"I don't like stealing cars, but sometimes it's necessary. I have rules, though: I'll keep it clean, and if I take your car on a workday, I'll have it back by five."
A character is in a hurry, most likely during a Chase Scene
, when he or she sees a bike or some other mode of transportation propped on the side of the road. He or she promptly gets on it and keeps going full-speed. If the owner is present, the character will hastily say something like "I'm just borrowing it!" or "I need your bike! I'll bring it back later!"
Note that you usually never see the bike actually get returned, and if it is returned, don't expect the warranty to cover the damage.
A Sister Trope
to Flashed Badge Hijack
. In Real Life
, you can get away with this without criminal charges on the plea of "necessity" if
you can establish that the harm done by your stealing the vehicle was less than would have occurred if you hadn't.
Contrast Casual Car Giveaway
, in which the hero gives
a random soul their vehicle.
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Anime & Manga
- Batman: Year One features this trope at the end.
- Evidently a favoured trope of Hergé, as it occurs both in Tintin and his other series, Jo Zette And Jocko. At least Hergé's heroes were conscientious about returning the vehicles (or, more usually, making reparation, since the chases usually led to the vehicles' destruction!)
- Played with in a Spirou and Fantasio story, in which a Villain tries to escape Spirou by stealing a moped. He was in too much of a hurry to see that it was missing its rear wheel.
- Sin City has the stolen-car version of this trope. In one notable case, a hero actually stole a cop car.
- Also used by the X-Men. On one occasion, Cyke collared a bike to go after Batroc and the Circus of Crime, left a note, and at the end Professor X complained about how often its owner was ringing and demanding it back.
Cyclops: The Art of War
says you must seize opportunities as they arise... The Book of Cyclops says you don't have to be a punk about it, though.
- Sam & Max: In "Monkeys Violating the Heavenly Temple," Sam pulls this on an unsuspecting kid while searching for Max in the Philippines. He later drops it off of the side of a volcano.
- In the Good Omens fic Manchester Lost, the Four Archangels "borrow" some motorcycles. A note at the end of the scene reads "It’s not stealing if you’re On a Holy Mission."
- In the Third Movement of With Strings Attached, George steals a donkey as part of an awkward plan to get three of them through Goblin Valley without attracting (too much) attention. After they make it, he doesn't return the donkey, but he does make sure it's safe.
Films — Animation
- Kikis Delivery Service: Amounts to the same thing when Kiki borrows a push-broom against its owner's will; she being a witch and all.
- A character in the "Rhapsody in Blue" segment of Fantasia 2000 takes a little kid's scooter (one of those home-made Depression era deals, basically a box with roller skates and a couple of planks), but at least has the decency to pay for it first.
- When Mr. Freeze kidnaps Barbara in Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero, Dick grabs a bystander's motorcycle to make chase. Unlike most examples, he gives the guy something else in exchange: his corvette.
- Shrek rather unceremoniously steals the clothes of some travelers in the second movie after he takes his potion... Though he does leave them with their actual vehicle, since Donkey is now a stallion.
Shrek: Thank you, gentlemen. Someday I will repay you, unless of course I can't find you, or if I forget.
- The Fairly Oddparents: Timmy steals a dirtbike in order to get to the villains' hideout in A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!!
- Done by Wreck-It Ralph during the climax of the movie, when he borrows Calhoun's jetboard to fly to Diet Cola Mountain. Under the circumstances, it seems doubtful that she minded.
Films — Live Action
- Lone Wolf
- In one book, Lone Wolf needs to follow someone fast. There's a horse in the open; he can either buy it legitimately off the owner, or just steal it. The latter's riskier but a heck of a lot cheaper.
- This happens repeatedly to Lone Wolf throughout the books. At the end of the series, he can probably have a dozen count of mount thief on his tab, including some flying creatures.
- Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina has the story of BoShek, a rough-and-tumble pilot who loves getting into friendly competitions with Han Solo. (In the original film, he's the one who introduces Obi-Wan Kenobi to Han and Chewbacca when Kenobi arrives at the cantina with Luke Skywalker.) He steals a landspeeder (newly purchased, no less!) from an unsuspecting citizen while fleeing from policemen who suspect him of a theft, but then the trope is lampshaded when BoShek (who regularly receives spiritual guidance at a local monastery) reflects that stealing wasn't really the ethical thing to do. After he manages to elude the police, BoShek vows to make things right by taking the stolen speeder back to the robbed person and apologizing.
- In the Time Scout book, Wagers of Sin, Skeeter steals a champion racing horse to get away from some angry Romans, making this a case of Hero Stole My Horse.
- In The Legends of Ethshar novel With a Single Spell, the hero steals a ship to escape his home village. This is one of the few examples where he does give it back... in the epilogue a couple of years later.
Live Action TV
- In the episode "Real Time" of Series/Workaholics Blake and Ders need to get to the office in a hurry, so they ask a group of future babes to borrow one of their bikes, and are promptly turned down. So they steal one, initiating an epic&lame Chase Scene.
- Chuck had one of the few examples where the bike owner is seen afterward... because, as it turns out, it was Morgan's bike. At least Chuck was nice enough to steal a bike he knew he could return.
- Ben Mercer in Covert Affairs at least had the decency to throw the owner a stack of bills as he drove off with his motorcycle.
- Doctor Who:
- The Third Doctor "borrows" a vintage car in one episode and takes a liking to it. UNIT does return the car to its rightful owner, but they get the Doctor another one a lot like it.
- And there's the TARDIS, which he reportedly stole from a repair shop under "pressing circumstances."
- In the novel The Gallifrey Chronicles the Time Lord villain is revealed as the guy the TARDIS really belongs to.
- In the TV Movie, the Doctor steals a policeman's motorbike by holding himself at gunpoint.
- In "Logopolis", the last story from the Tom Baker era, Adric "borrows" a bike, though he doesn't attempt to ride it. Instead, he use it to fake an accident in order to distract two policemen who are about to arrest the Doctor on suspicion of murder.
- In Red Dwarf, when Lister and Cat, trying to recover Kryten and, what the hey, Rimmer, too, find themselves on a world in a reality where time runs backwards (though they don't yet realize it), they steal a tandem from a pair of picnickers and start riding... only to find that it goes backwards! Understandably, they don't get far...
Cat: No more! I'm not moving another yard on this thing! I'm gettin' a part in the back of my head!
- Done in an episode of NCIS where Tony goes undercover as a fugitive prisoner to get the location of stolen Iraqi treasure from a suspect and steals a guy's motorcycle after the suspect causes Tony to crash his truck.
- NCIS: Los Angeles did a high-speed double subversion of this trope, as a guy being chased at the shore grabs a bike from someone, then notices someone else arriving on a motorcycle, so tosses the bicycle into the path of his pursuers and steals that instead.
- Willow, Xander and Anya steal some bikes to get back to Giles' apartment in a hurry in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Pangs", which leads to a shot of them pedaling along to Big Damn Heroes-type music.
- A heavily pregnant Murphy Brown steals a kid's bike (kicking him off it!) to keep up with the press corps accompanying President Bush (the elder) on his daily jog. Unfortunately, she loses control and accidentally runs over him. The entire scene is played out to the Wicked Witch theme from The Wizard of Oz.
- Occurs in episode 2 of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
- Burn Notice:
- This happens so often that Michael has several "rules" about it; in particular, he emphasizes that he always returns the vehicle (usually off screen, unless it's a plot point) "reasonably intact" (which admittedly can mean "after a head-on collision"), and if he steals it from a business parking lot during business hours, it will be returned by 5:00 PM if at all possible.
- His mom has reported the reappearance of "stolen" cars to the police so many times that she gets honored at a special ceremony.
- A rare consensual example happens in VR Troopers with two lines: "Can I borrow this?" "Go for it, dude!"
- In Kamen Rider Kabuto, this happens in the first episode, by the hero and to the guy who'll be spending a while in Butt Monkey territory.
- It also happened in the first episode of Kamen Rider Kuuga, with the hero attempting and failing to chase a monster up a flight of stairs.
- Alluded to when the MythBusters took on the movie Jaws. During test setup at an old Naval base, Jamie is getting around on a scooter (instead of his usual bike). Grant jokes "What little girl did you have to mug to get that?"
- Subverted on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Mac is in a hurry to get to a movie, sees a motorbike parked at the side of the road, quickly pulls on a helmet, gets on and revs it... only to realise that he has no clue how to drive a motorcycle and abandoning it in the middle of the road.
- The X-Files, episode "Drive": Mulder is forced to borrow an old station wagon. He leaves an envelope on the front seat of his previous vehicle addressed to Agent Dana Scully FBI. AD Kersh chews him out later.
AD Kersh: Compensation to one Walter R. Duncan for unauthorized use of his 1968 Caprice station wagon: $500.
- In an episode of Charmed, Chris steals a car to pursue an escaping bad guy. Chris gets arrested for it, since nobody else noticed the bad guy and thought Chris just stole a car.
- Rome. At the start of Season 2, Titus Pullo is relaxing in the countryside with his newlywed wife when a rider arrives shouting of Caesar's death. Without any discussion Pullo yanks him off his horse, places his wife behind him and they ride off for Rome at a gallop.
- Played with in the flash sideways of LOST, where Kate hijacks a taxi with a pregnant Claire in the backseat while running away from the Marshal: she threatens the driver with a gun unless he drives her away. Further used when the driver flees from the car and Kate kicks out Claire to use the car for herself, practically playing the trope straight.
- Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: In "The Blood of Juana the Mad", Jack and Phryne jump on a conveniently placed motorcycle (in a university quad) to chase a fleeing killer.
- In Wild ARMs 4, Jude steals a bike so he can chase a train containing his mother. He has Super Speed, if you're wondering.
- In the Shadow the Hedgehog level Lethal Highway If you take one of the motorcycles a generic G.U.N soldier will say "Where's my bike? Does anyone know where it is?".
- ef - a fairy tale of the two. has this in one if its first scenes. Miyako chases a thief who's on a motorcycle. Upon finding the arc's hero, she promptly takes his bike and attempts to give chase to the thief.
- Grand Theft Auto:
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City: Optional in an early mission after the player acquires clothing for a yacht party. A white chopper will always pull up in front of the player to steal, complete with the rider's reaction to the theft.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Done twice early on in the game. Done either to escape being shot at or escape being run over and riddled with bullets. Returning either risks same.
- Red Faction Guerrilla has plenty of situations where you'll be needing to 'borrow' a vehicle, be it parked or already inhabited. At low sector morale, the civilians make snide or even angry comments.
- In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Raiden needs to get to a location fast, and hijacks a random motorcycle nearby and carves a phone number into the pavement with his sword so the owner knows who to call to get it back. Considering Raiden can run alongside a train, it's probably just a Rule of Cool excuse to have him ride a motorcycle for one scene.
- In the Jetstream DLC, it's revealed that the bike actually belonged to Sam, the very guy who stopped him on the way and dueled him to the death.
- In True Crime: New York City, when Cowboy Cop (or, depending on your actions, Corrupt Cop) Marcus "commandeers" someone's car, he'll often spout lines like "You know you're not getting this back, right?"
- Enforcers in All Points Bulletin can commandeer another person's car in much the same fashion as True Crime: New York City. Criminals, of course, take over vehicles in time-honored GTA fashion.
- The trope's title was inspired by the "Nigga Stole My Bike" meme from Punch-Out!!, born on YTMND.com, which offered an alternate interpretation of the cut-scenes between title runs. Funny thing, the Wii game has Doc Louis make clear that the bike really does belong to Mac.
- Darwins Soldiers:
- In the second RP of this universe, Nixon steals a Lamborghini Gallardo and Alfred steals an expensive convertible to continue chasing Lab 101 after the truck rams Alfred's pickup truck through a cafe.
- Later, Dr. Zanasiu steals a Chevy Corvette from Pelvanida's parking lot.
- Spoofed in this homage to the Chained to a Railway trope, which has the hero nicking a bike when he finds the nearest horse is labeled "Out of Order". After pedaling and pedaling and pedaling we get the cue card: FINALLY he arrives!
- Jackie Chan Adventures:
- Not only does Kim Possible do it, she always goes back and borrows the accompanying helmet. Because riding without a helmet is uncool, yo.
- In The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, episode "Cross Country Double Cross", Penelope "borrows" a jalopy en route to the statue unveiling.
- Pretty much Once an Episode in Fillmore!. Although since the main characters are (kinda) law enforcement officers, it's closer to Flashed Badge Hijack.
- In Danny Phantom, the hero Ecto-Rays Johnny 13 off his motorcycle and uses it to get to the Fenton Ghost Portal in time. This is also a Development Gag.
- In an episode of Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos, Chuck Norris himself pulls a flashed-badge hijack minus the badge. Made hilarious by this trailer, which cuts him off mid-sentence.
Civilian: Hey! That's my bike!
Chuck: Sorry, guys, this is an emergency. I'm Chuck Norris!
- In an episode of Phineas and Ferb, a kiddie vehicle chase highlights the difference between hero and villain:
- Max of A Goofy Movie steals a skateboard on his way home from school, then gives it to a random character he passes.
- In Storm Hawks, the gang was once attacked from the air while outside a diner. They split up, Junko taking a kid's bike for his getaway. He barely fits on it, but it serves its purpose for a while.
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series: Spidey and Black Cat grab a random guy's bike (complete with two helmets) to get away from some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. After escaping the agents, Spider-Man insists they return the bike before making their next move.
Guy: You miserable thieves!
Spidey: We're not thieves! Well. Well, I'm not, but — her, I'm not so sure about.
- Inverted in The Amazing World of Gumball, where Gumball ask permission to use a little girl's bike and she takes the opportunity to gouge as much money from him as possible. Of course he ended up destroying it anyway.
- DC Showcase: Catwoman: After Rough Cut manages to escape from the club in a getaway car, Catwoman notices a lone biker outside the entrance. She seductively walks up to him, grabs his collar, and leans in as if to kiss him... then pushes him over, takes his bike and drives off.
- In an episode of King of the Hill, Hank, Dale, and Kahn are stranded in Mexico and on the run from Border Patrol who have mistaken them for illegals. They see some punks leaning next to two motorcycles and beg them to let them have them, offering a lot of money. The punks shrug, take the money, and the men drive away. Then an old couple step out of the bar and wonder where their motorcycles went.
- Of course, there's Dan Backslide, the villain of Chuck Jones' 1942 short The Dover Boys: "A runabout. I'LL STEAL IT! NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW!!"
- Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? often has Zack and Ivy do this, but never without showing their ACME badges to the vehicles' owners first.
- Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: In "Decoy For A Dognapper," Shaggy borrows a friend's motor scooter so he can chase down the thugs that dognapped Scooby (who was the bait in a plan to solve the mystery of who is stealing prize-winning dogs). He crashes the scooter out on a rock.
- The Zeta Project: Being a very moral android, Zeta offers to buy a hovering motorcycle with his unlimited credit card when he needs one for a pursuit. Subverted when the man Zeta paid turned out not to be the actual owner of the motorbike by mistake.