Police seize stolen bikes from storage locker in Vancouver

A North Van owner who saw his stolen bike for sale on Facebook led police to a storage unit full of stolen bikes and bike parts.

A sharp-eyed North Vancouver bike shop owner who spotted his stolen bike for sale on Facebook Marketplace led police to discover a storage locker full of stolen bikes and bike parts.

The high-end bike was originally stolen from a North Vancouver bike shop in a break and enter Jan. 20, said Sgt. North Vancouver RCMP spokesperson Peter DeVries.

After the theft, the bike shop owner continued to check popular resale websites for the bike. When the owner spotted it for sale, he notified the RCMP.

Police quickly identified a suspect – a 51-year-old man with no fixed address.

Following the investigation, officers executed a search warrant at a storage locker in Vancouver, where they found more than 15 high-end bikes, frames and bike parts.

Police are now trying to identify the owners of the bikes.

DeVries said it’s unfortunately common in bike theft for criminals to disassemble bikes and reassemble parts to create “new” bikes that can make stolen bikes harder to identify.

Most of the high-end bikes targeted by thieves are worth more than $1,000, some are worth more than $5,000, DeVries said.

“We encourage anyone who has been the victim of bike theft to log on and search for your bike,” he said. “If you see it, please contact your local police.”

The arrest and subsequent search warrant also underscore the value of recording serial numbers, taking photos and tagging bikes with identifiers, DeVries said.

Save your bike details

Record your bike’s serial number so it can be added to police computer records in the event of theft (you can often find your bike’s serial number on a sticker or embossed on your bike). It’s also a good idea to register your bike with a bike theft recovery service, like 529 Garage, and photograph your bike.

If you’re buying a bike privately (via Craigslist or Facebook, for example), before making the purchase, look up the serial number in the Canadian Police Information Center’s Stolen Bikes Database to make sure the bike you buy is not stolen.

DeVries said the increase in bike thefts tends to coincide with spring and summer weather, when more people use their bikes. But in winter, bikes are often stolen from storage lockers and underground parking lots.

Police advise bike owners to always lock their bikes with two different high quality locks.

Removing the saddle or a wheel as an extra deterrent is a good idea (never lock your bike by the front wheel alone.)

If you leave 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 van or vehicle in large parking areas such as malls while the owner runs a short errand, police are told.

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Wiley C. Thompson