A sharp-eyed North Vancouver bike shop owner who spotted his stolen bicycle for sale on Facebook Marketplace has led police to the discovery of a storage locker full of stolen bikes and bike parts.
The high-end bike was originally stolen from a North Vancouver bike shop during a break and enter on Jan. 20, said Sgt. Peter DeVries, spokesperson for the North Vancouver RCMP.
Following the theft, the bike shop owner continued to check popular resale websites for the bike. When the owner spotted it for sale, they notified RCMP.
Police quickly identified a suspect – a 51-year-old man of no fixed address.
As a result of the investigation, officers executed a search warrant on a storage locker in Vancouver, where they found over 15 high-end bikes, frames and assorted bike parts.
Police are now attempting to identify the owners of the bikes.
DeVries said it’s unfortunately common in bike thefts for criminals to dismantle the bikes and put the parts back together to create “new” bikes that can make the stolen bicycles more difficult to identify.
Most high-end bikes targeted by thieves are worth over $1,000, with some worth over $5,000, DeVries said.
“We encourage anyone who has been victim of bicycle theft to go online and search for your bike,” he said. “If you see it, please contact your local police.”
The arrest and subsequent search warrant also highlights the value of recording serial numbers, taking photos, and marking bicycles with identifiers, DeVries said.
Record details about your bike
Record your bike’s serial number so it can be added to police computer records if it is stolen, (you can often find your bike’s serial number on a sticker or embossed on your bike). It’s also smart to register your bike with a bike theft recovery service, like 529 Garage and to photograph your bike.
If you buy a bike privately (through Craigslist or Facebook, for instance), before making the purchase, look up the serial number in the Canadian Police Information Centre stolen bike database to make sure the bike you’re buying isn’t stolen.
DeVries said increases in bike theft tend to coincide with spring and summer weather when more people are using their bikes. But in winter, bikes are often stolen from storage lockers and underground parkades.
Police advise bike owners to always lock their bikes with two different, high-quality locks.
Removing the seat or a wheel as an extra deterrent is a good idea (never lock your bike by the front wheel only.)
If you are leaving your bike in or attached to your vehicle, lock it to your vehicle – high-end mountain bikes are often stolen from the back of a pickup truck or vehicle in large parking areas such as malls while the owner is running a short errand, police warn.