The unusual case of the stolen bike and the lacking quarter ounce


Finding a sealed bag of fresh cannabis on the street would usually be a reason for “finder keepers” and an impromptu smoking session. But for Seattle Chase Burns and his partner, Mark Castillo, it was an opportunity to solve a puzzle and help a stranger who had been free all day.

Our story began on Tuesday, January 19th at around 7.45pm in Seattle.

As Castillo rode his bike to his Capitol Hill office, he watched a bike courier swerve to avoid a passing car. In the near miss, the messenger seemed to drop something on the curb. Difficult to say what it was. It was dark. Castillo examined.

It turned out to be a sealed quarter-ounce bag of premium cannabis flowers.

What to do what to do …

When Castillo took the bag out of the gutter, the bike courier had sped away and out of sight. So he brought the treasure bag to Burns.

Burns, the editor of Seattle’s alternative newspaper The Stranger, greeted his partner’s cargo with intrigue – because Castillo doesn’t smoke.

“I walked out of the room and there was a large bag of weeds on the table,” Burns later told Leafly. “I thought when did you take in weed? ‘”

When Burns found out about the special origins of cannabis, he first considered smoking it. Then he thought twice.

“I felt bad because there was a lot going on [in the world]and I already have weeds, and that’s a big bag of weeds, “Burns recalled. “I thought I was going to tweet it and I didn’t really think I’d find it [the owner]and then i thought i would give it two days and if no one answers in two days i will smoke it. “

If you’re the Seattle bike courier who was just about to swerve to avoid a car on I-5 and dropped 7 grams of sealed new weed on the ground … I got it. (DM me the mark and it’s yours.)

– Chase Burns (@chaseburnsy) January 20, 2021

Act II: The Stolen Bike

Meanwhile, a few miles away, Nick Panchot was recovering from spending most of the day looking for his bike.

It had been stolen from his partner’s house earlier that afternoon while the two of them were having lunch and walking the dog.

“Within 45 minutes of walking the dog, someone came and tore out the ‘No Parking’ sign, slid it through my U-lock, hit the tree, and took my bike,” he recalled.

Nick Panchot makes a living as a bicycle courier. So this theft wasn’t just an inconvenience. It effectively left him unemployed.


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I have to calm down before looking

In dire need of losing basic wage opportunities, Panchot decided to publicize the bike on social media. Then he went to look for it himself on his partner’s bike, but not before stopping at the pharmacy to get his favorite strain of sativa.

“I decided, you know, it’s worth it [it to] Putting together another bike using parts that me and my partner have and [go] Buy some weed now, ”Panchot said. “I thought I just have to buy some weed to deal with it.”

On the way home from the pharmacy, when Panchot was riding his new makeshift bike over the Interstate 5 freeway overpass, he was nearly hit by an evasive car and the quarter-ounce of lemon meringue fell out of his hoodie pocket.

Trapped in search of his stolen bike, Panchot didn’t even realize he’d lost his cannabis.

An army of messengers combs the city

Bike theft is way too common and it’s crazy because a bike can cost as much as a used car, but stolen cars are often found and returned, while bikes usually don’t. Cops can’t or won’t do much about a bike theft. The owner is responsible for the investigation. So Panchot went to work.

“My friends were on high alert, as were other messengers in town who saw posts I made on Instagram and Facebook,” Panchot said.

The Hue and Cry produced results. Panchot’s friend discovered his stolen bicycle “in one place,” Panchot later recalled, “that bicycle thieves like to take bicycles that they steal.”

The thief had covered it up and hid it with jackets. Panchot and two friends met to “negotiate” the return of the bike, “when my friend Justin, who was on his way to meet us, had apparently just rushed in, grabbed my bike and set off on it.”

The rear wheel was slightly damaged in the rescue operation, but all survived unscathed.


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Dude is that your weed

Everything is good, that ends well – almost.

On the way back to his partner’s apartment with his recovered bike, Panchot received a message from a friend who had seen Burns’ Twitter post.

“My friend Cory, who owns a bike repair shop, approached me on Instagram and said, ‘Hey, was that your weed?'”

Panchot was intrigued and unable to find the weeds he believed had been left in his partner’s house. He wrote the name and strain of Burns on Twitter. Lo and behold: It was his 7 grams of lemon meringue.

Reunited and it feels so good

Panchot arrived around 9:30 a.m. that evening to pick up his weed. “He showed up at the apartment and happily ripped it open and gave me two huge handfuls,” Burns recalled. “He really likes this weed.”

Panchot definitely. He calls this particular strain, bred by Narrows in Tacoma, the perfect sativa:

Due to the public nature of the mission, Burns quickly reported on Twitter that the supply had been successfully returned. At the time, a lot of people joined in with cheeky comments, including a Twitter follower who called Burns’ efforts “one of the greatest exploits I’ve seen this year.”

But for Panchot, Burns is a no-ironic hero.

“It takes a real stoner to realize how much th[is] means, ”said Panchot. “And at a time when I thought I had just lost my basic means of income, and I didn’t have a lot of extra money to buy herbs – I was overwhelmed.”

Alexa Peters

Alexa Peters is a freelance writer specializing in music, writing, travel, feminism, and self-help. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Paste, Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.

Show article by Alexa Peters

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Beth Edmonds