Omar Shehata

The government recovered your stolen bike!

From "Scenes from Egypt"

I heard this story from my cousin, about his friend.

Day 1

One day his moped-type thing was gone. He knows most apartment buildings these days are required by law to have CCTV's, so he goes and asks the store across the street if he can see their footage from the last 24 hours. They show him & sure enough, he sees a guy take it & leave with it.

So he asks for a copy of the footage on a USB drive and goes to the police station with it.

The police of course don't take this as evidence. "You have no right to this footage, we need to confirm it ourselves from the source". Makes sense. They'll meet him tomorrow at the store.

Day 2

They look at the footage together, and they see the thief take the bike and walk to the right.

So they walk over a block, check the CCTV inside that store. They see the same thief walking into the frame, and out of the frame again, still walking in the same direction. So on to the next store they go!

They do this for about a dozen stores, until about 2 pm. "My shift is over. Meet me back here tomorrow".

Day 3

They resume the search from where they left off, until they find one store where the thief parked the stolen bike, and walked in to talk to the shop keeper. So they are able to get a good look at his face, and ask around & identify him.

We'll need to talk to the detective in charge of this neighborhood. He'll meet you here tomorrow.

Day 4

He meets the detective who says oh, no this is a good kid, he just got mixed up with some bad people. Don't press charges, I'll get your bike back for you.

Day 5

The detective retrieves the stolen bike! Although the engine won't start.

Ok, fine, maybe he can go fix it. (You won't be receiving any damages if you don't press charges). He turns to go but the police says, you can't just leave. You have to go to the police station and file a form saying you "found" the stolen item and no one is at fault.

So he goes over, but it's 3 pm & the person who handles this type of paperwork has already gone home for the day.

Day 6

He goes over to the police station early in the morning, fills out the paperwork, but finds his bike isn't there! "We don't keep vehicles overnight here. You need to go to the impound". Makes sense.

So he goes over to the impound across town, but he can't just take his bike. "You need a signed letter from so & so, and a stamp from the department of whatever, in order to authorize us to release this vehicle to you".

Ok, he goes over there. But it's 1 pm, and the man with the stamp is out for the day.

Day 7

He gets there early, fills the form, gets the signature, waits in another line, gets the stamp, and heads over to the impound.

"Your bike has been transferred to this other impound."

He heads over there. But the signed & stamped paper he has is only applicable to the first impound. He'll need to start the process over again, signed & stamped, but addressed to this other impound.

Day 8

He does this little song & dance all over again, and goes across town to the second impound again. He retrieves his bike. But the mirrors are broken.

"It wasn't like this when it arrived at the impound!" he complains.

They explain that he's welcome to file a complaint to seek damages from the government, but then he has to leave it at the impound and wait for a detective to come inspect it & file a report.

"Also the guy with the complaint forms is out for the day, so you'll need to come back tomorrow"

He took his bike home that day.

Read more Scenes from Egypt.