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Man tried to steal bike from Kelowna porch in front of owners

A couple in Kelowna had a stranger attempt to pull their bike off their porch into the bushes.
A couple in Kelowna had a stranger attempt to pull their bike off their porch into the bushes.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Amanda Meere

A Kelowna resident said she’s afraid after an unknown man tried to steal a bike from her ground floor apartment, despite her husband’s attempts to fend him off, and uttered threats against the family before he finally left.

Amanda Meer said the incident happened late at night on May 18 while she was finishing up at work and her three young children were in bed sleeping.

“We live in an apartment with a little storage room tucked beside the porch and my husband was sitting in there when he heard a rustle on the porch,” she said. “He opened the door to see a homeless man trying to pull our bike off the deck but it was locked to a post.”

When her husband, Cody Meere, asked the intruder what he was doing, the man said, “I just need a ride” and continued pulling until Cody made a move to go after him and the intruder took off.

“Cody called me at around 11 o’clock and he (the stranger) was yelling in the background saying ‘I have mace,’ and ‘that’s fine, I’ll come back later,’ and ‘I hope your girlfriend gets raped.’ Hearing the threats the guy was making put me into a panic."

The Meeres have lived in the apartment for over ten years, and things are often stolen off their patio, but not when they are present. With three kids under the age of 10 sleeping on a ground floor, it’s a cause for concern for Amanda.

“It’s terrifying and stressful and feels so invasive,” she said. “My youngest heard the commotion and was awake when I got home. I tried to explain things calmly and simply. I try to be sympathetic, but it’s frustrating when you work so hard and things are taken away and nothing is being done about it.”

After the incident, Cody called Kelowna RCMP who showed up to patrol the area but didn’t find the suspect.

The bike is now in the living room and will be stored at Amanda’s parents place, locked in a shed along with the kids’ bikes in case the suspect comes back with bolt cutters.

READ MORE: Stealing from elderly clients 'destroyed' her own life: Merritt bank employee

The incident is one of many as social disorder on the streets of Kamloops and the Okanagan increases, along with public frustrations.

Last month Shuswap residents gathered to meet with police and elected officials at Chase Community Hall to talk about crime after a small group of vigilantes began patrolling the village, sparking warnings from local RCMP.  The police-reported crime rate there has reached a 10-year high, according to StatsCan.

At the end of April, Kamloops residents gathered on the steps of Kamloops City Hall to voice their concerns about crime.

The protesters chanted "enough is enough" as they aired their frustrations with the growing social disorder on Kamloops streets and criticized the province's bail system. The crowd was a mix of business owners, residents, homeless service providers and a former city councillor.

In 2022, a group dedicated to reducing the impacts of crime, violence and antisocial behaviour started up in Penticton. The group, called Clean Streets Penticton, has grown to 4.5K members.

READ MORE: Crime rates in Okanagan, Kamloops skyrocketing on all fronts

The number of crimes reported in West Kelowna during the past five years increased 35.6%. Vernon was up 28% and Kamloops was up 21.7%. Only Penticton was near the provincial average with a 9.3% increase.

When it comes to crimes per 100,000 population, BC as a whole showed little change, growing from 8,090 cases per 100,000 over that time frame to 8,318. Kelowna was already above the provincial average at 10,740 cases per 100,000 in 2017. That jumped to 14,327 in 2021.

Penticton, despite having a smaller increase in the actual number of incidents recorded, led the way with 14,744 cases per 100,000 in 2017 and jumped to 21,604 in 2021. In 2017, Kamloops and Vernon had higher rates than Kelowna, at around 12,000 per 100,000 each. In 2021, they were very close to Kelowna. West Kelowna, on the other hand, had a mere 5,010 cases per 100,000 in 2017 and only climbed to 6,183 last year.

To explore the data base, go here.

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