‘I hate people who steal:’ Man with suspected Beacon Hill ‘chop shop’ says nothing is stolen


A citizen was filming as Victoria police officers sifted through a pile of bicycles and bicycle parts in a secluded area of Beacon Hill park Tuesday morning. Officers on scene estimated nearly 30 bikes in the suspected ‘chop shop’ but so far no charges have been laid.

Dennis Davies says the operation is his and has been for the past four years he’s been camping in the park. He says the police have talked to him about it in the past, yet have never charged him with stolen property because he is adamant he’s never stolen a thing.

“I’ve been collecting bikes I find in the garbage when I’m out binning collecting bottles, or if a friend has a bike that he doesn’t know how to fix and wants to get rid of it I’ll buy it off him,” Davies told CHEK News.

“Personally I hate people who steal because I don’t like my stuff stolen from me, which happens every day,” he said.

Davies says he’s actually asked Victoria police in the past to run the serial numbers of the bikes he has to make sure they aren’t stolen but that police said they didn’t have the time.

He is also welcoming the public to come take a look for stolen property any time.

“Feel free to come into my site and look through my bikes if anything is yours I may have found it in a field or whatever you’re more than welcome to take it away from here,” he said.

The operation, the second “chop shop” police have investigated in the past few months in Beacon Hill, has caught the attention of the public who say it’s just one more example of a criminal and dangerous element that has taken over the popular park.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” said neighbour Cynthia Diadick who started a petition, which now has more than 18,000 signatures, to end permanent camping in the park.

Diadick says while not all of the roughly 100 homeless campers are a problem, there is a small group that is.

“People being seen with incendiary devices, people seeing people running with knives,” she said.

“People’s bikes are being stolen, my neighbours three weeks ago had a break-in attempt and had to call police.”

READ MORE: Disturbance calls up more than 80 per cent in Beacon Hill Park

She says a recent tweet from Mayor Lisa Helps encouraging people to share positive stories of the park sends the wrong message.

But Helps insists she is hearing positive stories along with the negative.

“It is a 200-acre space. It’s a large space there are lots of places where there are no tents, there is room in that park for everyone,” she said.

“The problem is going to get worse before it gets better, we’re going to see more homelessness as a result of this pandemic across B.C. so we’ve got to find a way to manage until we can get housing opened,” Helps said.

Dennis Davies says he has been waiting for housing for years

“They’ve put my name list about seven times now and that’s as far as that’s ever gotten,” he said.

While he waits, neighbours like Diadick are urging council to enforce its overnight camping bylaw and require people to pack up each morning by 7 a.m.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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