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U.S. Capitol Police charge man in bike theft

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Well, that was fast. Remember the stolen bike I wrote about in Wednesday’s column? On Tuesday evening, U.S. Capitol Police arrested a man in connection with the bike taken Saturday from a rack in front of the Capitol building.

Thomas F. Goode, 40, of Southeast Washington was charged with second-degree theft and receiving stolen property. In the end, it wasn’t a security camera that led to the man’s arrest. It was a tip.

“I am absolutely blown away by all of the hard work of the [Capitol Police],” said Ellicott City’s BreeAnne Chadwick, the owner of the bike. “I honestly thought it was gone forever and am so, so grateful that it was found.”

BreeAnne won’t get her bike back right way — it’s evidence — but in the meantime she was able to find a replacement bike that she will ride until her beloved Rans Dynamik is returned to her.

Things have been heating up lately on the stolen bike front. In June, the Capitol Police arrested Dana J. Wright and charged him with the theft of 10 bicycles. They were recovered by the Capitol Police and returned to their owners.

So, will BreeAnne feel comfortable coming back to Washington on her bike? “Only with a U-lock,” she said.

Petroleum-based light forms

Readers had plenty of ideas on how to replace the familiar — and, in my opinion, outdated — oil can that glows on many dashboards when the oil pressure is low, the subject of my Monday column.

“How about replacing the image of the oil can with the word ‘OIL’?” wondered Roy Preston of Lusby.

The District’s Nancy Wischnowski thought along the same lines: “I suggest the three letters — OIL — with a drip or two coming from below the O,” she wrote. “Most people can read and understand these letters. Pictures often can be and are confusing.”

Simple enough. But what if the automaker hopes to sell cars to the Koreans or Chinese? Do they want to see English on their dashboards?

Vienna’s David Saunders wonders what’s wrong with a real oil gauge, with a needle, like the one in his ’68 Charger R/T?

I have one like that in my ’68 Datsun roadster, too. They are throwbacks to the pre-“idiot light” days, when drivers were expected to be able to monitor the health of their vehicles via dials and numbers.

John Baker of McLean misses those days. When he sees “cute little stick images” he has to stop and think what the designer is trying to say — “which can be disastrous if the issue at hand is either serious or life threatening and time sensitive. In my own case I have re-marked some gauges with English language text so that they can be easily and quickly recognized and understood.”

In John’s opinion, the use of “little pictures” is dumbing down society. He wrote: “If we continue down this path, then the next phase will no doubt be the teaching of cave-painting and hieroglyph writing in schools, followed by animal-skinning classes and other ancient crafts. To summarize, what I am saying is that English language text markings are fast, simple and easy to understand and leave little question regarding what they mean.”

I think it all started to go downhill when carmakers got rid of those nifty vent windows.

Of course, my icon recommendations — spurting oil derrick, oily pelican — weren’t very serious. Neither was Emily Lane’s. The Potomac resident has teenage daughters, and she suggested the image of a bottle of suntan oil as a way of reaching the under-21 crowd.

Dave Feinman of Potomac figured that given the cost of fixing an oil-depleted engine, the gauge should simply read “$!!!”

I liked my colleague Hank Stuever’s suggestion: Change all warning lights to Simpsons characters. You could have Mr. Burns for the oil pressure light, Nelson for check engine (“HA-ha”). And for low fuel? Homer (“D-oh!”).

This seems a missed opportunity for automakers. Pick your own dashboard theme, the same way you pick your paint and upholstery or the voice of your GPS.

Don’t like the Simpsons? How about Hello Kitty warning lights? Or your favorite NFL team? Or tiny facsimiles of classic paintings: For low water level, John Singleton Copley’s “Watson and the Shark,” and for check engine, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

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