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Civil conversation helps Penticton man recover stolen bike

A city committee is looking into problems surrounding the Compass House facility on Main Street following council's receipt of a letter from a neighbouring strip mall at Tuesday's council meeting, July 7, 2020.
March 27, 2021 - 8:30 AM

A Penticton man has learned some situations can be resolved with something as simple as a conversation.

On March 23, Dylan Neilson found out that his van had been broken into outside of his home and his $1,700 bike and snowboard gear had been stolen.

Neilson said he filed a police report and decided to visit Compass House, an emergency shelter and supportive housing complex located at 1706 Main St., to see if his gear was there.

READ MORE: Neighbouring businesses losing patience with a supportive housing project in Penticton

He found his snowboard gear and after loading the items into his vehicle, began asking those around the shelter about his bike. A young man approached him and asked to exchange numbers, he said.

The man told Neilson he bought the bike earlier and paid $30, asking for $30 from Neilson. Neilson gave him $40 for his honesty and the bike was safely returned to him.

“He was a kindly young man, telling us he’d been sober for six months and was working on finding employment and staying straight. He looked relatively healthy, and expressed appreciation for the trust I had, to which I countered by thanking him for his honesty and forthright manner,” Neilson wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.

The response to that post has been overwhelmingly positive, and as of March 24, it gathered more than 400 reactions and 170 comments.

“I took it as a way to vent frustration and whatnot. I tried to use some humour and make it relatable to people,” he told

He said there’s no accountability with the housing programs at the shelter where he found two pairs of goggles, a helmet, gloves and headphones that were sitting on a retaining wall.

He wanted to illustrate how to deal with a situation as well as share the positive ending, he said.

“I didn’t think it was going to go squirrely. I was hoping to find some information so I could figure out how to get my stuff back.”

He was surprised and happy to find a person who knew where his bike was.

“Maybe if we as a community aren’t getting much assistance from the authorities in these cases… maybe if I share this story, people will be emboldened, and hopefully not in a vigilante way, to go and actually have a conversation with people,” he said.

“The lesson here is if you are willing to have a conversation with people who are living in those kinds of scenarios, you might find things you are surprised to discover and perhaps that stuff that got stolen earlier that day.”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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