A bike thief got a shock yesterday when he stole a Christiania cargo bike from outside a shop here in Copenhagen. A man parked the bike and went into a shop. When he came out the bike was gone.
A man had hopped onto it and rode off. The cargo bay had a cover on it, like in the photo above, and when the bike thief looked inside he saw three sleeping children, ages one, four and seven.
Not quite what he bargained for when nicking the bike. The police were notified and all available personnel were set to the task of finding the children in the bike.
When my wife and I saw this breaking news on the telly my first thought was that the thief would discover the children and then deliver them to safety. Sure enough, after he found them he hid the bike in a cellar entrance and asked the seven year old where they lived. He then followed all three of them home, notified some neighbours and delivered the kids. The police were called and he was arrested.
"The bike thief followed the children to their home on Ågade. So he acted really rather responsibly when he discovered the children in the bike", said Mads Firlings from Copenhagen Police. The children are fine.
The man is now charged with bike theft which involves a fine of 1400 kroner [$280].
Once in awhile a car is stolen with a sleeping child on the back seat and the thief as a rule always does the right thing.
This tradition of kids sleeping in cargo bikes, prams or strollers outside of shops or cafés is quite normal and it's something that the foreign media always seems to focus on when covering Copenhagen, in amazement that we all do it and that it's safe enough to do it. Even in the cold winter air.
All children in daycares sleep outside when taking a nap. My daughter Lulu-Sophia does each day, even in sub-zero temperatures, well wrapped up in warm clothes and duvets.
Back in 1997 a Danish woman was arrested in New York City for leaving her sleeping daughter outside a café in a pram. It caused an uproar in both New York and Denmark. They couldn't understand how she could do it and we couldn't understand why it was a problem and how the City could take the child away from its mother.
Link to the original NY Times article here.
Anyway, when stealing a cargo bike, please look inside it first.