Kelowna bike thefts not the work of organized gangs says RCMP boss - InfoNews

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Kelowna bike thefts not the work of organized gangs says RCMP boss

March 09, 2020 - 5:36 PM

Bike theft is out of control in Kelowna, if you believe social media.

In December it got so bad that a thief was busted trying to steal the RCMP’s bait bike from their secure parking lot.  And, there have been stories about stolen bikes being traded for as little as $20 worth of street drugs.

RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle said the bike theft rate in Kelowna is no  different than other Canadian cities.

“Bike theft is an issue across the province, I would venture to say across Canada,” Mundle told iNFOnews.ca.

“It’s not, certainly, a unique issue to Kelowna."

Bike theft is oftentimes a crime of opportunity and in Kelowna the warmer weather allows for a longer biking season. That, in turn, creates a longer season for potential thefts because people don't have their bikes locked away in the garage for an extended time in winter. 

Police do recover a lot of bikes, Mundle said, including some they’ve found posted for sale on social media. They haven't however, found evidence supporting any theories that there are organizations these bikes are being funnelled through.

“We haven’t seen evidence of organized groups where large amounts of bikes are being stolen and transported to a different area for sale,” he said. “A lot of bikes we do recover, they’ve been disassembled in some fashion and parts have been traded and potentially sold.”

He hasn’t seen any evidence that legitimate bike shops are trafficking in stolen parts.

What has frustrated him, however, is both the fact that too many stolen bikes are either left unlocked, with poor locks or, if they’re recovered, with no way to identify the owner.

“We’ll see someone on a bike and it’s a $1,000 bike and we very much suspect that it probably wasn’t bought legally,” media relations officer Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy added. "Then you run it through the system and there’s no record of it being stolen because whoever it was taken from doesn’t remember the serial number or the year or anything. Even the ones we recover through search warrants - we very much suspect they’re stolen but without any evidence to back us up, it’s hard to get them back to their proper owners.”

They recommend all bike owners register their bikes, for free at 529 Garage.

“We’ve been very successful in interrupting some of these thefts in progress or arresting individuals responsible for doing these sorts of things, based on reports from the public,” Mundle noted. “I encourage people, if they see suspicious behavior happening, to call it in.”


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