An Omaha detective and Lincoln police officers worked together to prove we can't always claim finders keepers. As a result, one man's missing property worth thousands of dollars has been recovered.
“I never thought I'd see it again." Gerald Kubiak of Omaha lost his $5,000 dollar carbon-fiber bicycle several months ago. It fell off his car on the interstate. When he turned around to retrieve it the bike was gone.
He had customized it so much that the bicycle stuck out when he saw it on eBay months later with a $1,500 asking price. The seller said he'd sell it to Kubiak, but not give it to him.
"It feels exciting to feel vindicated that good has triumphed.” Last month, Omaha police learned the address of the seller and with the help of Lincoln police, retrieved it from the owner's shed. “There's a fracture on the tube and one right here."
The seller doesn’t face any charges, but investigators say we all have a moral obligation to make reasonable attempts to return property we know isn't ours. Many of us think of this as a story of a missing bike, but an instructor at Southeast Missouri State University sees much more and is using it as a teaching lesson for incoming freshman.
“All these ethical decisions like what would you do if you found something and what would you do if you found it was stolen and what would you do if you could profit off of something like this and the instructor is actually motivating me to continue to follow up on the bike,” says Kubiak.
It's something for all of us to consider the next time we come across something valuable that isn't ours.
It's been seven months since Kubiak lost his bicycle on Interstate 80. He never thought he'd see it again. The other day, when he picked it up, he was so thrilled he hugged the impound lot worker.
Kubiak says it's for the best that someone else did not buy the bike because that would have been dangerous. Since there were cracks in the frame it could have easily collapsed under a rider's weight.