(All You Haters Decapitate My Scattante)
As you can see, the brake cables were snipped and the so-called "cockpit" was simply unbolted and removed. Naturally, I was shocked when first viewing the crime scene, though my concern subsided when I noticed that the thief had left the bottle-opening capabilities of the bike intact:
(The thieving teetotaller totally left the best part.)
While I certainly would have preferred a bicycle ride to a subway ride home on this pleasant day, I'm only minimally bothered by this brazen heist. Indeed, my only regret is having equipped the bicycle with a fancy stem, which is undoubtedly what inspired the theft in the first place. However, as the stem fit the bicycle perfectly and was lying fallow I figured it made more sense to use it than to purchase another, cheaper stem and keep this one secreted in my underwear drawer. (I keep all my "bulletproof" components in my underwear drawer, which is why I often find Chris King headsets in my underpants at urinals.) In fact, I thought to myself this very morning, "It would not surprise me in the least if some brigand decided to 'house' my stem today," and so it did not surprise me when a scant few hours later that very thing came to pass.
In any case, the first rule of New York City bicycle commuting is to always use a bicycle you will not be upset to lose, and having followed that rule I actually feel as though I've come out ahead since the foolish thief neglected to steal the rest of the bike. That said, if someone tries to sell you a 120mm silver Thomson stem in the 25.4 clampway, perhaps bundled with a Ritchey flat mountain bike bar, a pair of black Oury grips, and maybe even a couple of Tektro brake levers with a few inches of brake cable housing dangling from them, feel free to use the fact that they are stolen to negotiate a very low price--and then keep them with my compliments. (I'd offer to reimburse you in exchange for the components but I hate the idea of paying for things twice.)
In the meantime, you will be pleased, indifferent, or nonplussed to know that plans for the Scattante's rehabilitation are already underway, and I expect it should be rideable by this evening at little or no cost to me. Most importantly, now that the weather's improved and the streets are flush with bicycles they are flush with thieves as well, so be careful with your bike.
And remember--yoinking your own cockpit may be fun, but if you're going to yoink someone else's you should at least ask them first.