Bike thefts on the rise in Victoria, owners turn to Facebook to find them

Bike thefts on the rise in Victoria, owners turn to Facebook to find them

Jeremy Guido still has his 10-year-old son’s bike but his $3,500 e-bike he used for daily commuting vanished from his backyard bike rack early Monday morning.

“I guess they just cut the locks, walked off with it,” he said.

Guido had his e-bike attached to his son’s bike and also attached to the bike rack, yet thieves got it anyway.

“It would be nice if I could get my bike back, and at this point I just need some way to get around town,” the University of Victoria student said.

After calling Victoria Police, Guido posted to ‘The Stolen Bike Avengers’ Facebook group. It has nearly 3,800 members and countless posts listing stolen, and found, bikes around Greater Victoria.

And it turns out bike theft is on the rise in the city.

According to Victoria Police there were 735 bikes reported stolen in 2019 and so far in 2020, 73 have gone missing compared to 66 during the same time last year, an increase of 10 per cent.

“It’s certainly something that I’m always disappointed in because its’ something I’d much rather didn’t exist in Victoria,” said Our Place Director of Communications Grant McKenzie.

McKenzie admits stolen bikes do show up at at homeless shelters like Our Place. He says they’re taken by members of the street community often either as a crime of opportunity or to trade for drugs. And he believes there’s one way to curb it.

“The best way to solve the problem is to get as many people as housed as possible, when people are housed, when they’re more stable, they’re less to be involved in the criminal aspects of their life,” said McKenzie.

Guido says he actually has sympathy for whoever took his e-bike.

“Everyone has a reason for what they do, it sucks on my end, and I’m sure it sucks for them too in other ways,” he said.

McKenzie says if you want to come have a look for your stolen bike at Our Place you’re welcome to, but he doesn’t recommend trying to take it back yourself.

“I just wouldn’t want them getting in between a bicycle and a family member just because we don’t know where that family member is it, what their mental health issues are at, what their aggression level is at,” McKenzie said.

Victoria Police say the best chance at recovering a stolen bike is if you’ve submitted it to their bike registry.

Jeremy Guido has since received some good news from VicPD — an officer spotted his e-bike at a local shelter after seeing Guido’s post on the Bike Avengers Facebook group.

The bike is now back and safely inside Guido’s home.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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