There ought to be a crime.

One morning in June, our reporter Yuichiro Wasai stepped out of his apartment building all bushy-tailed and bright-eyed, ready to face a brand new day. However, when he rounded the corner of the building his heart sank as he sighed, “Again…”

He had moved into this building at the end of last year, and for the most part, it’s been very nice, except for his bicycle situation. On this day, like many days before it, he would find his bicycle wet from the rain when it shouldn’t have been.

The building has a bicycle parking area but its not very well maintained in terms of designated spaces for individual bikes. This makes it a bit of a free-for-all in terms of where to put his, but the most problematic feature is that only a part of the bicycle parking area has a roof. Naturally, everyone wants to park under the roof to keep their bikes out of the rain, but if that space is full, residents have no choice but to leave their rides exposed to the elements.

Yuichiro often gets home at a nice enough time to be able to easily slide his bike into the roofed section. But whenever he did, the next morning he would find his bike in the open area. It wasn’t a case of someone trying to squeeze their bike in and just nudging Yuichiro’s out to the side either. That would have been forgivable to him.

This seemed as if someone was picking his bicycle up and moving it far into the open area in order to put their own bike under the roof. And although he can’t be sure, it felt as if his bike was specifically targeted, going by the number of times he found it dripping wet with morning dew as if it were gently weeping. That was over the line.

Of course, Yuichiro had his moments of doubt, thinking maybe he was overreacting to a simple misunderstanding. But as the months went by and someone continued to move his bicycle, our reporter became more certain that someone was screwing with him, perhaps because he was new in the building. Still, he was not one to back down and continued to park in the roofed area.

June was the hardest month as it brought the rainy season which drenched his means of transportation even more thoroughly than usual. And as he was wiping the water from his seat, a thought occurred to him: Isn’t this a crime?

Sure, the person wasn’t directly throwing water on his bicycle, but isn’t knowingly putting it in a place where it’s likely to get soaked the same thing? It would be as if someone put his smartphone in the middle of a busy street. You wouldn’t blame the truck driver for running it over. You’d blame the person who put it there.

And if this was a crime, then Yuichiro figured he could use the law to his advantage. He didn’t want to take anyone to court, but if he could just say, “Hey! You’re in violation of Article Twenty-Something of the Blah Blah Act,” then it might go a long way in dealing with whoever is pulling this stunt.

Luckily, he knew a lawyer who helped him out with an eviction problem a little while ago and decided to consult him about this matter. After Yuichiro explained the situation in full, the attorney had this to say:

“You, and all of the other residents, do not have a right to park your bicycle in a specific part of that area. So, even if it is moved within the same area, there have been no infringements of your rights that you could file a civil claim for damages about.
In addition, the mere act of moving something does not fall under criminal law. Therefore, it is not applicable for a legal response and is more of a moral issue.”

That was not what Yuichiro was hoping to hear. He was back at square one and possibly facing a future of a perpetually wet bicycle. The system had failed him and he would have to take matters into his own hands, but how?

▼ Don’t these legal eagles know this is precisely how half of all superheroes and supervillains are made?

The first step would be identifying the person doing this. He could set up a surveillance camera to catch the person in the act, but secretly installing a camera on private property and filming people unaware would ironically cause him to run afoul of the law. He could also just hang out there all night and wait for the person, but having a job and family means his stakeout days are far behind him.

Without any options, he sent an email to the building management but has yet to get a response. So, if you have any law-abiding ideas on how to deal with this S.O.B. (soaker of bikes), then please let us know in the comments!

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