WATCH: A Cobble Hill business owner retrieved his stolen motorcycle in the most unusual way. He used social media to find it and live streamed a confrontation with the possible thief. There was a happy ending to this story but as Kendall Hanson tells us, RCMP say what the man did was not a good idea.
It was a frustrating find. On Sunday, the locks to Dustin Hofer’s Pride Motorsports dealership had been cut. A motorcycle worth $3,600 had been stolen.
“We woke up this morning to the cameras going off this morning around 6 a.m. and they stole a motorcycle,” said Hofer.
Hofer uploaded surveillance video of the thieves taking the bike and one of himself asking for some leads.
“It was quite disheartening, so I thought social media would be a good platform to spread the word and spread the word quickly,” he said.
The videos quickly went viral. There were 10,000 views in just 24 hours and tips quickly came pouring in, including one important call.
“They saw the video in Vancouver and somebody had messaged them and offered them to buy our stolen bike,” said Hofer. “They wanted to do the right thing so they set up the buy.”
Hofer and some friends then went to Nanaimo to buy the bike.
Hofer lives treamed what happened next on social media, including his call to police.
“You guys are on camera. You guys are selling stolen property,” says Hofer on the live stream. “The police are on their way right now. She’s running away as we speak.”
Police arrived soon after and are now investigating. But they warn against trying to recover stolen property on your own.
“What they should not have done is gone onto the property by themselves without advising police,” says Const. Gary O’Brien with Nanaimo RCMP. “In this particular case, they were walking into harm’s way.”
Police say the property is well known for criminal activity, including some involving violence.
“They should’ve waited on a public street, spoke to the police officer and let them know exactly what’s going on and then they could’ve gone in with a police officer,” said O’Brien.
Hofer says he hopes the thieves get the help they need and what happened shows the power of social media.
“Social media is used in such a bad way sometimes but this is good faith that it can be used for good in the community,” said Hofer.
The person who provided the lead declined the $1,000 dollar reward. On Tuesday, Hofer donated the money to Warmland, a homeless shelter in Duncan.