they decided to add to my pain and misery both by creating an unnecessary bureaucratic situation and making things worse by laughing at me and basically calling me a liar. This is adding insult to injury. I have been on this site for three years because I say my word means something. Show a little respect and common courtesy and the whole world runs better.

Friday, August 24, 2007  
Anonymous BB said...

before u get even more pissed off read the whole thing. i dont know about cops there and i dont know why they fucked with you and i dont know why they laughed at you. i do know that people in general lie to cops all the time, dont type back saying you dont lie because that is not the point. the point is that people do lie to cops and cops know this so they dont always beleive what is said to them without something to back it up. maybe that is what is going on maybe not i dont know i am not there. maybe they felt like fucking with someone and u showed up i dont really know. your right that common courtsey and respect would make the world run better but seems to me they died and were buried right next to their relative common sense. new world: people like to fuck w/people

Friday, August 24, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

What you are saying is the point and I understood this. My only real grievance is that they are holding the bike because of this stupid bureaucratic issue and that they have made a joke of it. They could have just as easily given me the bike back and dealt with the issue of value at their leisure. And of course, they could have asked me about the value with a little bit of give and take rather than deciding arbitrarily that I was lying. I would have been happy to give them more "evidence" about the bike's value at any time. This would include several bike people who know what my bike is including a former bike champion and they guy who sold it to me 10 years ago. But they never asked me anything or even told me why the issue was so important to them. Rather, they just used the issue as a joke and let me swim in it. You may say this is how the world is, I say it sucks and I get angry at it sometimes. This was one of those times.

Friday, August 24, 2007  
Anonymous BB said...

then be glad u dont live in the untied states now because u would be in a constant state of angry

Friday, August 24, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

I am.

Friday, August 24, 2007  
Blogger politiques USA said...

The police, whether they are in the US or in other countries, do not like to deal with bikes' theft, because they are hammered with more serious legalities. In Vegas when I asked the cop if I could get my bike back, I was really feeling in an akward situation. Also the cops checked my name and asked for my social security number, and since the cops know me in Vegas (because I helped them dismantling gangs) it was easier to get my bike back, otherwise I think it would have been impossible to to get my property back.

Sunday, August 26, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Interesting comment Steve. Certainly the world is give and take and you don't have to call yourself a communist to know that people are happier to help out friends than they are people they don't know or don't like. I want to hear more about this gang business though. Have you written about it already?

Monday, August 27, 2007  

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